coco poster

New films by Russia’s Roman Bondarchuk and Robert Budina, whose credits include Waterdrop, are among 13 projects in development to be presented at this year’s east-west co-production market connecting cottbus (coco).

The event is normally held as part of FilmFestival Cottbus in Germany (November 3-8), but will run online this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Bondarchuk’s previous feature was Karlovy Vary 2018 East of the West title Volcano, whilst Budina’s last film A Shelter Among The Clouds premiered in competition at Tallinn, also in 2018.

Among the other cocoPITCH projects are two selected at partner events: Romanian first-time feature director Paul Cioran’s psychological thriller Sep & Ana, the winner of the Transilvania Pitch Stop - coco Award at the Transilvania International Film Festival in August; and Ukrainian filmmaker Yelizaveta Smith’s feature debut Vacuum, which took the Midpoint - coco Award at Karlovy Vary’s Eastern Promises showcase in July.

Bulgaria’s Svetla Tsotsorkova and her producer Svetoslav Ovcharov will present drama Fortune Teller to potential production partners. Tsotsorkova’s second feature Sister won best film at last year’s FilmFestival Cottbus, and this award gave the production team a ‘fast track’ to participate in this year’s edition.

In addition, six works in postproduction will be presented in the cocoWIP section, including Máté Fazekas’ dark comedy Eviction and Maria Ignatenko’s period drama Fire!, plus two projects which had previously pitched at connecting cottbus in 2016 and 2017, respectively: North Macedonian filmmaker Dina Duma’s coming of age drama Sister (wt) and Ukrainian director Kateryna Gornostai’s teenage drama Stop-Zemlia (wt).

In total, 118 projects from 39 countries were submitted for consideration for the cocoPITCH and cocoWIP sections this year.

The online edition of connecting cottbus will retain some elements of the market’s accompanying program such as the Funding News panel tracking recent developments in the Eastern European funding landscape; the Polish-Czech-German Round Table; the Focus coco showcase highlighting successful films which had been previously pitched in Cottbus; and connectingPOINT, introducing innovations within the film tech community.

coco director Marjorie Bendeck and her organising team reported that several projects from recent editions have since gone into production, including 9thStep by Irma Puzauskaite (In Script, Lithuania), Leave No Traces by Jan P. Matuszynski (Aurum Film, Poland), Patchwork by Petros Charalambous and Janine Teerling (AMP Filmworks, Cyprus), Convenience Store by Mikhail Borodin (Metrafilms, Russia), and Spas by Maksym Nakonechnyi (Tabor Film, Ukraine).

Projects pitched in Cottbus that have recently premiered on the festival circuit include Servants from Slovakia’s Ivan Ostrochovský, selected for the Berlinale’s New Encounters competition in February; Ivan Tverdovskiy’s Venice Days title Conference; Piotr Domalewski’s Polish-Irish co-production I Never Cry which appeared in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition; and Marian Crisan’s Romanian political comedy The Campaign which premiered at the Moscow International Film Festival this month.

The films by Tverdovskiy, Domalewski and Crisan will also be screening in the Feature Film Competition at the 30thedition of the FilmFestival Cottbus.