Hungary's A Coat of Gold wins Connecting Cottbus Best Pitch Award
- Coco Post Pitch Award goes to Turkey's The Escape, in the 16th edition of East-West co-production market, which brought together filmmakers, producers and financiers during FilmFestival Cottbus
Fiction feature projects from Hungary, Turkey and Russia are the winners of the connecting cottbus (coco) awards this year. 13 pitches from 12 countries were presented in the 16th edition of the East-West co-production market held in parallel with the FilmFestival Cottbus.
A Coat of Gold by writer/director Cristina Grosan and producer Dora Nedeczky (Mindwax, Hungary) secured the Coco Best Pitch Award consisting of a 1.500 Euros cash prize and a free accreditation for the Producers Network at the next Cannes Film Festival. In Grosan’s tragicomedy, upon being diagnosed with cancer a workaholic employed in advertising finds her very own way of dealing with her illness.
The fourth Coco Post Pitch Award went to the Turkish project The Escape by writer/director Kenan Kavut. The drama produced by Yesim Ustaoglu and Zeki Peynirci (Ustaoglu Film Production) revolves around a Syrian refugee stuck on the Turkish-Greek border. The award includes the colour correction and production of a DCP with a value of 25.000 Euro. Jury members for the coco Post Pitch Award 2015 were Slovenian producer Danijel Hocevar (Vertigo), TV editor Jörg Schneider (ZDF/Das Kleine Fernsehspiel) and Michael Reuter (The Post Republic).
The decision by the FilmFestival Cottbus International Jury to award the Main Prize for Best Film to the Russian-German co-production Corrections Class (directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky, produced by New People Film Company, Natalia Mokritskaya; Jomami Filmproduktion, Michael Kaczmarek) goes along with the Coco Special Pitch Award 2014, consisting of an invitation to pitch his next feature film project at coco 2015.
FilmFestival Cottbus also honored the coco Best Pitch Award winner 2012: Three Windows and a Hanging [+see also:
interview: Arben Zharku
interview: Isa Qosja
film profile] (directed by Isa Qosja; produced by Shkumbin Istrefi CMB; Nicole Gerhards, NiKo Film; Kosovo, Germany 2014) received a special mention by the International Festival Jury as well as the award of the jury of the Dialogue Prize for Intercultural Communication.
The pitch projects addressed a wide range of topics, many of them with a strong sense of social engagement, and often told in intriguing genre mixes. Thomas Sieben’s third feature project, The Vegetable Lamb – produced by Jamila Wenske, One Two Films - is a political thriller set in central Asia, while Romanian director-producer Anca Damian’s new project In Perfect Health is a personal drama told partly as a thriller.
Owl, The Baker's Daughter, by renowned theatre director Grzegorz Jarzyna, produced by Opus-Film and Teamwork Productions, is a film noir-inspired psychological drama set in a post-war Poland characterized by totalitarian pressure and personal escapism.
Aleksandr Dovzhenko. Odessa Debut is a biopic-thriller on the filmmaker’s struggle with the secret police while shooting a film in the Ukrainian Black Sea metropolis Odessa in the 1920s. Two debut features joined from Hungary: Cecília Felméri’s laconic black comedy Spiral, produced by András Muhi, and Cristina Grosan’s tragicomedy A Coat of Gold, produced by Dora Nedeczky, about a woman dealing with cancer in an unconventional way.
Serbia was also represented twice, by the coming-of-age comedy The Five Skyscrapers and the Serbian-Italian-German dark comedy, Piazza del unita. The dramas The Escape from Turkey and The Daybreak from Albania are strong emotional stories dealing with loneliness and refugee issues and the economic struggle of a single mother respectively, while Inner City from Russia examines gentrification in a coming-of-age drama. From Estonia and Russia came the black comedy/fantastic love story The Dream Fish. The Georgian tragicomedy The Button, produced by Ablabuda Film, completed the line-up of coco 2014.
Following the pitches, the producers of the selected projects took a total of 120 meetings with potential partners. Additional panels, workshops and social events brought new information on film funding and audience design.
With the closing of this year’s edition, Bernd Buder, coco’s director since 2011, is passing the baton to the designated new artistic director Rebekka Garrido. “I am very happy to be able to leave the coco leadership in Rebekka Garrido’s capable hands,” declared Buder. “Rebekka has a wonderful track record in production and knows the industry in Eastern and Western Europe inside-out. Together with our experienced advisor Martina Bleis and project manager Dietmar Haiduk, she will continue and further develop coco’s successful work in fostering East-West co-productions.”
Buder, who will continue to be associated with coco, drew a positive conclusion of the 2014 edition: “It is a reflection of coco’s importance as an international meeting point that 120 accredited participants have found their way to Cottbus again this year. In a rapidly changing market environment, and especially in times of political tensions in some Eastern European countries, building lasting, sustainable connections is increasingly important.” More than 70 of the projects that were pitched in coco in the past 16 years, were subsequently realized or are currently in production. Projects like The Priest's Children [+see also:
interview: Vinko Bresan
film profile] (released internationally in 2014) bear witness to coco’s success as a stimulating factor for incipient production careers, as do the three former pitches that were selected for the FilmFestival Cottbus program this year. The already mentioned Three Windows and a Hanging (Kosovo/Germany) and Modris [+see also:
film profile] (Latvia/Greece/Germany) were shown in the international competition, while Bella mia (Czech Republic/Poland) screened in the Spectrum section.
More information about connecting cottbus 2014 can be found at www.connecting-cottbus.de .