Source: Courtesy of MIFF

Munich International Film Festival

New features by Sophie Linnenbaum and Bruce LaBruce were among nine German and Canadian projects pitched during the CineCoPro Conference at this week’s Munich International Film Festival. 

Britta Strampe and Laura Klippel of Berlin-based Bandenfilm presented Linnenbaum’s The Nose which will be the director’s first film shot in English and with an international cast. It is a satire about an activist who rips off a president’s nose and holds it hostage in an attempt to achieve world peace, thereby plunging the world into chaos. It has already received script funding from the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and is being planned as a trilateral co-production.

Bandenfilm previously produced Linnenbaum’s The Ordinaries which garnered the awards for best production and direction at the German Cinema new talent awards in 2022.

Canadian producer Joe Balass of Montreal-based Compass Productions was in Munich to present Bruce LaBruce’s Mother Mary and look for co-producers and financiers as well as discuss the possibility of shooting outside of Canada. Balass said the love story between two misfits from very different backgrounds – a transwoman and a unmarried pregnant 19-year-old - was “loosely inspired” by such films as A Taste Of Honey and Juno. 

Teilnehmer der CineCoPro Conference 2024

Source: Sophie Mahler / Munich Int’l Film Festival

Filmmakers at Munich’s CineCoPro Conference 2024

The screenplay is being co-written by the trans actress and novelist Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay who had a role in LaBruce’s 2020 film Saint-Narcisse.

Best Friends Forever is attached as international sales agent to Mother Mary which Balass suggested would be “more accessible” than LaBruce’s previous films as it addresses such issues as teenage pregnancy, gender identity, and women’s reproductive rights. 

Mother Mary will be Balass’ third collaboration with the director after the 2022 erotic comedy The Affairs Of Lidia and the short film Tom of Finland: Service Station. 

There was also potential for a collaboration between Germany and Canada in the high-end TV series project The Bomb presented in Munich by Roshanak “Rosh” Khadabakhsh of Port au Prince Pictures. The story of environmental activists travelling to French Polynesia in 1972 to stop an above-ground nuclear test on the Mururoa atoll subsequently led to the foundation of Greenpeace International thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Canadian environmentalist David McTaggart.

Khadabakhsh revealed that Call Me By Your Name producer Paradise City is already onboard as a partner and she would now be looking for Canadian partners to join the project.

Other projects presented at the pitching session included the meditative, archive-based documentary The Golden Door, to be directed by Robindir Uppal and produced by Marc Serpa Francoeur of Toronto-based Lost Time Media, Berlin-based actress-producer-director Saralisa Volm’s dystopian drama At Sea, based on Theresia Enzensberger’s eponymous novel, and Hamburg-based Canadian writer-director C. May Borgstrom’s psychological horror film Hour Of The Witch.

Hour Of The Witch will be Borgstrom’s second collaboration with the Hamburg production outfit Junafilm after her debut feature, the coming of age thriller Spirit In The Blood, which was made as a German-Canadian co-production with Canada’s Elevation Pictures

The third edition of the CineCoPro Conference brought 20 Canadian producers to Munich to meet and network with 20 of their German counterparts including Jakob Zapf (Neopol Film), Sebastian Weyland (Heimathafen Film), Ernestine Kahn (Kahnseiler Films) and Nina Frese (Wunderlust Films).

Ukraine focus

The Munich festival gave five Ukrainian filmmakers including animator Roman Liubyi and directors Maryna Brodovska and Olga Chernykh an opportunity to present new projects to an audience of industry professionals.

Liubyi showed some teaser footage of his horror puppet animation Unholy Power, which will be targeted at children aged between eight to 10 and is based on Ukrainian folklore.

The production by Babylon 13 already has Munich-based Benedetta Films onboard as a production partner. 

Co-directors Brodovska and Chernykh presented their feature-length hybrid documentary My Dear Vira which will show the friendship between Brodovska and her friend Vira, using a combination of dream sequences, animation and archive material to follow two life stategies and how the women cope with them.

Other projects presented included Crimean-born filmmaker Sergy Kulybyshevˋs comedy drama The Shot At Success which he described as “a universal story of human relationships”, “of how Europe see Ukrainians, how Ukrainians see Europe and how Ukrainians see themselves” , and Contemporary Ukrainian Cinema’s production of Times New Roman about an artist in a midlife crisis, which would be the second feature film by Philip Solnychenko after his debut La Palisiada which premiered in Rotterdam last year.