The Invisible Collection (Braz)
Dir: Bernard Attal
Scrs: Attal, Sergio Machado, adapted from the short story by Stefan Zweig
Budget: $1.1m (EUR800,000)
Funds raised: $438,000 (EUR320,000)
The Invisible Collection is an adaptation of a short story by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig about a young man whose life changes dramatically when he tries to get his mother out of debt by striking a dangerous deal with an old man.
"Although the adaptation is set in contemporary Brazil, it has deep European roots," says the first-time feature director Bernard Attal. A film student at both NYU and the New School, his short films have appeared in a number of international festivals.
The Policeman (Israel)
Dir/scr: Nadav Lapid
Budget: $1.8m (EUR1.3m)
Funds raised: $657,000 (EUR480,000)
Nadav Lapid's The Policeman is an existential sketch about two groups: an elite police force and a body of radicals. When the radicals kidnap three wealthy Israelis at a wedding, destiny brings their paths together, soliciting unexpected results. Lapid completed this script, his first feature, while he participated in the Residence de la Cinefondation at Cannes in 2007. The project was also selected for the Cinefondation's Atelier in 2008. The Policeman also won best project at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival Crossroads co-production forum in 2007.
Fugitive Club (Ch-HK)
Dir/scr: Tang Xiru
Budget: $548,000 (EUR400,000)
Funds raised: $140,000 (EUR100,000)
"Fugitive Club is (inspired by) a true story about a student who killed his classmates," says the film's producer Rosa Pang, who will be in Rome looking for a European production partner. "In China, it's difficult to do a documentary (-style project) on young people killing young people, so Tang has come up with the concept to make the story like a game. Nobody gets killed but the kids learn a valuable lesson."
Tang has worked previously on Zhang Yimou's screenwriting team and is an active producer, short film-maker and writer. Fugitive Club was awarded the Rome International Film Festival's 'most innovative project' at this year's HAF, which carries a $13,700 (EUR10,000) prize.
Dir: Abdi Ismael Jama
Scrs: Jama, Roelof-Jan Minneboo
Budget: $1.2m (EUR860,000)
Funds raised: $200,000 (EUR147,100)
"It is important to give newcomers the chance to hear the voice of this director and meet him in person," says Guillaume de Seille, producer of Queleh, the debut feature of Abdi Ismael Jama who is a Somali native now living in the Netherlands. Queleh is about a young boy who is forced to grow up quickly when the ruling military regime arrests his father unexpectedly. While he draws on personal experience, Jama says it is a story universal to all refugees. A graduate of the Netherlands Film & TV Academy in Amsterdam, Jama's short films have played at a number of international festivals including Rotterdam and Edinburgh. Queleh participated in Cinefondation's Atelier du Festival at Cannes.
La Preceptora del Nacional (Arg)
Dir: Diego Lerman
Scrs: Lerman, Maria Meira, based on the novel Ciencias Morales by Martin Kohan
Budget: $1.1m (EUR793,600)
Funds raised: $276,000 (EUR202,000)
Set in 1980s Buenos Aires during the military dictatorship of Leopoldo Galtieri, before the Falkland Islands War, La Preceptora Del Nacional is a political allegory set in a high school. "It is a deep story about the atmosphere at that moment," says Lerman, whose impressive filmography includes a Locarno Silver Leopard for his 2002 debut feature Suddenly (Tan De Repente) that went on to win a further 23 international awards. This next project will be co-produced by Germany's MMM Film Zimmermann & Co and Lerman says he will be looking for a further partner at the NCN. The project won second prize at the Buenos Aires Lab this spring and was a semi-finalist for this year's Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers award.
The Bus (Ch-HK)
Dir/scr: Pang Ho-cheung
Budget: $800,000 (EUR585,000)
Funds raised: $240,000 (EUR175,000)
The Bus is a portrait in a portrait, or a film within a film. The story is that of a film-maker shooting a film about a rape which takes place on a bus where no-one helps the victim. During the filming of the movie, the actor playing the rapist gains power on the set, and - as in the bus trip where the character of the rapist is not confronted - no-one stands up to him. The Bus is Pang Ho-cheung's eighth feature. It was inspired by the thought that "we don't always achieve the moral high ground we claim to adhere to". Pang's Exodus won the best cinematography award at San Sebastian in 2007.
