Connecting Cottbus awards projects from Ukraine and Macedonia
by Bénédicte Prot
- As coco turns 18, it rewards the courage of Sister by Dina Duma and Voroshilovgrad by Yaroslav Lodygin
After two whole days of intensive coaching, pitching and networking, complemented by cocoLab lectures (on the role of the producer in the development process and on how independent filmmaking can profit from the VoD market) and meetings with experts, two of the ten projects selected (see our article on the programme of the event) for the 18th edition of the Connecting Cottbus East West co-production market (10-11 November) were singled out with awards.
The coco Post Pitch Award 2016 (which comes with €25,000 in post-production services provided by The Post Republic) went to the Macedonian project Sister by 24-year-old Dina Duma, produced by Marija Dimitrova. This first feature follows two inseparable teenage friends as they face the consequences of their mischief, which has led to the possible death of a classmate; their friendship is put to the test when they decide to investigate. Sister was selected by an expert jury consisting of Alexander Bohr (ZDF/Arte), Juliette Lepoutre (Still Moving) and Michael Reuter (The Post Republic), who admired its courage and the fact that the film’s team was able to put together a demo reel to complement their pitch.
The coco Best Pitch Award 2016, selected by all of the coco participants, was given to Ukrainian director Yaroslav Lodygin and his producer Vladimir Yatsenko for Voroshilovgrad, a sun-kissed, humourous adventure through the wild plains of Eastern Ukraine with a main character who comes back to his hometown to fight against the violent kukuruzniks, and make the locals value and defend their own property as well as their dignity; during his journey, he finds his true home, love and friends. As well as the €1,500 prize, sponsored by the major post-production company Berliner Synchron (which may offer extra help after the shoot, said its representative on stage), Voroshilovgrad also won the coco Producers Network Award, which means that the project will get an accreditation for the Producers Network initiative at Cannes. The film’s team also wished to express their solidarity with incarcerated Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov by inviting everyone to use the hashtag #freeolegsentsov on Twitter.
The new Midpoint Scholarship Award, which stems from the cooperation between cocoLab and Midpoint, went to Grigore Becket’s Alive in Moscow, which will thus be able to participate in the Midpoint Feature Launch, a professional script and development programme for emerging film professionals.
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