15 pics from 14 countries in lineup

Lou Ye’s “Bitch,” Oleg Novkovic’s “White, White World” and Benedek Fliegauf’s “Womb” are among 15 projects from 14 countries selected for the Cannes Film Festival’s fourth Atelier pic focus.

The directors and producers of the pics will be invited to the May fest to meet producers and buyers who can further financing or distribution of the projects.

Lou broke through to fame with “Suzhou River.” “Bitch,” his sixth feature, is an adaptation of a Chinese novel about a love affair between a Chinese university student studying in Paris and a Frenchman. It will shoot in Paris.”White, White World,” the fourth feature from Serbia’s Novkovic, chronicles a love story in a no-future mining town.

“Womb,” from Fliegauf, one of Hungary’s top young directors, is his follow-up to “Milky Way,” which won the Golden Leopard last year at Locarno.

Other projects centering on social issues include “The Stoplight Society,” from Colombia’s Ruben Mendoza; Israeli Nadav Lapid’s “The Policeman”; love-cum-persecution drama “Queleh,” from Somalia’s Abdi Ismael Jama; and “Punta del Este,” about the rich-poor divide, from Uruguay’s Juan Pittaluga. Ilmar Raag comes to Cannes with “One More Croissant,” which centers on the relationship between an old woman and her young Estonian immigrant caregiver. Raag won a special mention with his debut, “The Class,” for the East of West award at the Karlovy Vary fest.

The Atelier selection also includes Australian Ben Hackworth’s “Cure for Serpents”; two U.S. projects, “Here,” from Braden King, and Lee Isaac Chung’s second feature, “Lucky Life”; “First of All, Felicia,” a directorial two-hander from Romania’s Razvan Radulescu and Melissa De Raaf; “Qu’un seul tienne, et les autres suivront,” from France’s Lea Fehner; Arvin Chen’s Taiwan/U.S. project “First Page Tapei”; and “Bi, Don’t Be Afraid,” from Vietnam’s Phan Dang Di.

Atelier projects have a high rate of success in pulling down completion financing.

According to Cinefondation director Georges Goldenstern, 60% of projects presented last year are completed and the rest are in pre-production.

The Atelier is one of three Cinefondation initiatives aimed at spotlighting and accelerating the careers of up-and-coming cineastes. Since 1998, the Cinefondation has organized a selection of film school works that are presented to a jury of five filmmakers and actors, who award a prize to the best three. Launched in 2000, the Cinefondation Residence du Festival welcomes 12 filmmakers per year and arranges mentoring for the writing and production of their features.

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