‘Memphis,’ ‘June,’ ‘Esposito’ win Venice competish

Microbudget works nab Biennale College coin, support

ROME

U.S. helmer Tim Sutton (“Pavilion”) is among winners of the Venice Film Festival’s Biennale College initiative, which will shepherd three microbudget works from development through distribution.

Sutton’s “Memphis,” about a soul singer who becomes an ecstatic contemplator; “The Year of June,” depicting a year in the life of a female student in Bangkok, based on her Tweets, by Thai first-time helmer Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit; and Italo first-timer Alessio Fava’s “Yuri Esposito,” about a man living in slow-motion, are the three that made the final cut, out of 15 shortlisted entries.

Each director-producer team now has €150,000 ($199,000), plus tutoring and mentoring, and must bring their project to screen at the 70th Venice fest, which will run Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.

“It wasn’t an easy choice,” Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera told Variety.

“Aside from the overall value of the projects, one of our criteria was looking at the odds that they would be able to make our tight deadline for completion,” he added.

Barbera is touting the Venice initiative as trailblazing and unique because, unlike other fests that are active in film production, Biennale College covers a pic’s entire cycle.

Besides unspooling at Venice, the three completed features will get online and VOD distribution through deals made by Biennale College, which is sponsored by Gucci. That said, filmmakers and producers will be sole rights-holders of their works.

The 12 projects that did not make final cut will become part of a circuit that could help them finds partners through Biennale College affiliated orgs — New York’s Independent Filmmaker Project, the Dubai Film Festival and TorinoFilmLab.

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