The Les Arcs European Film Festival is in full swing, including the sixth edition of the ever-growing Co-Production Village.
The industry events kicked off with the popular Works-In-Progress session, now in its fourth year, that showcases ten (European) films in post-production, looking for financing, distribution or a sales agent.
The event’s artistic director, Frederic Boyer, confirmed the films must be feature length, with a completion target of spring the following year. “The presentations that include three short clips are exclusive to this festival, and have not been presented at other neighbouring festivals such as Thessaloniki or Torino,” said Boyer.
Receiving 15% more entries than previous years, the event’s ‘first-look’ line-up spanned a wide range of themes and production styles. The full list included Family Film (Czech Republic/Slovenia); Galloping Mind (Belgium); The High Sun (Croatia/Slovenia); It’s Time (Romania); Magic Mountain (Poland/ Romania/ France); My Name is Emily (Ireland); Pioneer Heroes (Russia); Rams (Iceland); Sparrows (Iceland) and We are Dead (Switzerland).
Irish producers Lesley McKimm and Kathryn Kennedy presented the heartfelt My Name is Emily [picured] starring Michael Smiley, promising newcomer George Webster and Harry Potter star Evanna Lynch. The much talked about film is directed by Simon Fitzmaurice who directs with motor neuron disease, limiting his communication to blinking his eyes.
“This film is about grief and tragedy, but also romance. Fitzmaurice has a very clear vision of what he wants, and has been incredibly inspiring to work with day in and day out,” said McKimm and Kennedy.
Other buzzy titles included Grimur Hakonarson’s Rams about two brothers brought closer when a sheep farm is struck with a lethal disease. Hakonarson joked the casting of the sheep was the hardest process.
Russian producer Natalia Drozd impressed the audience with three clips from Pioneer Heroes, depicting disillusioned Soviet Pioneers from director and actress Nataliya Kudryashova.
Dalibor Matanic’s The High Sun initiated a positive response, detailing three interwoven love stories in two neighbouring villages, while Romanian director Adrian Sitaru brought shock value into the mix with It’s Time about a family dealing with incest and illegitimate abortions. The film further surprised attendees with its 12 day shooting schedule and production budget of 7,000 Euros.
Boyer said: “It was very difficult to choose the films for this year’s selection - each film submission showed great promise. But we are very particular in deciding the final films - it is something we are very proud to present to the European film industry.”
Boyer plans for bigger changes in upcoming years, including the possibility of more international films from outside Europe, with the likes of partnerships with India.
As with previous years, a selection of wine, cheese and oysters were shared on the terrace overlooking the slopes - a place where delegates insist the best deals were made.
A jury, in partnership with Digimage, will select the winning film later today with a prize of 6000 Euros designated for post production.