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Cupellini, Kozole drum up next features at Les Arcs

A host of new and established European talent were discussing new projects at the Les Arcs Co-Production Village this week.

Damjan Kozole, Claudio Cupellini, Ilann Girard and Alexandra Stone were among directors and producers presenting new projects to co-producers, sales companies and distributors at this week’s Les Arcs European Film Festival Co-Production Village.

Spare Parts and Slovenian Girl director Damjan Kozole [pictured] presented new film Night Life, which he wrote with Ognjen Svilicic and will direct himself. The black comedy follows the intertwined stories of a young mother, a repressed lawyer and a suicidal security guard in the Slovenian capital Ljubliana.

The film already has interest from a German producer and Kozole and producer Danijel Hocevar are looking for French and Croatian partners.

Speaking to Screen, Kozole described the script as a “strong, powerful story about a serious subject revealed through black comedy. It explores contemporary fears in France, Slovenia and the whole of Europe and will combine a cast of well known Slovenian actors with lesser known ones”.

“We’re waiting on a decision from the Slovenian Film Centre, who we hope will provide a decent amount of the budget,” said the director.

Kozole’s 2009 drama Slovenian Girl, a project which came out of the first edition of the Les Arcs Co-Production Village, debuted at the Sarajevo Film Festival before getting a berth at Toronto and more than 70 other festivals.

Italian production outfit Indiana Productions and director Claudio Cuppelini were present to discuss their new film The Beginners, a love story between an Italian waiter and a young Russian model spanning Paris, Milan and Moscow. The script is due to be completed early next year for an autumn shoot.

Cupellini’s third film retains many of the creative elements from his acclaimed 2010 drama A Quiet Life. The director is again writing his script with Filippo Gravino and Giudo Iuculano while cinematographer Gergely Poharnok and editor Giuseppe Trepiccione are on board once again. Rai is on board for development.

Speaking to Screen, Cupellini described the project: “As in my previous film A Quiet Life, I am trying to understand the behaviour of those who have no roots. My previous film was about a man escaping from his past and his relationship with his son. In this film, I follow two people who don’t have family or any supprt and who live in countries which are not theirs. It’s a story about finding the right person at the wrong time. And as in previous stories of mine I consider morality. My characters desperately want something from life and want to find their place in the world.”

Emmanuel Murat of Barbecue Films is teaming up with Christine Gozlan of Thelma Films on Weeping Susannah, an adaptation of Israeli writer Alona Kimhi’s novel, which features an impressive cast of attached actors including Marina Fois, Gael Garcia Bernal and Hanna Laslo.

Set shortly after the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, the story follows an emotionally unstable young woman who has her life turned upside down when a distant cousin knocks on her door.

Murat’s partner at Barbecue, Cyril Cohen, has written the adaptation and will direct, while Israeli producer Amir Harel is on board as an executive producer. Murat was at Les Arcs looking for a co-producer preferably from Belgium or Luxembourg and hopes to shoot the film in Tel Aviv. Some finance is already secured from CNC.

UK producer Alexandra Stone and first-time feature director Camille Griffin were at the event with Heatwave, a drama set during the 2003 European heatwave about an English family that suffers an injustice at the hands of a corrupt French small-town mayor.

Stone and Griffin were looking for French backing for the drama which features a strong cast of attached actors including Vincent Cassel’s sister Cecile, Max Irons, Tcheky Karyo and Richard E Grant.

Producer Ilona Schultz of Germany-based Fortune Cookie Productions was at Les Arcs with her first international production The Lying Dutchman, which was written by Oscar-nominted writer-director Ulrike Grote specifically for Rutger Hauer, who is attached to play the lead.

The family saga follows a wild, independent 60-year old who is made a grandfather out of the blue and has to transform into a caring dad.

Schulz hopes to shoot the film in Ireland and Germany and is looking for co-production partners, preferably from Ireland. A chunk of the budget has already been secured from the DFFF and ZDF/ARTE.

Schulz’s first feature, comedy Die Kirche Bleibt im Dorf, written by Grote, is currently in the editing stage and will be released in Germany by Camino in summer 2012.

Producer Alexis Dantec was showcasing new noir thriller The Far Cry, to be directed by Solveig Anspach, while Jean Denis Le Dinahet was presenting first feature The Last Off, which is being co-produced by Luigi and Olivia Musini of Cinemaundici. Renato Scarpa and singer Eddy Mitchell are attached to the Italian comedy.

In total, 22 projects participated in the event which ran Dec 11-13.

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