Trieste’s When East Meets West (WEMW) co-production market is to cast its net wider to include North America for the first time.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, WEMW project coordinator Alessandro Gropplero explained that the market’s 2015 focus on English-speaking countries will seek to encourage closer links between producers from Eastern Europe, Italy, the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada.

At the centre of WEMW’s fifth edition (Jan 18-20, 2015) will be the public pitching of 20 film projects - fiction feature films and documentaries - which would make ideal co-productions to an audience of producers, sales agents, and distributors from the participating territories..

The selected projects will be competing for the WEMW Development Award, a scholarship from the EAVE producers training programme, and the newly created EGG Digital Cinema Award with a full DCP offered by EGG, one of the leading Irish post/VFX houses.

In addition, the producers of the selected projects will have the opportunity as in previous years to hold one-to-one-meetings with potential production partners, and a programme of case studies and panel discussions will give insights into the state of financing and distribution in the 2015 focus region.

Gropplero travelled to Canada this week to meet potential partners.

POV backs two more

Further East, the St Petersburg-based project development fund Point of View (POV) has backed another two film projects in its summer funding session.

Grants of $19,387 (€15,000) each were awarded on the recommendation of an international jury.

The first was to Nobody Nowhere, the fiction feature debut of Russian documentary director Andrey Redkin. The drama set in the Siberian Tundra is based on Redkin’s own experiences of working on oil rigs, and was submitted by Moscow-based Graffiti Films’ Anastasia Pavlovich to the POV competition.

The project had already been pitched at the Moscow Co-Production Forum in June with the support of fellow producer Vlad Ketkovich. Nobody Nowhere is being structured as a Russian-French co-production with Marie-Pierre Macia’s company MPM Films as a partner.

MPM Films’ co-production of Panos Koutras’ road movie Xenia had its North American premiere in Toronto last night (Sept 10);

The second went to Thirtieth Love, by Angelina Nikonova, her third collaboration with actress Olga Dykhovichnaya after the previous two films Twilight Portrait and the English-language, US-set Welkome Home.

The drama is based on the novel  Marina’s Thirtieth Love  by the controversial Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin,and will feature Dykhovichnaya in the female lead as the 30-year-old music teacher Marina  working in a palace of culture at a large factory in Moscow in the former Soviet Union of the early 1980s. Her life takes a radical turn after falling in love with the factory’s party secretary after 29 affairs.

The film will be produced by producer Julia Mishkiniene of Vita Aktiva who received development funding from POV last year for debutant Anna Sarukhanova’s In The City to be shot in Tbilisi in 2015.

An official awards ceremony for the recipients of the two new grants will be held on Oct 8 during the inaugural edition of the St Petersburg International Media Forum.