Fitzgibbon, Sitaru, Vicari, Huddles, Runarsson and van Geffen will be at Les Arcs this December.
Ireland’s Ian Fitzgibbon, Romania’s Adrian Sitaru, Iceland’s Runar Runarsson (pictured), Italy’s Daniele Vicari and America’s John Huddles are among the directors who will be presenting their new projects at the Les Arcs Co-production village this year.
The event, which runs Dec 14-17 within France’s alpine, Sundance-style Les Arcs European Film Festival (Dec 14-21), unveiled the production line-up on Thursday as well as the productions that will be presented in the Works in Progress section on Dec 15.
This year’s co-pro selection mixes upcoming productions from established independent filmmakers with a slew of projects from feted shorts directors who are embarking on their first features.
“We pretty proud of this year’s line-up. There’s a lot of projects I would be seriously looking at if I were going to Les Arcs in a professional capacity rather than as one of the organisers,” said festival co-founder Pierre Emmanuel Fleurantin, who produces under the Paprika Film banner in Paris.
Les Arcs head of industry Vanja Kaludjercic noted that they had received 250 submissions this year, against 150 last year and 80 in 2011.
“Selection was a really difficult task this year. We received so many really strong projects,” she said.
In another sign of the events growing stature a number of key players in the European sales and production scene have already signed up for the event including Indie Sales chief Nicholas Eschbach, Arte Cinema’s Remi Burah, SND’s Lionel Uzan, HanWay’s Fabien Westerhoff, Protagonist Pictures’ Mike Goodridge and Fox International Production’s Anna Kokourina.
Established directors with projects include Romanian Adrian Sitaru with The Fixer about a TV fixer with journalistic ambitions who turns to unscrupulous methods when he is given a chance to report a story on juvenile prostitution.
Ian Fitzgibbon’s will hit the alpine event with I’ll Take Care of It about the unlikely relationship between a reserved hotel concierge and a down-on-his luck banker. Icelandic filmmaker Runar Runarsson, who won a slew of his awards for his debut feature Volcano in 2012, will present Sparrows about a teenager who goes to live in a town in rural Iceland with his alcoholic father for the summer.
Daniele Vicari will attend with Long Way Down, based on the true story of a disastrous Italian-French expedition to scale Mont Blanc’s Freney Pillar in 1961. It features a script co-written with Massimo Gaudioso who collaborated on Gomorrah.
US director John Huddles will be at the market with Luxembourg-produced Appetite about an extreme meat chef who ends up at odds with his vegan daughter over his penchant for zebra, swan and fruit bat meat.
There are seven first-time feature projects from up and coming directors, most of whom have been already been feted for their shorts.
“We wanted to push what we consider to be talents of tomorrow. We’re taking a risk if you like but at the same time the directors we’ve selected aren’t exactly unknown, there’s an Oscar and a Palme d’Or winner in there,” said Fleurantin.
First feature projects include French Clément Cogitore with The Wakhan Front (Le Front du Wakhan) about an ill-fated French mission in Afghanistan. Jacques Audiard collaborator Thomas Bidegain co-wrote the script.
New French indies out in force
The Wakhan Front is produced by Kazak Productions, one of the hottest, up and coming production outfits in France at the moment. Having produced some 30 shorts, the company recently branched out into feature-length fare, kicking off with the shoot of Vincent Mariette’s debut feature comedy Sadness Club over the summer.
“We’ve already found co-producers in the shape of Komplizen Film from Germany and Belgian Tarantula. We will be looking for a French distributor and international sales company at Les Arcs,” commented co-founder Jean-Christophe Reymond.
Kazak joins a handful of other buzzy French independents at Les Arcs, including Kare Productions which is attending with Je suis le Véritable Sosie de Ceausescu, about a President Nicolae Ceausescu lookalike, by Philippe Pollet Villard, who won an Oscar in 2008 for his short film Le Mozart des Pickpockets.
