‘Anna’ draws most dates at EFM

Southcombe's noir thriller is the standout title

Barnaby Southcombe’s “I, Anna” shot to the top of the list at the EFM’s Co-Production Market this year.

The noir thriller, which has Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne attached, is being produced by Southcombe and Felix Vossen’s Embargo Films in London, and Paris-based Arsam Intl. The London-set pic follows a female murder suspect who falls for the detective in charge of the investigation.

Southcombe and Vossen logged some 80 meetings for the title, making it the project that attracted the most attention during the 2 1/2 days of the Co-Production Market, which ran Sunday-Tuesday.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive to the material and the cast that we presented,” Southcombe said, describing the Co-Production Market as “the Rolls Royce of these kinds of markets. It’s a super well-oiled machine.”

He praised Co-Production Market head Sonja Heinen, saying her strong production background resulted in 80 meetings for only 24 slots. “Almost every single one seemed tailored for us. It was really useful.”

Southcombe said there was strong response from German co-producers, distribs and sales agents for the project and he was looking for partners to bring Euro sensibilities to it.

“We had to arrange additional meetings for these titles, including extra coffee and lunch breaks, in order to accommodate the demand,” Heinen said.

According to Heinen, most of the 23 feature projects of between E1 million ($1.4 million) and $10 million that made it into the official selection elicited some 25 meetings each on average, although a handful of standout titles generated keen interest, with between 65 and 70 meetings. Among those were:

n Marcos Bernstein’s Brazilian project “My Sweet Orange Tree” from Passaro Films, about a precocious and imaginative 6-year-old boy from a troubled blue-collar family who discovers his poetic talent with the help of an old man;

n Janos Szasz’s “The Notebook” from Germany’s Intuit Pictures, about young twin brothers living in a village on the Hungarian border during wartime with their spiteful grandmother and who, while remaining innocent, turn to cruelty and evil in order to survive in the absurd world of adults;

n Samuli Valkama’s romantic comedy “Love and Other Troubles” from Finnish shingle Bronson Club, about a former child star whose life changes when his womanizing rock ‘n’ roll dad moves into his flat and they both fall in love with the same American dancing teacher.

Among its 37 projects this year, the Co-Production Market presented 11 titles from the Berlinale Talent Campus’ Talent Project Market. Standout titles included Odilon Rocha’s U.K. title, “The Samaritan,” described as “a dark Christmas tale,” and Laura Astorga’s Costa Rican 1980s-set project “Princesas rojas,” about a 9-year-old girl who returns with her communist family to Costa Rica on a clandestine mission for Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

Since its introduction in 2004, the Co-Production Market has grown into an integral part of the EFM and the festival.

This year it celebrated the selection of one project in competition, Rafi Pitts’ Iranian-German co-production “The Hunter,” and another in the youth sidebar Generation 14plus, Esmir Filho’s feature debut “The Famous and the Dead.”

More than 90 films — 40% of the projects selected — have been completed since the start of the Co-Production Market.

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