Fourteen European projects try their luck at the HFM 2015 Co-Production Platform
by Vitor Pinto
- We take a look at the projects participating in this year’s edition of the Co-Production Platform, which brings together producers, distributors and sales agents
One of the most important events in the Dutch film industry, the Holland Film Meeting (HFM), is hosting the 17th edition of the Co-Production Platform, which brings together producers, distributors and sales agents to discuss 14 European and six local projects hoping to find partnerships and move forward from their development and pre-production stages.
Germany, one of the “neighbouring” countries in Focus at the HFM this year, is present with three projects. One of them, Otar’s Death, is a co-production between Cologne-based Color of May and Georgia’s Maisis Peri. At the first part of the event, young director Ioseb Bliadze pitched it as “a story about a lack of love” (between mothers and sons), in the guise of a story of blackmail. The screenplay is at the late development stage, and producer Eva Blondiau is aiming to get Eurimages support.
Christian Kaps, from Hamburg-based company Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion, is co-producing The Man Disappeared with Israel’s Obelis Productions. The project, directed by Jonathan Sagall, is in the process of securing financing and has already been supported by the Israel Film Fund (script development). It focuses, in Kaps’ words, “on two generations of Israelis who are looking for their places in the world”.
The last German project at the HFM, Playing God, to be directed by Karin Jurschick, was not pitched in the public sessions, but took part in individual meetings. The project revolves around controversial US lawyer Ken Feinberg, who dealt with the 9/11 compensations to the relatives of the victims, among other infamous cases.
From Belgium – the other country in Focus at the HFM this year – come two projects. André Logie, from Wallonia’s Panache Productions, is setting up a co-production with Luxembourg and hopefully with a third country. The project, a World War II drama set against the backdrop of the Battle of the Bulge, is entitled Today We Live and is to be directed by Sylvestre Sbille. Meanwhile, Jan Roosens has come from Flanders to pitch his feature debut, Franco, “a film about brothers”, tackling issues of identity, which he will co-direct with his own brother (and partner in Antwerp-based company Rococo), Raf Roosens.
Northern countries’ industries are represented by Finland’s production outfit Oktober and by Sweden’s Chinema Film. Both companies pitched lesbian-themed stories: respectively Baby Jane, to be directed by Katja Gauriloff, and I Bet You Would by Jenifer Malmqvist. Baby Jane, whose camera-test images promise a visually stunning film, is still at the pre-production stage, while I Bet You Would is on the fourth version of its script and has started the casting process.
Power by Mátyás Prikler is a Bratislava-based MPhilms project dealing with politics and corruption, loosely based on a Slovakian political rumour. Producer Zora Jaurová is particularly looking for Belgian co-producers, as the plot is partially set within the Brussels Eurocrat bubble.
Irish director Finola Geraghty pitched her project Substrata, along with producer John Keville. Billed as an “authentic, realistic thriller”, Substrata has 2015 Irish Shooting Star Moe Dunford attached to play one of the lead roles.
French producer Valérie Delpierre, who set up her company Inicia Films in Barcelona, is co-producing Carla Simón’s feature debut, Summer 1993, along with Spanish producer/distributor Avalon. New partners are welcome on board this very personal story of a young girl who has to face up to the death of her mother and the need to adapt to a new life in the Catalonian countryside.
Sons of Sunday is a French-Lebanese crime drama, wrapped up in the guise of a thriller. According to scriptwriter Nora Salim, the film, to be directed by Rami Kodeih, focuses on three characters from a violent neighbourhood and offers a social (non-religious) perspective on today’s Beirut.
Violence is also at the core of the Turkish thriller project The Hunt, to be directed by Emre Akay. A young woman hunted by five men will turn herself into “the hunter” in order to survive. Istanbul’s Jaguar Projects is looking for partners to develop the title.
Bulgarian producer and director Stephan Komandarev pitched The Other Man, an adaptation of Miroslav Penkov’s novel East of the West. Now looking for co-producers and a sales agent, the project was developed at the EAVE and MFI Script 2 Film Workshop.
Finally, an Israeli project, Einayim Sheli’s The Apple of My Eye, caught everyone’s attention at the first session, owing to the director’s working method, which involves making actors improvise scenes as real-life characters. The preliminary workshops for non-professional actors have already begun, whilst Israeli producer Naomi Levari is looking for European partners.
These 14 projects will be competing against six other Dutch projects, which will be pitched tomorrow morning, followed by one-to-one meetings. The winners of the HFM Co-Production Platform will be announced on Saturday 26 September, while the Netherlands Film Festival will continue to screen the latest local productions until 2 October.