Market leads to funding hookups

37 projects to be presented at event

Although it was founded only in 2004, the Berlin Film Fest’s Co-Production Market has become a festival mainstay.

A vital platform for filmmakers looking for a helping hand or international collaboration, the market gives artists and producers the opportunity to meet with potential partners and financial backers at individual, pre-scheduled talks.

This year’s market is presenting 37 projects from 25 countries at the three-day event, which runs Feb. 11-13. Also scheduled are case studies on film financing strategies as well as informal “speed matchings” and “country tables” where producers can talk to experts and learn about co-production opportunities in specific nations. Since its inception, 35 projects have been realized.

Selected productions are budgeted between $1.3 million and $9 million; 30% of each project’s funding must already be in place.

Included are projects from vet filmmaker Joe Dante, who is looking for partners to make “The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes”; Canadian writer-director-thesp Sarah Polley (“Away From Her”), who’s shopping “Sunshine Superman”; Argentine director Jorge Gaggero with “Dog Security”; Chinese helmer Wang Chao with “Starting Over”; and Jamaican-Canadian director Clement Virgo (who was in Berlin last year with Panorama screener “Lie With Me”) with his new project, “The Collectors.”

“The most important goal of the Berlinale Co-Production Market,” says Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick, “is to provide international producers and financial backers with a place of their own at the Berlinale — a place where they can find what they want at a festival: good projects and optimal service in an ideal context, all geared exactly to their current needs.”

For Co-Production Market project manager Sonja Heinen, that means keeping the number of participants manageable — this year, it received 348 entries from around the world, of which only the 37 were chosen.

“We’ll have about … 400 people at the market, not more. There’s enough running around at the Berlinale and everyone’s in a hurry, so we don’t want a thousand people there. We want to make sure the Co-Production Market is an efficient event. We try to offer exactly what participants are looking for.”

The event will again offer Books at Berlinale, a joint initiative with the Frankfurt Book Fair, allowing film producers to meet publishers and agents representing literary material with possible screen potential.

In addition, Heinen notes a growing interest among animation producers, and says the Co-Production Market is considering “various ways to think about synergies between producers of feature projects and producers of animation projects.”

This year’s market will include a special event with Japanese film promotion org UniJapan, which is helping the country’s film industry to expand into international arenas.

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