Former Why Not Productions producer David Frenkel will also be in attendance with his fledgling Synecdoche company and Didier Barcelo’s debut feature Ola Kala, which is set to star Gérard Depardieu and Gaspart Proust as an estranged father and son, who are brought together by the former’s early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Genre specialist Metaluna Productions will present Regine Abadia’s haunted squat tale Les Murs Ecorchés to which Belgian Spring Breakers and Irréversible cinematographer Benoit Debie is attached.
Projects from the former Yugoslavia
To mark the festival’s country focus devoted to the cinema of the former Yugoslavia, five projects from the region will also be presented at the co-production village.
They include debut features by filmmaker and editor Bosnian Timur Makarevic, who recently edited Danis Tanovic’s An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker; and Serbian director Masa Neskovic’s The Longest Summer on Earth.
“We felt it was good that these young talents started reaching out internationally from the very start of their careers,” commented Kaludjercic.
Established directors from the region attending comprise Jan Cvitkovic with Mercedes - Fire Horse, Croatian Branko Schmidt with Ivan’s Confirmation and Macedonian Vladimir Blazevski with Freedom or Die.
“We think these projects have great potential to find a co-production partner,” said Kaludjercic.
The directors earlier works Metastase (Schmidt), Bread and Milk (Jan Cvitkovic) and Punk’s not Dead (Blazevski) will also screen in the focus programme.
Ten Work-in-Progress titles were also unveiled on Thursday, including Marco van Geffen’s In Your Name and Steve Aernouts, Ellen Schoenaerts and Bert Haelvoet’s Leibling, based on a theatre play by actor Jeroen Perceval. Les Arcs artistic director Fréderic Boyer expects to add another two titles in the coming days.
“What I’ve seen of Liebling looks very promising… it’s in the vein of Lars Von Trier… very hip and offbeat,” commented Boyer. “I’ve also fallen for No One’s Child, Paris of the North, Either Way and In Your Name”.
The Work-in-Progress section is aimed at works that still need finance, a sales agent or a distributor.
“We don’t allow trailers but rather two or three scenes of no more than 10 minute in total, we prefer footage which sheds light on the story but above all demonstrates the director’s ability to work with actors and set a scene… we try to focus the discussion on the artistic qualities of the film,” commented Boyer.
“Our aim is to help the filmmakers to travel to other festivals with the completed work and also find distribution.”
Co-production Village projects
Appetite, dir John Huddles, produced by Alexandra Hoesdorff, Deal Productions (Luxembourg)
Un Autre Jour Viendra, dir Tamara Erde, produced by Tatiana Bouchain, Illiade & Films (France), Marek Rozenbaum, Transfax Films (Israel)
Dogs, dir Bogdan Mirica, produced by Marcela Ursu, 42 km Film (Romania), Elie Meirovitz, EZ Films (France)
Equator, dir Hans Van Nuffel, produced by Bart Van Langendonck, Savage Film (Belgium)
The Fixer, dire Adrian Sitaru, produced by Adrian Silsteanu, 4 Proof Film (Romania), Jean des Forêts, Petit Film (France)
Freedom or Die, dir Valdimir Bazevski, produced by Darko Popov Pank Film (Macedonia)
Le Front du Wakhan, dir Clément Cogitore, produced by Jean-Christophe Reymond, Kazak Productions (France), Komplizen Film (Germany), Tarantula (Belgium)
The Good Soldier, dir Balint Kenyeres, produced by Andrea Taschler, Mirage Film (Hungary)
