Producers upbeat at Rotterdam’s CineMart

Tsangari, Ljuca nab prizes

ROTTERDAM — No-one at CineMart is saying the crisis is over, yet it’s hard to find a glum producer at the Rotterdam Film Festival’s co-production market, which wrapped Wednesday with awards to a pair of pics.

“Duncharon,” Greek helmer Athina Rachel Tsangari’s follow-up to “Attenberg,” won the €10,000 ($13,000) Arte France Cinema prize for best project. The $39,500 Eurimages prize for best co-production with a European partner went to Serbian debut helmer Nikola Ljuca’s “Humidity.”

“We all know the state of the market at the moment and we’ve been delighted with the positive reaction we’ve had,” said Christine Alderson of Ipso Facto Films, who’s at the mart with debut helmer Andrew Hulme’s “Snow in Paradise,” about a violent man who turns to Islam in London’s East End.

Tale’s cross-over potential in an art-house market was one attraction, she said. “People really relate to the project and the way we are trying to make it.”

Following CineMart contacts, her aim is to ink a sales deal and choose co-producers by the end of the Berlinale.

Chelsea Winstanley, of New Zealand’s Defender Films, came to Rotterdam looking for German or Austrian co-producers for Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” about a 10-year-old boy in wartime Vienna who aspires to be the world’s best Nazi. The response has been very positive, she said. “We’re in the fortunate position of being able to choose.”

Frans van Gestel of Topkapi Films, producing Urszula Antoniak’s “Nude Area,” also has a full contacts book. “After CineMart we have all the partners we want to have attached, and most probably a sales agent.”

Bigger names in the mart, such as Ruben Ostlund and Kelly Reichardt, predictably attracted attention. But one of the most buzzed about projects was Indian helmer Ritesh Batra’s debut, “The Lunch Box,” which signed up Paris-based Cedomir Kolar as a co-producer.

CineMart’s first 3D project, Alexei Popogrebsky’s “Lost Rooms,” also drew interest. “It was a bit of a gamble for us, because some people might think it is not really a CineMart project, but it was really popular,” said Jacobine van der Vloed, the mart’s senior coordinator.

Pic joins Ostlund’s “Tourist” and “Jojo Rabbit” on the Rotterdam-Berlinale Express, which promotes projects at Berlin’s European Film Market.