Unlimited, the pan-European producers network behind Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar's Locarno winning film Silent Waters, has unveiled a new slate
The slate includes new projects by Mikhail Kobakhidze (Georgia), Didi Danquart (Germany), Haile Gerima (Ethiopia), and Shaji N. Karun (India).
"Silent Waters is a kind of pilot project for Unlimited and real proof of the success of this approach", Unlimited's founder Philippe Avril told Screen Daily. "The idea for Unlimited was born from the perfect cooperation between my previous company Les Films de L'Observatoire (LFO), Flying Moon Filmproduktion and Karachi-based Vidhi Films."
Sumar's feature debut was backed by eight countries and twelve European institutions including the Hubert Bals Fund, Eurimages and Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg. The film is being handled internationally by Les Films du Losange.
Shares in Unlimited, which has taken over the catalogue of Strasbourg-based LFO, have been taken by Germany's Flying Moon Filmproduktion, the Netherlands' Metropolitan Pictures, Luxembourg's Hemispheres Films, Austria's DOR-Film, and Belgian independent producer Penelope Malfilatre, with former RTBF executive Jacqueline Pierreux serving as CEO.
"We wanted to set up a company at a European level to be a credible partner for funders, buyers and broadcasters and it is a movement to invent a new way of production", Avril explained. He stressed that the shareholders are all free to develop projects independently of Unlimited and are not obliged to come onboard projects developed by Unlimited which will tend to be budgeted up to Euros 2m. In turn, Unlimited also enjoys relationships with other co-producers such as Pandora Film and Lichtblick Film in Germany.
In the medium term, Avril could see the network being extended to other producers in Portugal, Switzerland and the UK, but first wants the venture to become established.
Apart from Silent Waters, production has already been completed on Korean filmmaker Jeon Sooil's Mise A Nu, co-produced by Dongnyuk Film, RG Prince Films and Unlimited, and Sumar's documentary on the situation of women in Pakistan in For A Place Under The Heavens, coproduced by Unlimited with Vidhi Films, Unlimited, Paris-based Karaba Productions, Images Plus, and ZDF/Arte.
Unlimited's 2003-2005 project lineup consists of :
The Abandoned Land, dir: Vimukti Jayasundera, debut feature by Sri Lankan diector who has been a resident of Cannes' Cinefondation this year. To be produced by Unlimited with Ecole d'Art du Fresnoy.
Bataville, dir: Francois Caillat, feature-length documentary about famous model factory and community, produced by Unlimited with INA and Images Plus
Comme Une Nuage, dir: Mikhail Kobakhidze, debut feature to shot in black-and-white wthout dialogue in Mongolia and New York. Unlimited is currently looking for international partners for this Euros 3.5m project.
Gaatha (Legend), dir: Shaji N. Karun, project selected at 2002 CineMart to be shot in India in 2004 as a co-production between Filmfolk and Unlimited.
Gorgomeesh, dir: Nora Hoppe, second feature to be shot in Trieste and Slovenia as a co-production between Flying Moon Filmproduktion, Unlimited, E-Motion Films and ZDF/Arte
Je Regarde La Mer Sans Toi, dir: Frederic Moriette, debut feature shooting in Berlin and Nantes in 2004, as a coproduction between Unlimited and Flying Moon Filmproduktion.
Sabra Et Chatila, Memoires D'Un Massacre - Lebanese/German hard-hitting documentary by Monika Borgmann, Hermann Theissen and Lokman Slim about the 1982 massacre, co-produced by Lichtblick Film, Unlimited, U-Man Film and WDR, with First Hand Films handling sales.
Offset, dir: Didi Danquart, shooting from March 2004 in Romania as a co-production between Noir Film, DOR-Film and Unlimited, with backing from ZDF/Arte and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Terra Somnabule, dir: Teresa Prata, feature debut based on novel by Mozambiquan writer Mia Couto, to be co-produced by Pandora Film, Contracosta Producoes, and Unlimited
Teza (La Rosee), dir: Haile Gerima, shooting in Ethiopia and Germany in September 2003 and March 2004, coproduced by Mzpheduh Film Inc./Negod Gwad (Ethiopia), Unlimited, Pandora Film and WDR/Arte.