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Lanthimos, Martel, Nyholm scoop Rotterdam’s CineMart prizes

Established art house directors Yorgos Lanthimos and Lucrecia Martel won cash prizes as International Film Festival Rotterdam’s 30th coproduction market CineMart announced its prizes last night.

Martel picked up The WorldView New Grenres Fund Development Award (€5,000) for the Best CineMart 2013 Project for her project Zama.

The film, with a €3.9m budget, is an Argentine/Spanish co-production being made through Martel’s regular producers Lita Stantic Producciones with support from Spanish outfit El Deseo. An adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s Eighteenth Century-set novel Zama, this is one of the few period films attempted by Latin-American directors.

Greek director Lanthimos (best known for Dogtooth) won the ARTE International Prize (€7,000) for the Best CineMart 2013 Project for The Lobster.

This is being made through Irish outfit Element Pictures, Limp, the new UK production company set up by Lanthimos, and Scarlet Films.

The €1.9m project is an unconventional love story set in a dystopian future where single people are given strict conditions for finding mates.

Top prize

At a ceremony held high up in Rotterdam’s Euromast Tower, the biggest cash prize of the evening,The Eurimages Coproduction Development Award  (worth €30,000) went to young Swedish director Johannes Nyholm for his film The Giant, which is being made through Beofilm and Garagefilm.

A stunned Nyholm laughed in disbelief as he accepted his award.

The ceremony ended with a special short film made in tribute to popular CineMart coordinator Jacobine van der Vloed, who is leaving the organisation after 10 years to pursue a career in production.

“We will miss her very much,” said Marit van den Elshout, head ofCineMart.

Positive mood and fresh deals

Although few deals are generally completed during CineMart – where projects are being pitched for the first time – sales agents and distributors were generally upbeat about this year’s selection.

“It has been an amazing CineMart. We were very happy to see the turn out,” commented Jean-Baptiste Babin of French financier/producers BackUp Media.

Some projects have already attracted financing or new coproduction partners. For example, it was confirmed during CineMart that Angel Films in Denmark and Belgian outfit Epidemic were both to board Alex van Warmerdam’s new film Number Nine (working title), which is being sold by Fortissimo.

David Verbeek’s Chinese-set psychological thriller Dead & Beautiful also had a profitable CineMart.

The €1.1m film, to be produced by Lemming Film in partnership with Chine Blue Flims in China and Les Petits Lumieres in France, has received €300,000 from the Netherlands Film Fund and is now close to completing its financing. Sales agents are reportedly vying to handle the project.

There were several art-themed projects presented in this year’s CineMart. Five were there as part of IFFR’s Art:Film collaboration with CPH:Dox.

One title selected independently but which sparked strong interest among sales agents was David Hockney: A Life In Pictures, new feature doc about the English artist. This was pitched in Rotterdam by producer Kate Ogborn and director Randall Wright.

BBC Arts is already aboard the film, being made through Fly Film Company and Blakeway Productions. The film will showcase Hockney’s extensive film work which has never before been seen in public.

One or two sales agents have been ramping up their slates with IFFR titles in advance of the European Film Market. Media Luna, which had already picked up Diderik Ebbinge’s new film Matterhorn, has now confirmed that it will also be handling sales on David Verbeek’s How To Describe A Cloud.

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