Ukraine shines at coco
by Bénédicte Prot
- connecting cottbus 2017 awarded the very personal The Floor Is Lava, as well as Cat in the Wall and Voroshilovgrad
After having heard and seen the pitches for the ten high-quality feature projects in competition at the 19th edition of the connecting cottbus East-West co-production market, aka coco (see the news on the programme), the intense and fruitful two-day industry event organised during the Cottbus Film Festival, the attendees gave the coco Best Pitch Award 2017 to the Ukrainian project The Floor Is Lava by Katerina Gornostai, an intimate depiction of growing pains and adolescent longing intended to be performed by non-professional teenage actors, and accompanied by thought-provoking audition videos. Producers Victoria Khomenko and Natalia Libet received a cash prize of €1,500, sponsored by Berliner Synchron and No Limits Media, plus the coco Producers Network Award, consisting of an accreditation for the Producers Network at the Cannes Film Market.
The coco Post Pitch Award 2017 (€25,000 in post-production services, sponsored by The Post Republic) went to the dynamic duo of producers-directors Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova for the Bulgarian-British project Cat in the Wall, presented as a lively, searingly topical and realistic reflection on the British position towards immigrants and Europe, through the story of a Bulgarian single mother living on a housing estate, who provides a home for a lost cat that happens to already belong to a born-and-bred English family. The project was selected by a jury of experts consisting of Elena Manrique (Indie Sales), Sasha Wieser (EastWest Filmdistribution) and Stefan Kirchhof (The Post Republic).
The new coco WiP-Work in Progress Award 2017 (€35,000 in post-production services, sponsored by D-Facto Motion) went to a previous awardee: the Ukrainian project Voroshilovgrad by Yaroslav Lodygin. Last year, which featured a Focus on Ukraine (whilst this year’s Focus was dedicated to Serbia), this sun-kissed, humorous adventure through the wild plains of Eastern Ukraine, with a main character who comes back to his hometown to find himself fighting against the local mafia and who falls in love with Olga, won the coco Best Pitch Award (see the news). The WIP jury consisted of Laurent Danilou (Loco Films), Julia Sinkevych (Odesa International Film Festival) and Colin Ullmann (D-Facto Motion).
The MIDPOINT Scholarship Award went to the impressive Polish project Leave No Traces by the acclaimed director of The Last Family [+see also:
film profile] (and regular Cottbus guest), Jan P Matuszyński, presented as a very striking account of a true story of police brutality resulting in the murder of a student, which then became a national outrage.
Following the awards ceremony on 9 November, the winners, as well as all of the other highly accomplished and appealing projects pitched at coco 2017 (some of which were at a fairly advanced stage of their financing and development), spent all of 10 November attending one-on-one meetings with potential partners.
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