Thessaloniki’s Agora hands out its Crossroads and Works in Progress Awards
by Vassilis Economou
- Valentina Carnelutti and Marija Stojnić, two debutant directors, have scooped the main prizes in Thessaloniki’s industry section
The Agora/Industry, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival’s industry section, has announced its winners from among the projects that were participating in its two major sections, the Crossroads Co-Production Forum and Agora Works in Progress.
At the 13th Crossroads Co-Production Forum, the jury, comprising Teresa Hoefert De Turegano, funding advisor at Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg (Germany), Dominique Welinski, producer at DW (France), and Konstantinos Kontovrakis, producer at Heretic (Greece), decided to grant the Co-Production Award from Greek post-production company 2|35 to Valentina Carnelutti’s debut project, Margherita, “for the courage to let teenagers be teenagers”. It is being co-produced by the director and Marco Alessi (Dugong Films), who also received a free accreditation for the Producers Networksession at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
The CNC Award, which is worth €10,000 and was granted for the seventh year in a row for script development, went to the Palestinian project 200 Meters by writer-director Ameen Nayfeh. The story follows Mustafa and his wife Salwa, who come from two Palestinian villages that are 200 metres apart. A newly raised wall divides the family, as the father lives on one side, and his wife and children on the other. The producer of the film is May Odeh, and the project also received a full scholarship for the MFI Script 2 Film Workshops.
The Turkish project Zuhal by Nazlı Elif Durlu, produced by Anna Maria Aslanoğlu (istos film), received the MuSou Award, which comes with audio post-production services, the composition and production of an original film score and licensing, “for the organic and inventive use of sound in the narrative and the inner world of the main character”.
The Egyptian-German project Rainbows Don’t Last Long, directed by Mayye Zayed, and produced by the director and Halina Dyrschka for Ambrosia Film, received services in development and packaging by Greek company Heretic Asterisk, plus a half scholarship for the MFI Script 2 Film Workshops.
Finally, for the seventh year in a row, French consulting firm Initiative Film and its CEO, Isabelle Fauvel, awarded a Greek project with services. We Kiss in Dark Nightclubs and I Explain by Daphné Hérétakis was selected, “as it represents a great challenge to work with a young filmmaker who is crossing the path from an experimental, non-narrative background to her fiction feature film, in which modern-day Athens has the role of the main character”. It is being produced by Jasmina Sijerčić (Bocalupo Films) and Yorgos Tsourgiannis (Horsefly Productions).
In Agora Works in Progress, the jury, comprising Bero Beyer, artistic director of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Dorien van de Pas, of the Netherlands Film Fund/Eurimages, and Ilias Georgiopoulos, distributor at Danaos Films, selected two projects that stood out for their originality in terms of storytelling and their exploration of the very medium of cinema itself.
For the second year, Thessaloniki was one of the four European film festivals that granted the prestigious Eurimages Lab Project Award, worth €50,000 (with Karlovy Vary, Haugesund and Les Arcs being the others). This time around, the prize went to the experimental documentary Speak So I Can See You, directed by Marija Stojnić and produced by the director and Milos Ivanović (Bilboke) in co-production with Tibor Keser and Vanja Jambrović (Restart). The reasoning was: “The jury selected a film that tries to create an innovative and playful cinematic experience through the transformative use of sound.”
The Post-Production Award from Greek house Graal went to Sister by Svetla Tsotsorkova, produced by the director and Svetoslav Ovcharov (Omega Films). According to the justification, it is “a personal and deeply human film with a striking lead character and a fierce director”.
Here is the complete list of prize winners:
Crossroads Co-Production Forum Awards
2|35 Co-Production Award
(writer-director: Valentina Carnelutti; producers: Valentina Carnelutti, Marco Alessi - Dugong Films)
CNC Development Award
200 Meters (Palestine)
(writer-director: Ameen Nayfeh; producer: May Odeh - Odeh Films)
(director: Nazlı Elif Durlu; writers: Nazlı Elif Durlu, Ziya Demirel; producer: Anna Maria Aslanoğlu - istos film)
Heretic Asterisk Award
Rainbows Don’t Last Long (Egypt/Germany)
(writer-director: Mayye Zayed; producers: Mayye Zayed - Rufy’s Films, Halina Dyrschka - Ambrosia Film)
MFI Script 2 Film Workshops
200 Meters – Full Scholarship
Rainbows Don’t Last Long – Half Scholarship
Initiative Film Award
We Kiss in Dark Nightclubs and I Explain (France/Greece)
(writer-director: Daphné Hérétakis; producers: Jasmina Sijerčić- Bocalupo Films, Yorgos Tsourgiannis - Horsefly Productions)
Agora Works in Progress Awards
Eurimages Lab Project Award
Speak So I Can See You (Serbia/Croatia)
(writer-director: Marija Stojnić; producers: Marija Stojnić, Milos Ivanović - Bilboke, Tibor Keser, Vanja Jambrović - Restart)
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