FEST Pitching Forum hosts 28 projects
by Vitor Pinto
- The forum comprises three days of working sessions before the public pitching event, held on 26 and 27 June
The Espinho-based FEST – New Films New Directors is holding its 11th edition (read the news) this week. What started out as a small showcase organised by a young but motivated team has gained an excellent reputation over the years and has found its own niche in the local film landscape, thanks partially to an effective combination of film-screening and training events. Besides the Training Ground, which gathers an eclectic range of professionals who share their know-how in master classes, FEST is also organising a Pitching Forum.
Divided into four categories (documentaries, feature films, shorts and TV series), the Pitching Forum comprises three days of working sessions before the public pitching event, held on 26 and 27 June.
“We have received about 120 projects and selected 28; three of them are Portuguese, and there is also a project by a German-Portuguese director,” explains FEST director Filipe Pereira.
In previous years, the forum has received several Portuguese projects, which are now in production, such as Miguel Gonçalves Mendes’ The Meaning of Life (read the news) and José Pedro Lopes’ The Forest of the Lost Souls (read the news). Local projects trying their luck this year are the shorts Devil’s Lent by Júlio Alves and Man at Sea by Filipa Ruiz, as well as the documentary Fairies, co-directed by Patricia Nogueira and João Leal.
Eight titles are taking part in the features section of the forum – most of them are European, but Germany leads the pack. German-Portuguese director Alexandre Powelz is pitching Autoeuropa, a film centred on the connection between a factory worker and a psychiatrist, to be filmed in the Volkswagen Autoeuropa headquarters near Lisbon. Berlin-based Salon Films is looking for co-producers.
Melanie Schwier is pitching Bekham – Made in Africa, an English-language project to be shot in Accra. Produced by X-Sights, the film focuses on a teenage boy from Ghana who seizes the opportunity to become a professional football player and leave poverty behind him. Also hailing from Germany is Wolfgang Liemberger’s WYRM, a genre/fantastic film produced by Munich-based outfit NEOS Film.
Ioana Mischie is presenting 237 Years, a movie about a community of villagers who set an enterprising example for the whole of society. This co-production between Légende Films (France) and Hi Film (Romania) is expected to start principal photography in 2016.
One Cat, Seven Lives is a project produced by Belgium’s Rubykub Films and set to be directed by Ilinca Neagu, Maria Castillejo Carmen, Maëlle Grand Bossi, Denis Mauguit, Victor Sagrista and Elisabeth Silveiro, six directors who have been based in Brussels for several years. The film is an ensemble piece set against the background of the city’s multiculturalism.
Other feature projects include Inflame by Ceylan Özgün Özçelik (Turkey), Iron Men by Yosi Artzi (Israel) and The Blood Telegram by Amit Sengupta (India).
“I believe some of these projects will have a strong impact. I hope FEST will be able to exhibit some of them in the coming years,” concluded Pereira.