Off Frame, a French-Palestinian project by Mohanad Yaqubi that depicts key moments in the Palestinian struggle for self-determination has won the Eurimages Co production development award for best project at the International Rome Film Festival’s New Cinema Network (NCN).
The prize is worth $41,300 (Euros 30,000) in development funds and was awarded by the NCN jury made up of Eurimages’ Peter Gustafsson and NCN’s selectors, producers Simon De Santiago from Spain and Rosanna Seregni of Italy.
The jury selected the film for “using hidden and forgotten filmic treasures from the past to highlight the importance of filmmaking as a revolutionary tool to inspire people to fight for change.”
Specifically, the film will utilize 30,000 meters of negatives that were smuggled out of Beirut to Rome during the 1977 Lebanese civil war and use the footage to reveal how underground networks work. The film will also delve into the role of filmmakers and image producers in influencing society’s take on reality.
The project, produced by Monkey Bay, has already received support from France’s CNC - National Film Centre among others.
NCN has awarded their own best project in its Focus Europe section to Belgian filmmakers Benedicte Lienard and Mary Jimenez for the project Rising Voices, a dramatic feature based on events in Brussels in 2008 when illegal immigrants staged a 56-day sit-in at a church to demand residence permits.
The jury motivated the selection for the project’s “brave, passionate and balanced investigation of a politically complex current issue.” The best project comes with a $13,800 (Euros 10,000) cash prize.
The jury also assigned two special mentions: Iceland’s Cold Spring by Hafsteinn Sigurosson that will portray the difficult relationship between a young teacher in a remote village and his sailor father who comes to visit has been mentioned for its “Comic and tender depiction of universal conflicts in an extreme setting.”
With the second special mention, Profound North, by Marco Luca Cattaneo the jury expressed the wish to “encourage a young and promising filmmaker to continue his personal and interesting exploration of family roots.”
In Profound North, an Italian film producer living in Paris is called home to Italy, as his father lies dying. The director suggests Profound North will be as much about Italy’s present struggle to determine its identity, as it will be a family drama.
NCN has two sections: Focus Europe, which accepts second projects in development by directors whose first films made a splash and The Circuit, which accepts projects from partner initiatives such as Cannes-Cinefondation, Berlinale Co production market, Sundance Institute, Film London, Screen Institute Beirut, Rotterdam CineMart, Sarajevo CineLink and Film London Production Finance Market in various stages of production.
In its sixth edition, NCN hosted 280 professionals of which 140 producers and 29 directors from 30 countries. Over 900 meetings were scheduled for the 27 selected projects.