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'Religion Of Night Walks' scoops Best Project at Holland Film Meeting

Ali Jaberansari’s Tehran, City Of Love also received an award at the industry event.

This year’s Holland Film Meeting in Utrecht awarded The Religion Of Night Walks from Serbian director Nikola Ležaić with the Cam-a-lot & Filmmore Cinema Emerging Talent Prize for Best Project (valued at €10,000 in camera and post-production facilities). Already backed by Film Center Serbia and Propeler Film (Croatia), the film is about a Yugoslavian engineer working on the construction of the first wind farm in Iran in the early 1980s.

Ali Jaberansari’s Tehran, City Of Love - a BoostNL 2016 selection - picked up the WarnierPosta Prize (€5,000 towards use of audio post-production facilities). The story follows three characters, a religious singer, an office singer and a personal trainer, looking for love in Tehran. Babak Jalali is producer of the film, which is being made through Here & There Productions (UK), Viking Film (Netherlands) and Mandra Films (France.)

Meanwhile, the HFM Co-Pro Platform Work-in-Progress prizes (both worth €5,000 in facility services) were awarded to Brazilian title Mormaço by Marina Meliande, which received the Filmmore HFM Work-in-Progress Prize, while Dutch production In Blue by Jaap van Heusden picked up the Haghefilm International Post-Production Prize.

During HFM weekend, news filtered out about various new productions. Rising young Dutch director Sacha Polak (Zurich, Hemel) revealed further details of her new project Jade, which was presented as part of Boost NL. Polak revealed that film is to star newcomer Vicky Knight, who was talent spotted by casting director Lucy Pardee (Fish Tank, Attack The Block).

Knight will play the main character, a young mother from London horribly scarred in an acid attack. Estranged from her daughter, she finds comfort from her condition in partying and anonymous internet sex. (Knight herself is a burns survivor.) The project, warmly received when it was pitched at HFM on Friday, is produced by Viking Film, Emu Films, A Private View and Savage Productions. 

Polak is also working with producer-turned-screenwriter Stienette Bosklopper on 10-part TV drama series Avrupa, which is being developed with Peter Nadermann of Germany’s Nadcon Film with Belgian outfit Lumiere. NTR & BNN-VARA are on board the family saga about a Turkish migrant family in the Netherlands as Dutch broadcasters.


Producer-distributor San Fu Maltha gave further details on pick-ups for his fledgling Dutch boutique arthouse distributor Periscoop. The company, launched in a joint venture last year by Fu Works and Submarine Films, has recently acquired films including Werner Herzog’s internet doc Lo And Behold, Johan Grimonprez’s The Shadow World, about the international arms trade, and Nicolas Pesce’s graphic horror film The Eyes Of My Mother.

Periscoop also acts as co-programmer at leading Amsterdam arthouse cinema LAB111. Periscoop’s aim is to release strong independent titles which other distributors consider too risky. “We have a very developed arthouse circuit in Holland but the problem is that they are playing now a lot of mainstream films,” Maltha commented. 

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