‘Light Years,’ ‘Panthers,’ ‘Rocketman’ shine at Les Arcs

European mini-mart drew 265 participants

LES ARCS, France

Brit helmer Esther May Campbell’s “Light Years,” German action-comedy “All Panthers are Pink” and Dagur Kari’s “Rocketman” were among the most buzzed-about titles at Les Arcs European Film Festival’s three-day Co-Production Village, which wrapped Tuesday in the French Alps.

Headed by Vanja Kaludjercic, the fourth edition of the mini-mart, which presented 27 projects, drew a record 265 participants, up 70% on last year, including 80 European distributors and sales agents from indie companies Wild Bunch, Fortissimo, Senator, The Co-Production Office, Gaumont, Bac and TrustNordisk.

On top of having an average of 25 meetings skedded over three days, producers got bonus time to network with industryites during extracurricular activities like ski workshops and happy hours at the pub.

“It’s a bit like Cinemart, but we’re able to socialize with key players, have a drink with them after the meetings. At bigger markets like Cannes and Toronto you don’t have the access and very often you don’t even get a meeting,” said “Light Years” producer Samm Haillay at Third Films.

He said Les Arcs was an eye-opener for TV helmer Campbell, whose credits include Channel 4’s “Skins” and “Wallander.”

“In Britain they always talk about social realism, gangsters and period drama, and Esther was reticent about pitching a project that’s none of these things, and I wanted to show her that there is a world in Europe that has a sympathy for the sort of films we want to make.”

Other popular projects included Berenice Bejo starrer “The Choice,” from Italian helmer Michele Placido, as well as Italian Alice Rohrwacher’s “Le meraviglie” and Israeli Hagar Ben-Ashar’s “Yaeli,” the soph features of two femme filmmakers whose directorial debuts, “Corpo Celeste” and “The Slut” played at Cannes’ Critics’ Week and Directors’ Fortnight respectively.

Germany’s The Match Factory has nabbed international sales rights to “Le meraviglie,” while France’s Memento Films has nabbed “Rocketman,” which is produced by Baltasar Kormakur’s Blueeyes Prods.

Fest CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin said the fest’s next step will be to open up the Co-Production Village and Work-in-Progress sessions to select North American distributors. “We aim at facilitating the distribution of European films and the U.S. remains a market where European films travel well and sometimes even win Oscars!”

Among the Work-in-Progress titles in post-production, Polish Lech Majewski’s “Field of Dogs,” his follow up to “The Cross and the Mill,” Brendan Muldowney’s “Love Eternal,” Georgian Nana Ekvtimishvili’s coming-of-age drama “Long Bright Days,” Icelandic Marteinn Thorsson’s experimental dramedy “XL,” with “The Deep” star Olafur Darri Olafsson, were standouts.

“Dogs” has sold to Italy and Poland and is about to close a French distribution and international sales deal.

Kaludjercic, who is also a programmer at the Sarajevo Film Festival and Paris Project, a film market hosted by Paris Cinema Film Fest, said the majority of the projects and work-in-progress titles presented at Les Arcs are scouted by her and her team: Fleurantin, producer Jeremy Zelnik, who co-founded the fest, Gaia Dancy, who previously worked at Kinology, and Frederic Boyer, artistic director of Les Arcs and Tribeca film festivals.

Professional event highlights at Les Arcs included the masterclass of Romanian Palme d’Or winner Cristian Mungiu, who shared tips on screenwriting and directing, and a case study on what it took to produce and distribute foreign language Oscar-nominated “Bullhead” with producer Bart Van Langendonck and Celluloid Dreams topper Hengameh Panahi.

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