Cash awards go to Israeli, Croatian, Serbian, Turkish and Greek projects at the script development, co-production and works in progress sections of the Thessaloniki’s Agora/Market.

Awards worth moret han $130,000 (Euros 100,000) in cash and services have been announced by Agora/Market, the Industry strand led by producer Marie-Pierre Macia at the ongoing 51st Thessaloniki International Film Festival.

The Greek project Unfair World, directed by Filippos Tsitos on a screenplay by Dora Masklavanou and the director, produced by Alexandra Boussiou (Wrong Men Productions) received the main award at the Works in Progress section.

The award is worth Euros 70,000 offered for services in kind by local special effects and production powerhouse Graal S.A. and Kodak Cinelabs Greece.

The jury judging the 11 selected projects was formed by MK2’s Juliette Schrameck from France, Karlovy Vary’s Karel Och from the Czech Republic and Greek producer Konstantina Stavrianou.

The award to Tsitos follows that bestowed upon his second directorial outing Plato’s Academy  in Locarno 2009 which also entered the three films-strong final list for this year’s European Parliament Lux award.   

With Unfair World the director reteams with his Locarno awarded actor Antonis Kafetzopoulos in the story of a police officer who decides to apply his own criteria of justice in favour of petty criminals.

The Euros 870,000 budgeted film, already shooting, is co-produced with Piero Ringel’s German production outlet Neue Road Movies.

Another German production company, Thanassis Karathanos’ Twenty Twenty Vision, is behind September, one of the four projects awarded in the Balkan Script Development Fund strand.

September, receiving Euros 7,000 in cash, was presented by director/writer/producer Penny Panagiotopoulou joined by screenplay co-writer Kallia Papadaki. Panagiotopoulou returns to film direction after her remarkable debut, Hard Goodbyes:My Father was hailed and multiawarded in 2002 at Locarno, Toronto and Pusan.

She reteams with Karathanos, a prolific Berlin based producer who’s credits include Ajami, Irina Palm and The Hunter.

The Euros 1m budgeted film is due to start shooting in mid 2011. The screenplay deals with the efforts of a middle class young woman to overcome solitude relating to the members of  a neighbouring family.

The Turkish project The Last Sleepless received another Euros 7,000 from the Balkan Film Fund. The award was sponsored by the French CNC.

lke Yesilai pens the screenplay and is set to co-direct with Gulsen Akbas. Emre Yeksan’s YXN-Yeksan Film, is producing. Yeksan was a co-producer it in Kamen Kalev’s Eastern Plays hailed at Cannes 2009. The screenplay deals with an 8-year-old girl and her encounter with the concept of death fior the first time. The budget is Euros 750,000.

The third Euros 7,000 Balkan Fund prize was shared between two projects: The Barbarians from Serbia and The House from Croatia.

The Euros 700,000 budgeted Barbarians was presented by director/writer Ivan Ikic and producer Milan Stojanovic of Sense Production D.O.O. Croatian production outlet Zona Sova is co-producing. The screenplay co-written by Boban Jevtic deals with the whereabouts of a bunch of young adults against the background of the 2008 declaration of the Kosovo independence and the nationalistic sentiments and actions that ensued.

The House was presented by director Zoran Sudar and screenwriter Sanja Kovacevic. The Euros 1.3m film will be produced by Igor Nola (Mainframe Production).

The jury scrutinising the 10 selected projects  was formed by screenwriters Alex Baciu (Romania), Panos Iossifelis (Greece) and screenwriter/director Richard Kwietniowski (UK/Poland).

At the Crossroads strand the Israeli project Youth was declared the winner receiving Euros 10.000 offered by Kodak Cinelabs Greece. The project, selected among 15 shortlisted ones, was presented by
scriptwriter/director Tom Shoval with Gal Greenspan (Greenproductions) attached as a producer. The German outlet One-Two Films is coproducing the Euros 750,000 budgeted film.

Youth marks Shoval’s second directorial project. He is currently in the post production stage of his debut feature I Will Drink My Tears. Youth depicts everyday life in the directors home town Petah-Tikva and is based on Shoval’s own experiences, looking at the country’s decaying middle class.

This is the second time in recent years an Israeli project is awarded in the Crossroads forum. Nadav Lapid’s The Policeman with Edgar Tenembaum (Tu vas Voir) and Geraldine Michelot (Les Films Pelleas) attached as producers won the top nod here in 2007 and is now at post production stage in Israel.

The members of the international jury who took one-to-one meetings with the participants of all 15 projects before selecting the winner were, Arte-France Cinema and Arte Cofinova head Claire Launay (France), Films
Boutique acquisitions  manager Gabor Greiner (Germany) and  producer (Films in Mind) Dionyssis Samiotis (Greece).

The award to Youth includes a free accreditation for its producer Greenspan to participate in next years Cannes Producer’s Network and the right y to present the project too at the Sofia Meetings at the next edition of the
Sofia Film Festival..

The jury decided to award a special mention to the project Home Sweet Home presented by director/producer: Kyriakos Tofarides, Avra Production (Cyprus).

The Balkan Fund, Crossroads and Works in Progress cater to projects from countries of the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions (Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Romania, and Turkey) introducing them to international financiers, co-producers and leading industry specialists who are attending Thessaloniki.

The festival wraps Dec 12.