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CANNES 2007 Funding

Mader makes French Connection at Atelier

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Newly-created French production outfit The French Connection will be taking part in the third edition of the Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation Atelier (see news) with their co-production of Austrian helmer Ruth Mader’s Serviam.

The 33 year-old director, who attracted attention in the 2003 Un Certain Regard sidebar with Struggle, will be seeking to secure further financing for her second feature, which was already initiated in January at the Rotterdam Cinemart where Serviam was represented only by Mader’s production outfit (Struggle Films). The film is scheduled to shoot for 14 weeks in the summer of 2008 and has so far secured $2.39m of its estimated $5.98m budget.

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Written by the director, the screenplay, which has already won awards in Austria, takes the form of a metaphysical thriller set in a girls’ boarding school, a church and a small convent surrounded by orchards and vineyards in the Viennese suburbs. Encounters with the wealthy elite and their children, the struggle of a nun against the decline of faith and the life of a young girl almost ready to sacrifice her life, Serviam could best be described as a film on sacrifice, devotion and the existence of God in an uneasy atmosphere.

"I’ve always wanted to make a thriller," explains Mader. "When I was a child I loved films by Hitchcock and Lang."

The French Connection is headed by the Austrian helmer’s partner Alexis Dantec, an economist by training and director of SOFICA/COFINOVA (SOFICA is the grouping of finance companies for the film and audiovisual industry).

The Paris-based outfit, which specialises in the international co-production of auteur films, previously co-produced Li Yu’s Lost in Beijing (in competition at the 2007 Berlinale) and L’ora di punta by talented Italian director Vincenzo Marra (Vento di terra [+see also:
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), starring Fanny Ardant, shooting of which wrapped up last month in Rome (see article).

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(Translated from French)

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