Russian dramatist Ivan Vyrypaev's feature film debut Euphoria was the winner of the Grand Prix inthe New Films, New Directors competition at this year's Warsaw InternationalFilmFest.
Announcing the winner at the awards ceremony on Saturdayevening, jury president Petr Zelenka said that the choice of the drama about alove triangle on the open steppes near the banks of the River Don had not beenan unanimous decision. Euphoria had its world premiere at Sochi's Kinotavrfestival and won a Leoncino d'Oro award in Venice last month.
Local film-maker Slawomir Fabicki, whose first feature Retrieval(Z Odzysku) isPoland's Oscar entry, received the HBO/Cinemax Best Script Award and a SpecialMention for "visual quality and sound design", while a second SpecialMention was given to Valeska Grisebach's Longing (Sehnsucht).
The jury for the newly created Documentary Competitionawarded its prize to Dutch film-maker Carin Goeijers' God Is My DJ, a portrait of Duncan Stutterheim, the organiser oflarge-scale dance events in the Netherlands, while the new Regional Competitionwas won by Free Floating (Svobodnoe Plavanye) by Russia's Boris Khlebnikov. FIPRESCI'sInternational Critics Prize went to Hungarian film-maker Agnes Kocsis' debut FreshAir (Friss Levego).
Meanwhile, Warsaw's industry event, the CentEast Market,expanded for its second edition to stage a pitching forum for nine new featureprojects by Central and East European filmmakers including Russia's AlexeiGerman Jr., Slovenia's Janez Burger and Romania's Adrian Popovici.
Jozko Rutar, Burger's producer partner at theLjubljana-based Staragara Production, told ScreenDaily.com that their $2.5m (Euros 2m) drama CircusFantasticus, whichwas first pitched at Sarajevo's CineLink in August, signed a co-production dealat CentEast with Poland's Opus Film (Retrieval) since the story of the bizarretravelling circus troupe will be shot at Polish locations in autumn 2007. Theproject had already attracted Dutch production house Isabella Films as aco-producer together with Croatia's Propeler Film.
Popovici, whose second feature A Roof Overhead was showing in Warsaw's RegionalCompetition section, revealed that he has cast Polish actress AlicjaBachleda-Carus in one of the female roles for his English-language drama TheStory Of A Century,opposite internationally known Romanian actors Marcel Iures and MaiaMorgenstern.
The love story between a young Romanian girl and an Americanspy set during the Second World War in Romania is budgeted at $3.7m (Euros 3m),the highest amount ever planned for a Romanian film (the average budget for aRomanian film is around $625,550 (Euros 500,000). Producer Cornelia Palos ofArtis Film has already raised $2.5m (Euros 2m) from the Romanian NationalCinema Center, Transeuro Film, Transeuro Lab and other private investors, andis now looking for the remaining $1.25m (Euros 1m) from co-producers outside ofRomania.
Pitching Alexei German Jr.'s next feature project Team(Otryad), Russian producerArtyem Vassiliev of Moscow-based Phenomen Films said that actress ChulpanKhamatova (who appeared in German Jr.'s last feature Garpastum) had expressed interest in playingin the story set in Kazakhstan and Moscow at the end of the1950s/beginning of 1960s about the preparations for the first Soviet-mannedspaceflight as seen by one of the military doctors who worked with them.
Principal photography for the $2.7m project, which hasalready received backing from the Federal Agency for Culture and Cinema of theRussian Federation and the Hubert Bals Fund, is scheduled to begin inKazakhstan from next February. Vassliev reported "strong interest"from Russian TV and a "leading Russian distributor" in the projectand said that he is also open to co-producers from Western European comingonboard the project.
Thepitching forum also included new projects by young Polish filmmakers includingAnna Jadowska's $858,250 (Euros 686,000) Out Of Love, to be produced by Koncept MediaRadek Stys, and Ewa Stankiewicz's $1.25m (Euros 1m) You Will Not Know whose production company Centralahas already attracted the Madrid-based Theseus Film as a co-producer as well asbacking from the Polish Film Institute.