Sphynx scoops Critics’ Week Next Step Award
- The project by France’s Camille Degeye, steered by Société Acéphale, has walked away with the Next Step Prize, awarded by Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival
Since 2014, the Critics’ Week sidebar of the Cannes Film Festival (which unveiled its approved selection yesterday – read our article) has been helping talented short film directors make the leap to feature films via its Next Step programme. And since 2019, the graduate workshop (read our news on the latest round of candidates) has also consisted of a competition distinguishing a winner from its ranks. This year saw French project Sphynx by Camille Degeye crowned the winner, by a jury composed of Michèle Halberstadt (ARP Sélection), Mathieu Robinet (formerly of BAC Films and set to make his return with a new company) and Bérénice Vincent (Totem Films).
A self-taught director, Camille Degeye previously gave us the short film Journey Through a Body. In her first feature film project Sphynx, the script of which she wrote in collaboration with journalist Luc Chessel, the filmmaker explores a youth that differs from the norm, disregarding sexual, social and ethnic limitations. The story centres around Eden, a young medicine intern who’s excluded from the neurosurgery service she works for. She subsequently becomes a "medic" in a trendy Paris nightclub, heralding an initiatory journey into the night-time world, a progressive immersion fraught with dark abysses which is swiftly upended by her meeting Nidhal, an enigmatic character on the Parisian drag-queen cabaret scene. A passionate affair ensues between the two, unfurling amidst Parisian nights and new and political friendships in a queer and underground world… Production is entrusted to Lorenzo Bianchi and Anthony Lapia on behalf of Société Acéphale.
Over the course of its six editions, the Next Step workshop has lent support to 55 directors of 29 different nationalities looking to make the leap between short and feature length films. Last year, five films developed within the workshop enjoyed their premieres in Cannes, Venice and Locarno, while Memory House by Brazil’s Joao Paulo Miranda (co-produced by the Parisian firm Maneki Films) has just been awarded the Official Selection label of Cannes 2020 (news). Stand-out works now in post-production include Whether The Weather Is Fine [+see also:
film profile] by Filipino director Carlo Francisco Manatad (co-produced by House on Fire) and Rio Doce by Brazil’s Fellipe Fernandes (Kleber Mendonça Filho’s former assistant; co-produced by Le Bureau), while shooting is set to begin on five other films between now and 2021: The Woodcutter Story by Finland’s Mikko Myllylahti, the Algerian western Requiem pour un fou by Elias Belkeddar (produced by French firm Iconoclast Films), Alma Viva by the French-Portuguese filmmaker Cristele Alves Meira (produced by Fluxus Films and O Som e a Fúria), Anaïs in Love [+see also:
interview: Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
film profile] by France’s Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet (produced by Les Films Pelléas together with Arte France Cinéma and set to star Anaïs Demoustier and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and The Settlers by Felipe Gálvez (uniting the production prowess of Chile’s Don Quijote Films, Argentina’s Rei Cinema, French firm Ciné-Sud Promotion and Denmark’s Snowglobe, with mk2 Films in charge of international sales).
(Translated from French)
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