REPORT: First Look @ Locarno Pro 2022
- We take a closer look at the six German projects in post-production taking part in the industry initiative organised by the Swiss festival
First Look, the work in progress section of Locarno Pro, unspooled from 5-7 August. Cineuropa takes a closer look at the six features in post-production showcased during this year’s edition dedicated to German cinema.
Arthur & Diana – Sara Summa
Produced by Cecilia Trautvetter and Lisa Roling for the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) and co-produced by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB), the movie revolves around the titular siblings. Together with Diana’s two-year-old son, they leave Berlin for Paris for a quick, relaxed trip to renew the MOT of their rusty old car. But the journey won’t be relaxed, the direction won’t be Paris and whether the car will go along is definitely questionable. After many vicissitudes, they will end up all the way down in Italy. Summa told Cineuropa: “On the one hand, this film is the most intimate thing I can give to an audience, touching on the most difficult and delicate subjects that shape my personal and family relationships, first and foremost the one with my brother. At the same time, however, revealing something so intimate to an audience of absolute strangers is also an act of communion in which one person’s vulnerability creates a sense of shared intimacy that transcends personal borders.”
Life Is Not a Competition, But I’m Winning – Julia Fuhr Mann
Combining documentary and fiction, Mann deals with the utopian potential of competitive sport beyond rigid gender boundaries and images. The first narrative layer will consist of archival footage telling the stories of athletes who were bending gender rules in sports history. The second will be documentary-based, with a focus on contemporary gender-bending athletes. A third, fictional layer will centre on a runners gang creating their own rules and creating a queer feminist utopia of sports. Commenting on the team’s participation in Locarno Pro, producer Melissa Byrne, of Schuldenberg Films, disclosed: “We had a great time screening the film on Saturday to interested parties and got very valuable and important feedback from world sales representatives, screenwriters, curators and arthouse programmers on the current state of the film, which is still in the editing stage. We are excited to incorporate the feedback into our film which is going to be finished in January 2023.”
Elaha – Milena Aboyan
“The First Look Screening was an incredibly beautiful and enriching experience for us. To be able to open the film we spent so much time within a small group last year to an audience for the first time and showing it in a cinema was wonderful. The feedback has been very positive,” producer Janina Sara Henneman, of Kinescope Film, told Cineuropa. Elaha zooms in on a young woman fighting each day for a piece of autonomy on the battleground of the patriarchy. Aboyan co-wrote the script with Constantin Hatz. Christiopher Behrmann is attached as the DoP, whilst Kilian Oser is taking care of the score. Hennemann is producing with Emina Smajić and Mathias Greving, with Igor Dovagal co-producing for Essence Film.
Empty nests – Behrooz Karamizade (Germany/Iran)
Amir, a young unemployed man from Northern Iran, has found his great love in Narges. When an acquaintance of her family starts to woo her, Amir is forced into action. He becomes entangled in the violent machinations of the caviar mafia to earn the bride’s money. This is the premise of the new project staged by Eva Kemme and Ansgar Frerich for Basis Berlin Filmproduktion, and co-produced by Living Pictures Production and Iran’s Rainy Pictures, with backing from BKM, HessenFilm und Medien, Kuratorium junger Deutscher Film and DFFF. Port au Prince is attached as the distributor. “First Look was the perfect opportunity for us to present our project to sales agents and festivals for the first time at a late editing stage. Many of the important European and North American festival programmers were present at the screening, and at the meet-and-greet we received feedback on a very personal level,” commented Kemme.
One Last Evening – Lukas Nathrath
This tragicomedy follows a young couple who wants to start off afresh and move from Hanover to Berlin. She is an on-the-rise doctor, he is a talented but unpublished singer-songwriter. To say goodbye, they stage a farewell dinner in their empty flat. But good friends cancel, and uninvited guests turn up. Soon, the dinner spirals out of control, uncovering longings, hidden fears and lies. Following the preview screening of his film, Nathrath revealed: “It was received very well as far as we can tell; it is a tragicomedy, so obviously we want the audience to laugh, and for an industry screening, which is usually more reserved than an audience screening, we were surprised at how much laughter and gasps there were on the crucial moments.” The feature is a Klinkerfilm presentation.
Three Lives Long – Felicitas Korn
Korn tells the story of an orphan boy in search of stability, a coke dealer in a scramble for power and a heavy alcoholic full of longing for love fight for their lives in the drug milieu. The decision of one leads to the fate of the other, and the downward spiral rapidly brings them towards the abyss. “Felicitas Korn is a very talented director. Her script fascinated us from the beginning due to its clever and original narrative structure. We have managed to get a great cast together and to complete the shooting despite the Covid-related interruption we experienced. Screening our current cut at First Look was a great experience and provided valuable industry input. [...] Meanwhile, the script was published as a novel and we believe the finished film will have its place with audiences and festivals nationally and internationally,” said Philipp Kreuzer, of Maze Pictures, who produced the movie alongside and Kathrin Haase of U5 Filmproduktion.
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