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Projects from Georgia and Ukraine win connecting cottbus awards


- Venice by Georgia's Rusudan Chkonia gets the €25,000 Post Pitch Award, while Tank by Ukraine's Max Ksondja wins the €1,500 Best Pitch Award

Projects from Georgia and Ukraine win connecting cottbus awards
Rusudan Chkonia

The 17th connecting cottbus East-West Co-production Market, which took place on 5 and 6 November in parallel with the FilmFestival Cottbus, presented ten projects from as many countries.

The coco Post Pitch Award, worth €25,000 in post-production services, went to the Georgian participant Venice by Rusudan Chkonia and producer Vladimer Katcharava, of 20 Steps Production. Set during one day, in one location, Venice tells the story of the inhabitants of an unfinished new apartment block, who, seven years after paying for their apartments, have the chance to redress their issues. All previous attempts to finally end construction have failed. The tragicomic tenant reunions bring to mind the building of the Tower of Babel: agreement seems impossible as long as there is no common enemy. 

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Venice is budgeted at €800,000 and, before Cottbus, had €82,000 in place, as in-kind investment from the Caucasian Film Service and development support from the Georgian National Film Center

The coco Best Pitch Award worth €1,500 went to Tank by Max Ksondja from Ukraine. Producer Max Serdiuk took home the coco Producers Network Award, an accreditation for the important Producers Network in the context of the Film Market at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Tank is the story of a 12-year-old boy who discovers a World War II tank in the Ukrainian forests, a precious find that gets everybody in his depressed village excited. But only the boy knows where the tank can be found. Budgeted at €521,000, Tank has €115,000 in place as in-kind equipment investment from Ukraine's TechnoRent, and a private-equity investment. 

The expert jury consisted of Xavier Henry-Rashid (Film Republic), Elma Tataragic (the Sarajevo Film Festival) and Jan-Philip Lange (The Post Republic).

Other notable projects at connecting cottbus were:

The Disciple by the director of Koza [+see also:
film review
interview: Ivan Ostrochovský
film profile
Ivan Ostrochovsky, co-written with Marek Lescak. It is a combination of the arthouse and thriller genres, set in 1980, when two friends apply to study at the Roman Catholic seminary. They gradually discover that the seminary is now controlled by Pacem in Terris, an organisation of clerics collaborating with the communist regime. In addition to Ostrochovsky's company, Punkchart Films, the €1.2 million project includes partners such as the UK's Film and Music Entertainment, the Czech Republic's Negativ and sales agent Pluto Film. It has so far received €32,000 in development support from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.

Sugar Kid by Macedonia's Igor Ivanov, co-written with Zanina Mircevska and produced by Tomi Salkovski of Skopje Film Studio, which also had the film Three Days in September in competition at the Cottbus Film Festival. The family adventure, a mixture of live action and animation, which combines old traditional Eastern tales with modern Western adventure, is budgeted at €3 million and has received €750,000 from the Macedonian Film Agency. It has an additional €250,000 as in-kind investment for set construction from Macedonia's Sektor Film, and co-producers from Serbia (Art&Popcorn) and Bulgaria (Audiovideo Orpheus).

Menopause by Cypriot director-producer Tonia Mishiali, co-written with Anna Fotiadou, and co-produced by Stelana Kliris, Marios Piperides and Andreos Achilleos through the company AB Seahorse Film Productions Ltd, which is a story of a middle-aged woman on the verge of the menopause. She is suffocating in a loveless marriage with a man who shows no interest in her desires and needs, and finds refuge in a fantasy world of vindictive violence. Soon, reality and fantasy start to blur. Budgeted at €339,500, the project has €233,000 in place as production support from the Cinema Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus, and in-kind investment in colour-correction services from Authorwave of Greece. 

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