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Cyprus Film Days 2023 – Industry Days

Informe de industria: Producir - Coproducir...

REPORT: Dot.on.the.Map Industry Days 2023


Los proyectos presentados en el certamen de este año cuentan historias sobre ciudadanos de todo el mundo enfrentados a temas locales pero "desde un punto de vista universal"

REPORT: Dot.on.the.Map Industry Days 2023
Aliki Danezi Knutsen (izquierda) y Vladimir Subotic (derecha) presentan su proyecto Eastern Mediterranean (© Cyprus Film Days)

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

On 28 April, Limassol’s Rialto Theatre hosted a pitching session showcasing eight new feature projects. The event was part of Industry Days (27-29 April), the international co-production forum organised by the Cyprus Film Days International Festival (21-29 April). The session was kicked off by welcome speeches from Dot.on.the.Map Head Danae Stylianou, Deputy Director of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Culture Elena Christodoulidou, and Cyprus Film Days artistic directors Αrgyro Nicolaou and Marios Lizides.

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Available Now – Assaf Machnes (Germany/Israel)
Presented on stage by Machnes with producer Kobi Mizrahi, the picture zooms in on 55 year-old Hassan, a Palestinian Uber driver, who carries young party-goers around Berlin. One night, a young Israeli named Amir ends up in his backseat, triggering buried memories. In the following two years, their lives intertwine during multiple rides. Through their similar unrequited love stories, wounds begin to heal. Machnes revealed that the story was inspired by his real-life encounter with a Palestinian Uber driver, “whose presence was much more comforting than that of other people met in Berlin.” The team described the drama as “full of absurdity and humour,” in order to fill “the gap between the collective and the intimate.” The picture is co-produced with Luis Singer and Dennis Schanz of Germany’s Iconoclast Films. It also received development support from the Rabinovich Foundation.

Eastern Mediterranean – Aliki Danezi Knutsen (Cyprus/Greece)
Danezi Knutsen presented her project on stage with Serbian producer Vladimir Subotic, of Cyprus’ Roads and Oranges Films. The story is set in 1960s Cyprus and revolves around Margarita, a 30-year-old married woman, mother and journalist, who is struggling to come to terms with the changes in her city and her life. She is married to George, a young, ambitious politician. When she becomes the reporter of a controversial trial, she is drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s uncle, Ionas, a passionate and idealistic lawyer. As their relationship deepens, Margarita finds herself on a dangerous journey of self-discovery and political intrigue. Subotic admitted he was drawn into the project by the eponymous book and especially by the character of Margarita, “who had the courage to voice her feelings, thoughts and emotions” at a difficult time and within “a male-dominated society.” The project is currently in a late stage of development, and part of the funding has been provided by Cyprus’ Ministry of Culture, among other partners. Ioanna Davi of Greece’s Indigo View is co-producing. The team is currently looking for financiers, co-producers, sales and distribution partners.

Grey Glow – Michèle Tyan (Lebanon/France/Qatar)
Tyan’s first fiction feature, pitched with producer Sabine Sidawi of Lebanon’s Orjouane Productions, centres on 55-year-old Nayla, who is married to Mounir, an unemployed and alcoholic ex-militia man. The woman struggles to keep her family afloat in a Beirut that is sinking. One night, while driving home, their 23-year-old daughter Rania severely injures an old man. From that moment, Nayla’s life starts to crumble. The project is currently looking for sales agents, funds and festivals. “With this script and the professional experience of Michèle as an editor, we gained the support of two of the most selective funds in the Middle East, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and the Doha Film Institute. We’re [also] waiting for answers from some European and French funds. [...] We plan to start shooting in April 2024,” Sidawi revealed. Christine Rouxel, of France’s Eliph Productions, is co-producing the picture.

Checkpoints – Rita Borodiyanski (Israel)
Borodiyanski’s debut feature follows a young woman from a bad neighbourhood, daughter of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Liza, a street cat and survivor who has been taking care of her parents her entire life, decides to enlist to serve at the checkpoints on the border. The story is inspired by the director’s own experience as a daughter of immigrant parents and her time serving in the army at the Tulkarem checkpoints. During her pitch, the helmer stressed the importance of telling the stories of female victims’ post war trauma, as they remain still invisible and unspoken. Staged by Osnat Saraga of Tel Aviv-based Ananey Studios, the picture is currently on the lookout for funds and production partners.

Smaragda, I Got Thick Skin And I Can’t Jump – Emilios Avraam (Cyprus/Italy)
The character-driven feature, produced by Bark Like A Cat Films’ Tonia Mishiali, follows the titular 46-year-old woman, a former kids TV show host who decides to get her life back on track. With her social and environmental stance, while dealing with personal and professional deadlocks, she jumps on the social media bandwagon to gain exposure. Failing to get back in the business, she finds herself in a financial deadlock, therefore deciding to work in a tourist resort as an entertainer while trying to gain exposure in the world of social media. Avraam revealed that the film will focus on the themes of “existence, companionship and identity.” An undisclosed Italian co-producer has already boarded the project.

Wagako – Coralie Watanabe Prosper (France/Japan)
A co-production between France’s Kyrne Production and Japan’s Bunbuku, Wagako (lit. “My own child”) follows Tom, who lives in a small town in the south of France with Saki, her Japanese wife and their four-year-old boy, Genki. The family leads a fulfilling life until their world is flipped upside down during a trip to Japan where Saki suddenly passes away. After the tragedy, Saki’s parents consider it their duty to raise Genki in Japan, an inconceivable decision for Tom who decides to fight to remain the mother of her child. The team stated they have applied for some national and regional grants, and will also apply for the CNC’s advance on receipts in July. Filming is set to kick off in February 2024.

Rabies – Sandra Tabet (Lebanon/France)
Rabies is a horror film that relies on genre coding to explore the society it depicts. Drawing from Beirut’s social reality, it tells the story of Julia, [a 60-year-old history professor], who finds herself reliving a version of the city’s dark history through the return of the rabid dogs. When her son Ghassan gets bitten, it falls upon the new generation to pay the price of a past left unresolved,” says Tabet in her director’s statement. 

Rabies was born out of my urge to understand my relationship with death and with Beirut. [...] The past years have been filled with anguish and despair and I strongly believe that it is the result of our failure to deal with our past. It is time for us to finally bury our dead.” The project, produced by DB Studios and Haut Les Mains, is currently looking for funding partners, sales and broadcasters.

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