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Leila Basma’s Running with Beasts wins the third MunichFilmUp!


- The mentoring and residency programme has concluded at Filmfest München, with Basma being awarded the €5,000 Kirch Foundation Award and Leonardo Martinelli's Fantasma Neon receiving a Special Mention

Leila Basma’s Running with Beasts wins the third MunichFilmUp!
Director Leila Basma accepting her award for Running with Beasts

The third edition of MunichFilmUp!, an eight-month mentoring and residency programme for recent film-school graduates, which commenced in November 2023, concluded on 3 July at Filmfest München. Organised by HFF München (University of Television and Film, Munich) in collaboration with Tatino Films as the exclusive partner, and in conjunction with Filmschoolfest and Filmfest München as festival partners, MunichFilmUp! aims to assist six filmmakers globally as they develop their debut or sophomore features.

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The Kirch Foundation Award was a particular highlight during the event, where, at Munich’s Amerika Haus, the six participants pitched their projects to an industry audience. Thanks to the ongoing support of the Kirch Foundation, which backs the entire programme, a €5,000 cash prize was awarded to Lebanese filmmaker Leila Besma for her feature Running With Beasts. Additionally, the jury decided to give a Special Mention to Fantasma Neon by Brazilian filmmaker Leonardo Martinelli in order to further intensify its spotlight. The five-member jury comprised Italian producer-writer Alessandro del Vigna, Canadian filmmaker Harley Chamandy, Austrian producer Genia Krassnig (DOR FILM West), German producer and managing director at Nordpolaris Florian Kamhuber, and Lithuanian producer Marija Razgutė (M-Films).

The curriculum, crafted by co-directors Matthieu Darras and Elena Diesbach alongside Polish producer Izabela Igel, provided a tailored plan that addressed the specific requirements of each participant. Throughout the programme, filmmakers received personalised coaching from well-known industry mentors during their Pop Up Film Residencies held in France, Egypt, Lebanon and Indonesia. Mentors included filmmakers and industry professionals such as Anna Cienik, Franz Rodenkirchen, Ayman El Amir, Magali Negroni, Mariana Ricardo and Davy Chou, with Wim Vanacker serving as pitch trainer and Isabelle Lindberg Pechou providing specialised mentorship for pitch decks.

Matthieu Darras, CEO of Tatino Films and co-director of MunichFilmUp!, stated: “With three editions now under its belt and the first three winners being young, fierce female filmmakers from Cameroon, China and Lebanon, MunichFilmUp! is solidifying its identity as a hub for nurturing projects that are radically relevant in their artistic interpretation of contemporary societies.”

Elena Diesbach, head of International HFF München and co-director of MunichFilmUp!, commented: “MunichFilmUp! provides young writer-directors looking for mentoring and professional guidance with various opportunities to develop their projects, learn from top-notch industry mentors and finally pitch in front of film-industry representatives. Alumni from earlier editions are currently in development with or are financing their projects – people like last year’s winner, Viv Li, who was invited to take part in the Cannes Shorts Competition in 2024 with Across the Waters while still developing her MunichFilmUp! project. The fact that the first Kirch Foundation Award winner, Cyrielle Raingou (Cameroon/France), is ready to shoot her MunichFillmUp! feature debut, I’m Coming For You, at the beginning of next year in Africa also shows the potential and the high level of quality of the selected projects.”

The launch of the fourth edition of MunichFilmUp! is imminent. Applications can be submitted through the website, and the deadline has been set as 1 September. Scheduled from November 2024-May 2025, the fourth edition is sponsored by the Kirch Foundation.

Here is a list of the participants in the third edition of MunichFilmUp!:

A Summer Tale - Berthold Wahjudi (Germany/Indonesia)
Clinical - Romy Bou Nasr (Lebanon)
The Delicate Balance of Harmony - Inès Sieulle (France)
Fantasma Neon - Leonardo Martinelli (Brazil)
Running With Beasts - Leila Besma (Czech Republic/Lebanon)
This Is Normal - Gretta Sammalniemi (Finland)

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