Christine: War My Love (UK)
Dir: Agnieszka Holland
Scrs: Holland, Dominik W Rettinger
Prod: Mark Cooper
Budget: $20.5m (EUR15m)
Funds raised: $13.7m (EUR10m) pledged
One of the three projects at the NCN from Film London's Emerging Producer Training Programme (Eptp), Christine: War My Love is set to be the next film from one of Europe's leading female arthouse directors, Poland-born Agnieszka Holland. Her credits include 1990's Europa, Europa, 2006's Copying Beethoven and episodes of US TV series Cold Case and The Wire. "Holland brings a combination of a strong script and experience as a wonderful film-maker," says UK producer Mark Cooper. Set during the Second World War, the project is the true story of Christine Skarbek. "She was an extraordinarily successful secret agent who never came to grips with peacetime life," Cooper explains. German and Polish co-producers are on board in the guise of Frank Hubner of Absolut Films and Raf Buks of SPI International respectively. "The film is written and directed by a Pole, will be shot in English about a British spy who happens to be Polish. It's a great combination," says Cooper.
Dir: Emiliano Goessens
Scrs: Eduardo Pinero, Pablo Fernandez, Alejandro Pi
Budget: $342,000 (EUR250,000)
Funds raised: $213,000 (EUR156,000)
Producer Pablo Fernandez describes Reus as a neo-realistic look at neighborhood families in conflict. Set in the Reus barrio of the Uruguayan capital Montevideo where the director spent his teenage years, Reus - which will be shot on location in Uruguay - is about the erupting power struggle between a Jewish businessman and a renowned local family. Both director Emiliano Goessens and producer Pablo Fernandez are Uruguayan and have lived in Sweden, where Goessens obtained his degree in film and TV direction from Sweden's Ihtv institute. His 2005 film Roofies (Ryppar) won the Gothenburg International Film Festival's prize for best medium-length film.
Dancing Arabs (It)
Dir: Ruggero Gabbai
Scrs: Gabbai, Sayed Kashua, based on the novel Dancing Arabs by Kashua
Budget: $3m (EUR2.2m)
Funds raised: $684,000 (EUR500,000)
"I want to show how refreshing it can be to show a conflict through the eyes of the minority," says Ruggero Gabbai. Dancing Arabs is about a Muslim Arab with an Israeli passport and an identity crisis. His quest to fit in leads him to take an unusual step - he converts to Judaism. Lionello Cerri of Lumiere & Co will produce. As a student at Columbia University Film School, Gabbai trained under Emir Kusturica, Paul Schrader and Milos Forman and took workshops led by Martin Scorsese. Gabbai is a prolific TV documentary maker in Italy, and Dancing Arabs will be his first feature.
A Fine Line (UK)
Dir: Ben Gooder
Scrs: Gooder, Philip Greenacre
Prods: Sarah Curtis, Gooder
Budget: $7.5m (EUR5.5m)
Funds raised: $833,000 (EUR610,000)
A Fine Line is inspired by the true story of a brilliant artist who struggles with rejection from the establishment and enters into a reckless path of forgery and moral ambiguity. Gooder, a journalist and editor turned director, says: "I know the film's subject personally, and have a deep knowledge of the world in which he lived and worked." Gooder regularly produces and directs authored documentaries, was main unit camera operator on Ridley Scott's Gladiator, and his 2002 short film A Fairy Story was short-listed for an Academy Award. The project comes to the NCN from the UK's Emerging Producer Training Programme.
Dir: Lou Ye
Scr: Jie Liu-falin
Budget: $5.1m (EUR3.7m)
Lou Ye's black-and-white project Bitch is an adaptation of Jie Liu-falin's autobiographical novel about a young Beijing professor who leaves her job to follow a new love to Paris, who in turn abandons her. Alone in a new city, she encounters another man in a story Lou says "goes beyond intimacy".
"To be more elegant, it is a film about love," he explains. Lou's films often deal with sexual and political issues that have provoked ire with Chinese censors. His previous films Purple Butterfly and Summer Palace have both screened in Competition at Cannes.
Return Of The Brute (UK)
Dir: Tom Collins
Scr: Malachy Martin
Prod: Sarah Perry
Budget: $8.2m (EUR6m)
Producer Sarah Perry is showcasing Return Of The Brute at the NCN as part of Film London's Emerging Producer Training Programme. She plans a business-oriented, up-front pitch that will include "what the film is about, myself and the scriptwriter, the director, how we intend to raise finance, how we expect things to happen and when we expect to shoot". The project is about the savage effects of war and focuses on a private in the First World War who is transformed by his experiences on the battlefield. Perry has recently signed director Tom Collins, whose 2007 feature Kings, about a group of friends who re-unite at a funeral, was Ireland's submission to the foreign-language Academy Award.