You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trieste event connects East and West

Pitching forum focuses on German funders


The third When East Meets West project pitching event closed Tuesday after two days of industry meetings and panel discussions, under the umbrella of the Trieste Film Festival.

Part of a rash of recently launched professional forums hosted by fests around Europe bringing producers together with funding chiefs, commissioning editors and national film commissions, the event reflects a growing trend of micro-managing business opportunities that can meet EU cultural diversity aims.

The Trieste event, conceived to help Eastern European producers from beyond EU borders gain partners and access in the core countries, has swiftly developed into something where demand is increasingly driven by Western partners.

WEMW head Alessandro Gropplero, who works for the event’s co-funder, the Trieste-based regional film fund FVG, said the first two events focused on bringing French and then Nordic producers and funding chiefs to meetings with Eastern European counterparts.

This year’s focus on German-speaking countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, saw significant demand, he said.

“Nearly a quarter of the 136 applications to pitch projects and a third of the 150 guests came from German-speaking areas,” Gropplero told Variety.

The event — which like the Locarno fest’s Step In, launched in August — aims to create opportunities for smaller nations to access a wider European market, and is helping change the way business is done in and beyond Europe’s borders.

Tamara Tatishvili, head of the Georgian National Film Center, said that though France had traditionally been its key Euro production partner, Germany was now just as important.

“The strong point here in Trieste is that you get all the key producers and decision-makers from the country in focus under one roof, and they are a lot less busy than in other big co-production markets like Berlin or Cannes,” she said.

Georgian producers with projects looking for German partners had a great chance of success at such events, she added.

Manfred Schmidt, CEO of Leipzig-based regional film fund MDM, held talks about six projects seeking co-production funds and said he had been impressed by their quality, range and novelty. “There were a lot of new projects in the markets that I had not heard of before; there are fresh players here.”

Projects pitched at the market, which secured backing from the EU’s Media program for the first time this year, included innovative titles, such as $3.3 million-budget “Chris the Swiss.” Pic is a semi-animated study of the death of a Swiss journalist-turned-mercenary during the Balkans civil war told from the perspective of his cousin, the film’s helmer Anja Kofmel, who was 9 at the time of his death. It was produced by Baghdad-born, Zurich-based writer and director, Samir.

Next year the event’s regional focus will be on the Benelux countries.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Selected for AFI's Life Achievement Award

    The American Film Institute Board of Trustees has selected Julie Andrews as the recipient of the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Andrews on April 25 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT. “Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the [...]

  • 4127_D001_00007_RC Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs.

    'Downton Abbey' to Dominate Box Office Weekend With $30 Million

    The feature film version of “Downton Abbey” is heading for an impressive $30 million opening weekend at 3,079 sites for an easy victory at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday. The launch of Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” will land in second with about $20 million, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content