Lab Projects to support unconventional films.

European Cinema Support Fund Eurimages is to launch a new initiative from January 2016 titled Lab Projects, which will be aimed at co-productions that are innovative both in terms of their artistic expression and production.

Speaking to ScreenDaily at this week’s Baltic Event in Tallinn, Eurimages’ executive director Roberto Olla explained: ¨We are going to reserve a little bit of money every year to support projects that are not conventional, both dramaturgically because they are not scripted as they are at the crossroads of different forms of artistic expression.

“It can be from visual arts or theatre, but it will still be films and cinema - although influenced by other art forms.”

¨These kinds of projects are normally not supported by national funds and therefore cannot come to us at Eurimages, and so we are losing them,¨ Olla said, pointing out that the filmmakers would be allowed to already start shooting before they made their application to the new funding category.

¨They can show us what they have already shot as part of a work in progress initiative and Eurimages would give a prize for either completing or editing the film to a maximum of €50,000 per project.

“The jury making the decision will be composed of professionals, with a representative from Eurimages to ensure that everything adheres to the initiative’s editorial line.¨

¨It is a bit like putting research and development money into the industry to try new things. The director could be a first-timer or an established filmmaker, but the important thing is that he or she wants to try a cutting edge approach.¨

Olla, who spent three years developing the initiative, said he would discuss with ‘work in progress’ events at festivals throughout Europe to host the juries for their decision-making.

However, he explained that festivals which already present the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award - such as Rotterdam, Sarajevo, Rome, and, most recently, Tallinn - would not be considered.

A list of festivals to host the Lab Projects jury will be decided upon by the Eurimages’ Board of Management next month.

This week saw the first Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at Tallinn’s Baltic Event going to the Lithuanian project Motherland by Tomas Vengris.