Hollywood star Sean Penn (62) fears for the life of Volodymyr Zelenskyj (45). The Ukrainian President and his family are “goal number one” and it was “an overwhelming concern” for him not to see Zelenskyj again, Penn said at the Berlinale press conference on Saturday. This concern occupied him every day, also in view of the “fragility of life,” said the 62-year-old.

For the documentary “Superpower”, Penn and his director colleague Aaron Kaufman had visited the statesman several times since the beginning of the war. He presented the result in Berlin as a world premiere. At the same time, he never tired of emphasizing that aid to Ukraine must be intensified at all levels.

Penn personally interviews Zelenskyy three times during the film, the first time the day after the first missile hit Kiev in 2022. Zelenskyy went from a former comedian to a tireless commander overnight.

“It was a very moving way of getting to know someone, and that affection grew over time,” Penn said of his first encounter with Zelenskyy. “Apart from meeting my children when they were born, that day with this man was the culmination of knowing and feeling a big human heart full of courage.”

“Superpower” is part of the “Berlinale Special” section. The British-American documentary “Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker” by Alex Gibney (69) can also be found in this category. It’s all about the former tennis superstar. Also shown will be the horror film “Infinity Pool” by Canadian director Brandon Cronenberg (43) with Alexander Skarsgård (46) and the animated film “Loriots Große Animated Film Revue”.

The 73rd International Film Festival will take place in Berlin from February 16th to 26th. 18 films compete in the Berlinale competition for the Golden and Silver Bears. 15 films are shown as world premieres, and three debut films are also represented. Alongside Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is one of the world’s major film festivals.