Les Arcs’ Work in Progress event crowns Clara Sola, Magdala and Reflection its champions
- Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s first feature scoops the TitraFilm Award, Damien Manivel takes home the Eurimages Lab Project Prize and Valentyn Vasyanovych walks away with the Alphapanda Award
Unfolding within the Industry Village of the 12th Les Arcs International Film Festival (unspooling online 20-22 January 2021, with juries meeting in person in Paris), the jury for the Work in Progress competition, which was composed of 17 feature films, delivered its verdict in the form of three awards.
The main jury (notably comprising Eva Sangiorgi, Claire Burger and Karel Och) awarded the TitraFilm Award to Clara Sola, Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s first feature film described as "an enchanting debut which explores sexuality and spirituality with poetry and grace, crossing the boundaries between realism and magic". Written by the Swedish and Costa Rican director in league with Maria-Camila Arias, the story revolves around Clara, a 40-year-old withdrawn woman who enjoys an intuitive relationship with nature and is believed to have a special connection to God. As a "healer", she sustains a family and a village in need of hope. Clara’s sexuality, which has always been repressed by her mother, is stirred by her attraction to her niece’s new boyfriend. This new awakened force takes Clara through unexplored territory, allowing her to cross boundaries, both physical and mystical. Empowered by her self-discovery, Clara gradually frees herself from her role as a “saint”…
Currently in post-production, Clara Sola is produced by Hobab (Sweden) and is co-produced by Laidak Films (France, Germany), Need Productions (Belgium), Pacifica Grey (Costa Rica) and Resolve Media (USA). Sources of support include the Swedish Film Institute, the World Cinema Fund and the Hubert Bals Fund.
The very same jury chose to award the Eurimages Lab Project Prize (endowed with €50,000 in cash) to Magdala by French director Damien Manivel. They described it as: "a mystical and sensorial immersion into the depths of nature. A sincere and unconventional cinematic journey following the final days of Mary Magdalene, by way of Elsa Wolliaston’s striking expressiveness", based on a screenplay co-written by the director alongside Julien Dieudonné. Produced by MLD Films, this 5th feature by Manivel (whose filmography includes A Young Poet [+see also:
film profile], The Park [+see also:
film profile], The Night I Swam [+see also:
interview: Damien Manivel, Kohei Igara…
film profile] and Isadora’s Children [+see also:
interview: Damien Manivel
film profile]) is now in the cutting room.
Last but not least, the Alphapanda Audience Engagement Award (focused on digital marketing, endowed with €5,000 and decided upon by a jury comprising Juliette Schrameck, among others) went to Reflection, the second feature film, currently in the filming phase, by Ukrainian director Valentyn Vasyanovych after Atlantis [+see also:
interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
film profile] (Best Film in Venice’s 2019 Orizzonti line-up). Produced by Forefilms, his latest opus which explores the consequences of a face-to-face encounter with the darkest side of war on the life of a surgeon, "paints an exceptionally powerful portrait of the human condition in the context of a seven-year long military conflict in the Ukraine" and "offers up a moving, intimate story whose impact is universal."
The list of winners is as follows:
Work In Progress
Clara Sola - Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Sweden/France/Germany/Belgium/Costa Rica/USA)
Prix Eurimages Lab Project
Magdala - Damien Manivel (France)
Prix Alphapanda Audience Engagement
Reflection - Valentyn Vasyanovych (Ukraine)
(Translated from French)
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