Already a world leader in finished films, Cannes is entering the unfinished film business.
On May 21, in a festival first, the Cannes Film Market stages BAL Goes to Cannes, a showcase for buzz titles seen at April’s Bafici Buenos Aires Lab, the 10-year-old pics-in-post meet that is Latin America’s oldest.
Five films, all fully shot, make the cut: “After the Rain,” “All About the Feathers,” “Tea Time,” “Some Girls” and “Reimon.”
Works in progress are more necessary than ever, argues Cannes Market topper Jerome Paillard: “At a time when the industry is wary of taking risks, works in progress offer perfect timing for sales agents, distributors and festival programmers to know pretty exactly what they’ll be getting, but still have discussions with directors and producers.”
The Cannes Market attracts about 300 sales agents, offering “big exposure for the productions, a step-up to a big festival, a possible boost to the directors’ career,” say BAL directors Violeta Bava and Ilse Hughan.
Also, they argue, there is less and less money available for projects to get made. They need multiple fest support.
Cannes’ pix-in-post strand offers an enticing showcase model for the future.
Ten pics were in the April lab; five have moved on to Cannes. If producers know they have a 50/50 chance of presenting at BAL and segueing to Cannes, the lab’s lure grows, as does the quality of productions pitched on the Riviera. Cannes, as ever, looks set to show many of the best films around — even if they’re not finished.
Latins Mass on Croisette
Unfinished pics seek happy ending
Auteur Moreno depicts the grim work conditions of his first femme protagonist, a housemaid at upper-middle-class homes. Character-focused, but also a portrait of unremitting inequality. (Rodrigo Moreno, Argentina)
La once (Tea Time)
BAL’s biggest winner, with Some Girls. A seemingly slim premise — ancient old dears still sharing a monthly tea time after 60 years — becomes a study of societal pressure to seem forever young. (Maite Alberd, Chile)
Por las plumas (All About Feathers)
A movie about a bored security guard’s budding bromance with his rooster, which he trains as a gamecock. Neto Villalobos’ debut, a feel-good dramedy with motley oddball types played by non-pros. Won BAL’s Sinsistema prize and Miami’s Encuentros. (Neto Villalobos, Costa Rica)
Depois da chuva (After the Rain)
In 1984, as Brazil shrugs off military dictatorship, a 16-year-old high school student savors first love and drugs, sings punk, and preaches anarchist revolution. BAL’s biggest production, an ambitious first feature. (Claudio Marques, Marilia Hughes, Brazil)