Panel taps Sciolla, gives advice on pitching

CANNES — It was a high-pitched battle Friday, but Angelina Sciolla’s offering proved the audience favorite at the “Pitch Me!” panel at the Variety Pavilion.

Variety staffers had selected five finalists from nearly 100 submissions. A panel of five acquisitions execs, moderated by Variety film reporter Dana Harris, gave advice to the prospective filmmakers, while the winner was determined by audience applause.

Sciolla’s “Moments of Truth,” the true story of a female war photographer, was hailed by panelist Juliette Renaud of Canal Plus as a “really perfect pitch,” although Catch 23’s Jeremy Barber warned, “Biopics are hard, and women’s stories are hard.”

“Truth” was closely followed by Leslie Provatas’ “Maritime Women,” a docu about women who work on the sea, and Robert Klinger’s “The Diplomat,” a broad comedy about a petty thief who accidentally becomes a State Dept. employee.

Khiem Do pitched “Saigon Saturday,” a coming-of-age story set in wartime Vietnam; Alex Jovy’s “The Flirting Club” is a broad comedy that the Brit writer-director compared to “Bridget Jones’s Diary” in tone.

Artisan’s Patrick Gunn explained, “You should lay out your first, second and third act” early in the pitch so the plotline comes through clearly. “The least expertly pitched was the best subject matter,” said producers‘ rep Jonathan Dana.

HBO’s Maud Nadler added that prospective docu pitchers usually come prepared with some footage already shot when pitching their projects.

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