MADRID – Eva Husson’s “Bang Gang,” David Verbeek’s “Dead & Beautiful” and Laura Bispuri’s “Sworn Virgin” (pictured) will be presented at the first Venice European Gap-Financing Co-production Market, which runs August 29-30.
In its first edition, the Market looks set to bring to Venice a brace of Europe’s newest generation of producers, some with already buzzed-up or anticipated projects with sales agents attached.
10 of the 15 production companies behind the Market’s film have been up-and-running for just a decade or less.
The Market also looks set to pinpoint trends in European cinema: A diaspora in shoot locales which range, in a search for originality as much as lower costs, beyond Europe to Beijing and India; the still energetic social-issue focus of much European arthouse production as directors examine youth sexuality in an Internet age, politics as theater, the impact of immigration, social conformity and the abuse of authority.
Happy is the land without history, wrote France’s Montesquieu. European directors both young – Husson, Bispuri, Greece’s Yorgos Zois, Hungary’s Balint Kenyeres – and established – Latvia’s Lalia Pakanina, Vladimir Blazevski, Italy’s Renzo Martinelli – have found contempo social and political issues too fascinating to be ignored.
Produced by Full House, “Bang Gang” rates as one of the most awaited French debuts of 2015, both because of its subject, its industry backers, and the curriculum of French-born AFI alum Eva Husson, who impressed with her medium-feature “Those For Whom It’s Always Complicated.”
A product of the Torino Film Lab, “Dead & Beautiful,” about a group of Beijing super-rich kids who turn into vampires, is directed by Netherlands’ David Verbeek, whose “R U There” played Cannes Un Certain Regard.
Helmed by Italian first-timer Laura Bispuri, produced by Vivo Films, and co-produced, among others, and sold by The Match Factory, the Cannes-Atelier-showcased “Virgin” stars Alba Rochwarcher (“Le Meraviglie”) and Lars Eidinger (“The Clouds of Sils Maria”) in an identity tale set in the Albanian mountains, then modern Milan.
The Co-production Market showcases two more talked-up debuts: Lead-produced by Greece’s Pan Entertainment, Zois’ theater-set “Stage Fright” has actors being forced by terrorists to devise a play where everything, from performances to the bullets, are real.
A five-way Euro co-pro, “Yesterday,” Hungarian Balint Kenyeres’ long-in-the-works follow-up to a brace of multi-laurelled shorts – Sundance Jury Prize-winning “Before Dawn,” Directors’ Fortnight player “The History of Aviation” – weighs in as a noirish tale of a man’s reencounter with a dark past as he tries to save a construction project in North Africa.
The second feature from Virginia Gilbert, “Sweetheart,” star Tom Hollander (“Pride and Prejudice,” “In the Loop”), centers on a family torn apart by anger and resentment.
“Rumeno,” from Romania’s Catalin Mitulescu (“The Way I Spent the End of the World,” Loverboy”), is about a man attempting to re-connect with his family after a year working in Italy. Mitulescu’s Strada Film produces with Sweden’s The Chimney Pot and Film I Vast and Italy’s Apapaja.
The social, even political, focus of much European cinema remains clear at the Market, and informs the four titles from Italian helmers.Renzo Martinelli’s “The Missing Paper” offers a new – and he says bloodcurdling – explanation to the 1980 Itavia Flight 870 air-crash, which killed 81 people. In Vincenzo Marra’s “First Light,” Marco, a ruthless lawyer in Italy, played by Ricardo Scamarcio (“The Best of Youth”), becomes a waiter in South Africa, to stay close to his five-year-old son.
Valentina Esposito’s docu/fiction feature “Evening Shadows,” the story of the difficulties of rehabilitation, is acted out by five real-life ex-cons; Stefano Savona’s “The Stuff of Dreams” chronicles the attempts of an Indian theater troupe to stage Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” during Khumba Mela, the largest human gathering on earth.
From elsewhere in Europe, and segueing from the Tallinn and Asia Project markets, “Dawn,” directed by Laila Pakalnina (“The Shoe,” “33 Animals of Santa Claus”), offers a re-reading of a quite possibly apocryphal Soviet agitprop story about an exemplary boy-hero who denounced his father to the secret service.
Produced by Darko Popov for Macedonia’s Punk Films Production, a company he shares with pic’s director Vladimir Blazevski, “Freeedom or Die” is billed as a “soft” political satire about the friendship between a lonesome chimpanzee and his zoo warden.
Of other Co-production Market titles, all of which must have at least 70% of financing in place, “The Mountain,” a fable of resistance to oppression from Iranian modern pioneer Amir Naderi (“The Runner”), was shot in Italy after Naderi’s 15 years of movie-making in the U.S., from 1993’s “Manhattan By Numbers” to 2008’s “Vegas: Based on a True Story.”
Produced by France’s Unlimited, Lithuanian vet Sharunas Bartas family redemption drama “Peace To Us in Our Dreams” was presented as a project in the Rome Festival and Les Arcs Co-Production Village.