Trio turns heads at Paris Project

'Cromanon,' 'Foujita,' 'Society' among standouts

Helmer Charles McDougall’s “Cromanon,” Paris painters biopic “Foujita” and director Aditya Assarat’s “High Society” were among standouts at the three-day Paris Project Co-Production Platform, which wrapped its sixth edish on Friday.

Already creating buzz at Cannes, factual drama “Cromanon,” produced by Ariel Piluso and written by Alejo Flah, reconstructs the events and consequences of Argentina’s biggest non-natural tragedy: a fire at Buenos Aires’ Republica Cromanon nightclub on Dec. 30, 2004, that killed 194 people.

Penned by Aya Watanaba, “Foujita” was the Paris Project’s biggest-budgeted pic at e6 million ($9.4 million).

Presented by Japanese companies PaxEterna and Asmic Ace, it’s a bio of Japanese painter Leonard Foujita, a friend of Modigliani and Picasso. Subject matter will ease French nationality qualification.

Producers and sales agents were circling Thai helmer Assarat’s “High Society,” attracted by the success of his pic “Wonderful Town.” Latter, a Rotterdam Tiger and Pusan New Currents winner, was sold by Memento and picked up for the U.S. by Kino Intl.

Pop Pics produced “High Society,” about two women’s frustrated love for a Thai film actor. A more arthouse-oriented film than “Wonderful Town,” pic is budgeted at a highly accessible $500,000. 

Held under the aegis of the Paris Cinema Film Festival, which runs through July 12, Paris Project 2008 reflects the event’s rapid growth, boosted by a vibrant French co-production sector.

Project applications are up to 200 this year from 140 in 2004, reported project head Lucas Rosant. 

The 220 or so participants at the event included broadcaster Arte, producers Agat and Les Films d’Ici, distributors Metropolitan Film Export and Ocean Films, a bevy of sales agents — Celluloid Dreams, Coach 14, Films Distribution, Memento, The Co-production Office, TF1 Intl., and Wide — plus producer-distributor-sales agents Gaumont, M6-SND, MK2, Bac Films and Rezo.

“Paris Project definitely attracts French professionals. It’s found its place in the calendar. It’s a good way to meet new people in a relaxed atmosphere and to follow up on projects we’ve been talking about with some of the producers,” said Sebastien Chesneau, Rezo head of international sales.

Foreign attendees included Toei, Fortissimo, Latido, Pusan’s PPP, Red Lion, the U.S.’ Visit Film, Canada’s Instinct Film and a strong Philippine delegation, drawn by a Philippine Focus.

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