In co-pro market, Hungarian director Arpad Bogdan and his producer Gabor Sipos from Laokoon Filmgroup won for thriller Necromancer.
Sergei Loznitsa’s feature debut My Joy (Schastye Moe), which premiered at this year’s Cannes Competition, picked up the Grand Prix for Best Eurasian film in the EurAsia competition at this year’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival which closed on Dec 5.
The international jury, which included US producer David Willis and Iranian actress Fatemeh Simin Motamed-Arya, handed the best director award to Germany’s Chris Kraus for Poll (The Poll Diaries) which Motamed-Arya described as “a perfect movie with good actors, good cinematography and great production design.”
Meanwhile, the acting prizes went to Mikael Persbrandt (In A Better World) and Katja Küttner (Princess) and the jury’s prize for best cinematographer was presented to Russian DoP Mikhail Krichman for his work on Alexei Fedorchenko’s Venice competition film Ovsjanki (Silent Souls). In addition, the special jury prize went to Iraqi-born Mohamed Al-Daradji for his second feature Son Of Babylon.
Speaking at a final press conference, Motamed-Arya said that the jury had taken some time for its deliberations because it had been “difficult to choose [the winners] from among the selection”.
Elsewhere, Lithuanian director Sharunas Bartas’ Indigene D’Eurasie (Eastern Drift) was named Best Film in the Baltic Feature Film Competition and also picked up the award of promotional activities on the Silver TV channel for the Best Baltic Film, while the Scottish Leader Estonian Film Award went to Veiko Ounpuu’s second feature Püha Tonu Kiusamine (The Temptation Of St. Tony). The artful tale of moral confusion, which was pitched at the Baltic Event in 2007 and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January, became the second Estonian film in a row (after Jaak Kilmi’s Disco And Atomic War last year) to take the FIPRESCI Prize.
This year saw the festival holding its competition dedicated to North American independent film for the second time. The jury’s award of promotional activities on the Silver TV channel went to Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, with a special mention made of fellow Canadian Adriana Maggs’ Grown Up Movie Star.
Other winners included the Czech filmmaker Tomas Masin, who won the International Federation of Film Clubs (FICC) Jury Award for 3 Sezony V Pekle (3 Seasons In Hell); and Japan’s Naoko Ogigami who picked up the Audience Award for her family comedy Toiretto (Toilet), while the NETPAC Jury Award was shared between Anusha Rizvi’s Peepli Live and Aktan Arym Kubat’s Svet-Ake (The Light Thief).
Meanwhile, sales agents, distributors and producers participating in the sixth edition of the Baltic Event’s Co-Production voted on the best projects presented this year.
Hungarian director Arpad Bogdan and his producer Gabor Sipos from Laokoon Filmgroup were unanimously voted the winner of the Baltic Event Best Project Award for the thriller Necromancer which had previously been pitched at Sarajevo’s CineLink in July.
.Russian producer Artem Vassiliev from Moscow-based Metrafilms received Screen International’s Best Pitch Award for director Alexey German Jr.’s next feature film Under Electric Clouds. The €3.2m drama, which will be German Jr.’s first film to be set in the present day, consists of several interwoven storylines set in big cities as well as in the outlying parts of modern Russia. The film was pitched last month at the Connecting Cottbus co-production market in Germany and is expecting confirmation soon of backing from the Russian Ministry of Culture Film Fund and the Rossiya TV Channel.
In addition, Cannes’ Producer’s Network gave free accreditations to Polish producer Ewa Puszczynska, who presented Slawomir Fabicki’s family film Jingo, and to Natalia Drozd who was in Tallinn with German director Benjamin Quabeck’s historical drama Last Novenber which had been pitched at the Moscow Co-Production Forum in June.
Co-producer Skady Lis told ScreenDaily during the Baltic Event that the co-production between CTB Film Company and Berlin-based Amselfilm Productions had now attracted a Lithuanian partner in Rasa Miskinyte’s Era Film.
Thanks to the European Union’s MEDIA International programme, the Baltic Event launched a new initiative Baltic Event for East (BE’E) which, in the words of Baltic Event managing director Riina Sildos, intends “to promote interaction, cooperation and co-production between the Baltic, Scandinavian, Central-Eastern European, Russian and Ukrainian audiovisual industries.”
In addition, four projects from Russia and Ukraine were selected for the Co-Production Market, including Grand Prix winner Sergey Loznitsa’s second feature film project In The Fog and actor-producer Dimitri Klepatski’s drama The Find, to be directed by Victor Dement.
Moreover, the Black Nights Film Festival’s Black Market Industry Screenings – now in its second year – expanded outside of the Baltic region to include titles from Russia (Another Sky, A Stoker), Kazakhstan (999) and Uzbekistan (The Water).
This year’s “Coming Soon” showcase of films in production/postproduction seeking finishing money, sales agents or distributors included the Estonian-Latvian animation film Lotte And The Moonstone Secret – handled internationally by Sola Media , Latvian writer-director Aik Karapetian’s social drama People There as well as seven Russian production ranging from Bakur Bakuradze’s The Hunter to Ivan Savelyev’s Cadenzas.
However, a second “Coming Soon” of forthcoming films from Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was seen by only a handful of Baltic Event participants at the presentation attended by ScreenDaily.
Indeed, the number of sales agents and theatrical distributors was noticeably down on previous editions even if the organisers reported that the overall turnout of guests was up on 2009. Sales companies represented this year included Bankside Films, Rezo Films, TrustNordisk and EastWest Filmdistribution.
The travel delays caused by the Finnair strike and the severe weather conditions may have led to some companies having to cancel their visit at the last minute — for example, Thorsten Ritter and Stefanie Zeitler of Bavaria Film International were unable to get a flight from Munich on the Thursday and missed the Estonian premiere of their film The Poll Diaries.
But the attraction of another Media International-supported event, Ventana Sur, in the much warmer Buenos Aires was evidently too much of a temptation for many international acquisition executives.