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INDUSTRY / MARKET Cannes 2020 / Critics' Week

The Cannes’ Critics’ Week programme ‘Next Step’ enters into its 6th year

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- Last week saw 9 young filmmakers take part in this programme organised by Cannes’ Critics’ Week and aimed at supporting young directors make the leap to feature film

The Cannes’ Critics’ Week programme ‘Next Step’ enters into its 6th year
The participants of the 6th edition of the Critics' Week's Next Step programme (© Semaine de la Critique)

For the sixth year running, Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival reiterated its Next Step programme which looks to help young filmmakers (who have previously been selected for Cannes’ parallel competition section) take the leap between short and full-length film. It’s a programme which chiefly consists of a workshop (very recently held between 9 – 13 December), but it also involves a competition, the winner of which will be announced on the Croisette in May 2020, as was the case in May this year for The Woodcutter Story by Finland’s Mikko Myllylahti (read our news).

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One of the nine lucky candidates selected for this 6th session is France’s Camille Degeye, who is currently developing Sphinx. The story centres around Eden, a young philosophy student who is initiated into the local clubbing scene by his professor, Paul. When the resident DJ of a nightclub dies from an overdose, Eden replaces him. Immersed in a world of music, drugs and sex, Eden watches, but never partakes in it himself. Nevertheless, he finds a place for himself, as well as new, politicised friendships, in this queer, alternative world… The project is produced by Lorenzo Bianchi on behalf of Société Acéphale.

Hailing from the Faeroe Islands, Andrias Høgenni has been selected via his work Brúðarvalsur, a Danish project steered by Meta Film. The story unfolds around Jákup. It’s a big day for him because Stina - whom he’s raised as if she were his own daughter - is getting married to her Icelandic boyfriend. In pure Faroese tradition, the event brings together a joyful and unwieldy crowd. But it all goes horribly wrong when Jákup learns that Anton, Stina’s biological father, is on his way to the party, drunk and threatening all those who try to get in his way. Jákup only has a few hours to avert disaster…

Finnish-Swedish filmmaker Johanna Pyyki, meanwhile (who worked as an assistant on Joachim Trier’s Thelma [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Eili Harboe
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile
]
), is developing Ebba, a project led by Norwegian firm Ape&Bjørn. The story revolves around a young 18-year-old woman who tries to make ends meet by cleaning offices opposite the Port of Oslo. A solitary dreamer, Ebba lives in the basement of a middle-class house to which she’s given the keys when the owners go on their summer holidays. One evening, she comes across an injured, haggard man at the port. He seems to have lost his memory. Ebba finds his identity papers and discovers that he’s Bulgarian. Unsettled by his beauty, she decides to take him into her home and make him believe that she’s his girlfriend. But how far will Ebba go with this social, romantic and sexual deceit?

Romania’s Adi Voicu has also been selected thanks to Capturing Sami, a project jointly produced by Romanian firm Axel Film and French group Irreverence Films. The story follows in the footsteps of Sami, a young man indifferent to the rough and tumble of the world, who documents his existence on film, as if creating some kind of diary. Alongside his girlfriend Pia, he goes out onto the streets of Bucharest, even though the town is awash with the 2017 protests against corruption. Unmoved by the political events unfolding before his eyes, Sami continues to film his chronicle. But he’s soon arrested by the police and taken away in a van with the protesters. His camera confiscated, Sami swiftly finds himself at the heart of the action, rather than simply observing it…

For her part, French-Costa Rican director Valentina Maurel (who studied film in Belgium) is working on La Edad desnuda, produced by French firm Geko Film, Belgian group Wrong Men and Costa Rican company Pacifican Grey. The story focuses on Eva, a 16-year-old Costa Rican teen, torn between two homes: the one which she grew up in and which her mother is renovating with the help of her young lover, and the house that her father will be moving into following their divorce. Eva wants to live with the latter; he’s emotionally unstable and in financial difficulty, but his existence is synonymous with freedom and complicity…

Also well worth a mention is the excellent choice of Greek filmmaker Yorgos Zois, who was discovered in Venice 2015 by way of his first feature film Interruption [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daphné Patakia
interview: Yorgos Zois
film profile
]
, and who is now preparing Faraway, a romantic and dreamlike thriller revolving around a couple in their forties who rent a house in an idyllic spot by the sea. Production is in the hands of Homemade Films and Squaredsquare Films.

Last but not least, likewise selected are Australia’s Pia Borg with her project Michelle Remembers, Egyptian Nada Riyadh with Moonblind and Russian director Michael Borodin with his title Convenience Store.

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(Translated from French)

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