I’ll Take Care of It, dir Ian Fitzgibbon, produced by Michael Garland, Grand Pictures (Ireland)
Ivan’s Confirmation, dir Branko Schmidt, produced by Zdenka Gold, Spiritus Movens (Croatia), Natasa Damnjanovic, Dart Film (Serbia), Dor Film (Austria)
Je Suis le Véritable Sosie de Ceausescu, dir Philippe Pollet-Villard, produced by Antoine Rein and Fabrice Goldstein, Karé Productions (France)
The Key, dir Timur Makarevic, produced by produced by Amra Baksic Camo, SCCA/PRO.BA (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Long Way Down, dir Daniele Vicari, produced by Francesco Virga, MIR Cinematografica (Italy)
The Longest Summer on Earth, dir Masa Neskovic, produced by Natasa Damnjanovic, Dart Film (Serbia), Zdenka Gold, Spiritus Movens (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Mercedes - Fire Horse, dir Jan Cvitkovic, produced by Miha Cernec, Staragara (Slovenia) , Igor Princic, Transmedia (Italy), Boris T. Matic, Propeler Film (Croatia)
Les Murs Écorchés dir Regine Abadia, produced by Caroline Piras, Metaluna Productions (FR)
No Fun, dir Martine Doyen, produced by Anthony Rey, Helicotronc (Belgium)
Oktoberflesh written by Rob Drummond - No director attached, produced by Pamela Hansson, Penny Dreadful Films (UK) / Matthias Nerlich and Ito Hermann, Little Kong Films (Germany)
Ola Kala dir Didier Barcelo, produced by David Frenkel, Synecdoche (French)
Pass This On, dir Pedro Aguilera, produced by Pedro Aguilera (Spain)
Peace to us in our Dreams dir Sharunas Bartas, produced by Philippe Avril, Unlimited Films (France)
The Rams dir Grimur Hakonarson, produced by Grimar Jonsson, Netop Films (Iceland)
Scarred Hearts dir Radu Jude, produced by Ada Solomon, Hi Film Productions (Romania)
Sparrows dir Rúnar Rúnarsson, produced by Mikkel Jersin, Nimbus Film (Denmark)
Under the Pyramid, dir Axel Petersén, produced by Erika Wasserman, Idyll (Swedish), Jesper Morthorst, SF (Denmark), Itai Tamir, Laila Films (Israel)
The Yard, dir Mans Mansson, produced by Emma Akesdotter Ronge and Gunnar Carlsson, Anagram (Sweden)
In Your Name, dir Marco van Geffen, produced by Derk-Jan Warrink, Lemming Film (Netherlands), Janja Kralj, KinoElektron (France) / A Private View (Belgium)
The Judgment, dir Stephan Komandarev, produced by Stephan Komandarev, Argo Film (Bulgaria), Alexander Ris, Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion (Germany), Boris T. Matic, Propeler Film (Croatia), Vladimir Anastasov, Sektor Film (Macedonia)
Liebling, dir Steve Aernouts, Ellen Schoenaerts and Bert Haelvoet, produced by Bart Van Langendonck, Savage Film (Belgium)
Paris of The North dir Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, produced by Thorir Sigurjonsson, Zik Zak Filmworks (Iceland), Profile Pictures (Denmark), Guillaume de Seille, Arizona Fims (France)
No One’s Child dir Vuk Rsumovic, produced by Miroslav Mogorovic, Art & Popcorn (Serbia)
The Reaper, dir Zvonimir Juric, produced by Ankica Tilic, Kinorama (Croatia)
Sud Eau Nord Déplacer, dir Antoine Boutet, produced by Patrice Nézan, Les Films du Présent (France), Julie Paratian, Sister Productions (France)
Things I Cannot Tell dir Nisan Dag and Esra Saydam, produced by Esra Saydam, Gerry Kim, Robert Lavenstein, Alvaro Riccardo Valente, Karlakum Film (Turkey)
The Way Out dir Petr Vaclav, produced by Tom Dercourt and Sophie Erbs, Cinema Defacto (France), Jan Macola and Milos Lochman, Moloko Film (Czech Republic)
Land dir Jan-Willem van Ewijk, produced by Bero Beyer, Augustus Film (Netherlands), Fabian Messah, Endorphine Produktion (Germany), Marion Hansel, Man’s Film (Belgium)