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Berlin Co-Production Market spreads its wings

Event doubles participants, adds residency

BERLIN

The Berlinale Co-Production Market wrapped on Tuesday, celebrating it’s 10th year with a significant expansion of its company matching initiative, doubling the participating companies and the time allotted for meets.

It introduced the Residency Projects category — backed by the Berlinale, Media Mundis, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg, the Nipkow Program and Guadalahara Film Festival — which sponsors a four-month development residency in Berlin.

Also added was a series of Fund Meetings where participants met reps from national funding agencies from France, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland, Georgia, Norway, as well as Eurimages.

Co-Pro Market director Sonja Heinen said it was an increase in workload but, “if it works, it doesn’t matter and it’s good to try out new things. This is really our criteria,” she added, “what can we do for the projects, how can we facilitate things the best way possible.”

Five projects from the Residency joined the 23 official projects, which included three from the Berlin-Rotterdam Express. The 23 official projects were culled from 318 submissions. A further 10 were selected for the Talent Project sidebar from 212 submissions.

This year’s 500 participants engaged in 1,000 meetings scheduled from 2,000 requests, up 500 from last year, for an average of 26 meetings for each of the 38 projects.

The most popular of the projects was “The Last Journey of Monsieur Pichon” from Nimbus Films in Norway, a love story imagining the last days of composer, Frederic Chopin, searching for a cure for his tuberculosis. Director is Soren Kragh-Jacobsen who won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1999 for his Dogme film, “Mifune.”

Followed closely behind were helmer Darragh Byrne’s “The Valentine Gang” from Ireland’s Ripple World Pictures, a black comedy about a newly released prisoner trying to recruit a gang for his next heist from a therapy group; as well as “Untitled Punk Movie,” Wayne Holloway’s second feature, pitched by Blighty’s Wellington Films.

This year’s hit in the Talent Market was “Two Guys Who Sold The World,” a sci-fi comedy about a small-town genius mistaken by aliens for the leader of the world, pitched by Canada’s Geordie Sabbagh Prods. and helmed by first-timer Patrick Boivin.

The Co-Pro Market maintains its 40% success rate in films being realized, with a total of 148 finished films to date, up from last year’s count of 130.

This year, two Talent Market films are screening at the Berlinale: “Youth” by Tom Shoval in Panorama and “Princesas rojas” by Laura Astorga Carrera in Generation, pitched in 2011 and 2010 respectively.

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