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Cannes’ L’Atelier lines up 15 projects

Al Massad, Almendras, Masri among directors

MADRID — “Blessed Benefit,” “To Kill a Man” and “3000 Nights” feature among 15 projects chosen for Cinefondation L’Atelier, Cannes Film Festival’s forum for projects seeking completion finance.

“Blessed Benefit,” from Jordanian Mahmoud Al Massad, whose “Recycle” won 2008’s Sundance World Cinema Cinematography Award, is a black comedy about a man finding freedom in jail.

“To Kill a Man,” which is a Chilean family revenge drama, reps Alejandro Almendras’ follow-up to “By the Fire.”

Mai Masri’s “3000 Nights,” which is set up at France’s Les Films d’Ici, charts a Palestinian woman’s struggle to bring up her child in prison.

Many L’Atelier directors have something of a reputation. Robin Weng, whose “Du, Zooey and Ma” is a family murder tale, competed at 2008’s Rotterdam fest with “Fujian Blue”; Philippine Ralston Jover, who’s pitching dysfunctional family story “The Dog Show,” scripted Brillante Mendoza’s “Foster Child”; Malek Bensmail, who presents “Odysseys,” is a reputed Algerian documentary filmmaker; Spaniard Manuel Martin Cuenca, at L’Atelier with “Cannibal,” bowed “The Half of Oscar” at Toronto.

Also selected are women’s immigration drama “Stars,” from Dyana Gaye, a Focus Features Africa alum; India’s “An Untold Tale,” from Shivajee Chandrabhushan, and Ivory Coast’s “Run,” about a president’s assassin who feigns madness, from Philippe Lacote.

Others selected are death-themed “The Last Land” from Paraguayan first-timer Pablo Lamar, produced by Ilse Hughan; Romanian Adina Pintilie’s buzzed-up “Touch Me Not”; Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s “Tristes Monroes,” seen at Rotterdam’s Cinemart; Marco Van Geffen’s grieving couple story “In Your Name”; and “Underground Fragrance,” Pengfei Song’s Beijing-set love story, produced by Tsai Ming-Liang.

Cinefondation L’Atelier runs May 18-25.

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