‘Wedding,’ ‘Diary’ find favor in Berlin

Jeremy Lovering’s Afghan story “The Wedding Party” and Bille August’s “The Diary,” the story of a love triangle that takes place amidst catastrophe, were the top draws at the Berlinale Co-Production Market, which came to a close Tuesday.

The event provides an opportunity for producers to tap into potential projects and co-producing partners.

The event has become a major hit for the festival since its inception six years ago, drawing increasing crowds, including reps from the likes of Paramount, Universal, Lionsgate, Pathe, Constantin and Fox.

Some 500 participants and 350 production, distribution and sales companies took part in the two-and-a-half day project marathon.

“The Wedding Party,” a drama spanning 150 years of Afghanistan’s history, attracted 80 meeting requests from potential co-producers.

The market limits the number of meetings to 25. “Otherwise it becomes unmanageable,” explained Co-Production topper Sonja Heinen.

“The Diary,” set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, against the backdrop of a real-life explosion that destroyed half the city in 1917, likewise generated huge interest with some 80 requests.

Other projects that captured the imagination of participants were Pablo Berger’s “Snowhite,” a silent melodrama set in 1920s Spain, inspired by the tale of Snow White, and accompanied by the music of composer Alberto Iglesias; and Gregor Buchkremer’s weird tale “Goodnight,” about a woman with a special aura that suppresses insomnia in other people and who earns money sleeping next to her clients, until she meets a mysterious young man.

Producers were also hot for “Mrs. P,” Marek Losey’s biopic about Phyllis Pearsal, the eccentric artist who launched London’s ubiquitous “A to Z” map book in the 1930s; and “The Ardor,” Pablo Fendrick’s Buenos Aires-set thriller about a professional arsonist.

Of all the projects pitched at the Co-Production Market over the last six years, 40% have been realized, among them Raymond De Felitta’s “City Island,” starring Andy Garcia; Marco Kreuzpaintner’s “Krabat”; Ole Christian Madsen’s “Flame & Citron”; and Sergei Bodrov’s “Mongol.”

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