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Balkan Fund gives cash to films

European pics compete for four prizes

MOSCOW — A dozen film projects from nine countries across southeastern Europe will compete for four prizes worth $15,000 each at Greece’s 49th Thessaloniki Film Festival in November.

The Balkan Fund event, now in its sixth year, gives writers, directors and producers of projects at a very early script stage of development the chance to benefit from a three-day workshop attended by top film industry figures.

A key concept of the event is that projects should benefit from the workshop even if they don’t win prizes. Workshop guests include international film fund directors, commissioning editors, producers, distributors and sales agents, specially invited to the festival.

Projects that have previously been awarded or participated in the Balkan Fund event include: Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Snow,” written and directed by Aida Begic (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2008); 2007’s Cannes Un Certain Regard Award winner “California Dreamin’ (endless),” by the late Cristian Nemescu (Romania); and 2006 Berlinale Golden Bear winner “Grbavica” (Bosnia-Herzegovina), written and directed by Jasmila Zbanic.

Many films by prominent scriptwriters and directors nominated in the Balkan Fund are in the pipeline, including “The Coat,” written and directed by Kutlug Ataman (Turkey); “A Heart Shaped Balloon,” written by Bogdan Mustata and directed by Catalin Mitulescu (Romania); “First of All Felicia,” written and directed by Razvan Radulescu and Melissa de Raaf (Romania); and “Welcome Aboard,” written and directed by Costantine Giannaris (Greece).

This year’s projects are:

“Clemency,” writer-director Cem Baseskioglu, Makara Film (Turkey);

“Elysium,” writer-director Sandrina Andic, Sabeo Films (Serbia);

“Fool Moon” (Panselinos), writer-director Kyriakos Katzourakis, Omada Technis (Greece);

“Harisma,” writer-director Christina Ioakeimidi, Ekso Prods. (Greece);

“Midnight Sun,” writer-director Dusan Ristic, 72nd Street Prods. (USA/ Serbia);

“Number Zero,” writer-director Sirri Sureyya Onder, Besiktas Kultur Merkezi (Turkey);

“Outskirts,” writers Cristian Mungiu & Ioana Uricaru, director Anatoli Reghintovschi, Saga Film (Romania/Austria);

“Submission,” writer Zeynep Ozcan Akbal, director Emre Yalgyn, SFR Film and Advertisement Prods. (Turkey);

“System D/ream,” writer-director Yasna Zivanovic, 4A4 Prods. (France/Serbia);

“Tersakan,” writer-director Bary Pirhasan, Anka Film (Turkey/ Germany);

“The Last Flirtation of Ms. Dukic,” writer-director Mladen Kovaeeviae, Horopter (Serbia);

“Zincograph,” writer Vladislav Todorov, director Javor Gardev, Peripeteia (Bulgaria).

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