Event links producers with financiers, festival with festival

BERLIN — The Co-Production Market smartly illustrates how the Berlinale is developing into a platform for international filmmakers to get a helping hand in making movies.

Since its inception in 2004, 21 projects have been realized, and some former projects, like Atsushi Funahashi’s Forum screener “Big River,” are unspooling in the festival.

This year’s mart is presenting 44 projects from 24 countries — up from 31 projects last year. Titles were chosen from some 300 entries for feature films with budgets of up to $15 million, of which 30% must already be in place.

The Co-Production Market has developed organically from the festival but maintains strong links to the EFM, the Talent Campus and the World Cinema Fund. Of the titles selected, 18 are part of the Talent Co-Production Market, one is from the World Cinema Market and three are from the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express, a joint venture with CineMart Rotterdam.

Some highlighted projects include:

  • “King of Devil’s Island,” Marius Holst’s Norwegian pic about two boys who escape an infamous boys’ home following a violent riot;

  • “Efraim Longstocking & the Cannibal Princess,” a German project about Pippi Longstocking’s father’s childhood adventure in the South Seas;

  • “105 Degrees and Rising,” Jon Amiel’s U.S. pic chronicling the final days before the U.S. pullout from Vietnam;

  • “A Plane for My Soul,” Maythem Ridha’s Iraqi tale of a boy searching the streets of Baghdad for a banned newspaper — the best paper for a sturdy kite;

  • “Doctor Struensee,” Charlotte Sieling’s historical film about the young, schizophrenic Danish King Christian VII and his teenage British queen, Caroline Mathilde, who recruits the king’s German doctor to run the country; and

  • “The Oxford Murders,” Alex de la Iglesia’s Spanish pic about a young Argentine mathematician visiting the U.K. who is drawn into a murder mystery when his landlady is killed.

Meetings are scheduled in advance between project reps and financiers.

In total, some 1,000 meetings with about 350 producers and financiers are held during the three-day event.

While similar in concept to Rotterdam’s CineMart, the Berlin event is more producer-driven than the CineMart, and the two are not in competition, says Sonja Heinen, head of the Co-Production Market.

On the contrary, taking advantage of their proximity to each other, Berlin and Rotterdam have joined forces, creating the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express, which selects three projects from CineMart to be presented in Berlin. The Co-Production Market also concentrates on higher-budgeted projects than CineMart.

Although part of the Berlinale, the market is financed on its own through sponsorship from regional film subsidy board MDM, German producer association VFF and the European Union’s Media Program.

While it operates independently from the European Film Market, synergy between the two is growing: The Co-Production Market lodges in the Berlin House of Representatives, just across the road from the EFA’s new home at the Martin Gropius Bau, and the market offers EFM participants a Producers’ Lounge, where they can have separate meetings as well as access to Co-Production Market’s panel discussions and case studies.

The Co-Production Market and Talent Campus also operate the Talent Project Market. While the latter is limited to about 350 experienced producers, the Talent Project Market offers young filmmakers participating in the Talent Campus a special section in which 15 to 20 projects are selected.

As part of its growing cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Co-Production Market expanded this year from two to three days, giving producers and financiers more opportunity to meet publishing reps. The mart is presenting 10 literary works for film adaptations.

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