28 official projects attracted total of 1,800 meeting requests

This year’s edition of the Berlinale Co-Production Market wrapped on Tuesday afternoon with heavy activity from the 487 participants, a mix of filmmakers and production companies.

The 28 official projects attracted total of 1,800 meeting requests, up 300 from last year.

Those projects, which included three from the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express co-prod initiative, were culled from 311 submissions. A further 11 projects were selected for the Talent Project sidebar from 247 submissions.

“We like to keep the number of selected projects down,” says Co-Prod director Sonja Heinen, “so we can devote as much attention as possible to each one. It’s not always about what we think are the best ones, but rather the ones we feel (the market) can do the most for in making good matches (with co-producers).”

The main criteria, apart from quality, she explained, is commercially minded projects with budgets between $1 million and $10 million dollars. “We are looking for packageable projects,” she says, “however if you want to be experimental, then you go to the Talent Market.”

The project that got the most meeting requests was “10 Days With Mad Mary” from Element Pictures in Ireland (which is represented in the Competition this year with “Shadow Dancer”). A first feature from stage and TV director Darren Thornton, pic is described as a romantic comedy that combines an American romantic comedy sensibility with the social realism of the British New Wave.

Others in particular demand in the Co-Prod Market and the Talent Campus’ section of the mart:

• “Pope,” a co-production of Canada’s Submission Films and Straight Edge Films. Pic is a drama of love, stardom and queer sensibility, which plays out in the art and music scene of 1970s-’80s Toronto, directed by Stephanie Weber Biron;

• “Rockpool,” a first feature from Sonia Whiteman that portrays the emotional journey of a rock star duo trying to recover from the death of their child and reconstruct their career, produced by Dragonet Films of Australia, with boy band star Ronan Keating attached.

• “Bummer,” a teen romantic comedy from the Talent Campus section, revolves around a couple in the throes of first love who discover that their respective parents are engaged to be married, which would make them brother and sister. Pic, from first-time U.K. producer Michelle Eastwood, attracted a lot of attention despite having no director or actors attached.

The Rotterdam-Berlinale Express project initiative brought in the market’s first 3D project, “Lost Rooms,” from Russia’s Koktebel Film Co. Director Alexei Popograbsky helms a fantasy about a girl with paranormal vision, trapped in a parallel world.

Films from the Co-Production Market have about a 40% success rate in being completed with a total of 130 finished films to date having come from the market.

The Berlinale is screening three market alumni this year: “I, Anna” by Barnaby Southcomb in Berlinale Special; “Sharqiya,” by Ami Livne in Panorama; and “Arcadia” by Olivia Silver in Generation K Plus. All were presented at the Co-Prod Market in 2010 with “Arcadia” coming from the Talent Market.

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