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Les Arcs Fest Names Best Project And Work-in-Progress Movie

LES ARCS, French Alps– Nataliya Kudryashova’s “Pioneer Heroes” was named best work-in-progress at Les Arcs Film Festival’s 1950 Coproduction Village.

“Heroes was pitched along with nine other movies; the best work-in-progress award is sponsored by Digimage and includes 6,000 Euros’ worth in post-production services.

“The Voice” from Hungarian director Gyorgy Palfi nabbed Arte’s international prize for the best project in development.

One of the 26 projects pitched at Les Arcs, “The Voice” is an English-language movie following a thirtysomething Hungarian journalist on the trail of his father, who disappeared in the ’70s after being involved in a secret military research project for the U.S. government. Palfi compared the movie to “Man on Wire.”

Like most directors presenting their projects at Les Arcs, Palfi has a track record in the arthouse world. His last movie, “Free Fall,” won three awards (best director, special jury prize and label Europe Cinemas prizes) at Karlovy Vary.

Ferenic Pusztai, producer at KML Film, was on hand at the fest to look for co-producers and a sales agent. The 2.2 million Euros movie already has two co-producers on board: France’s Sciapode and Hungary’s Origo.

The projects were selected by the festival CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin and industry head Vanya Kaludjercic.

“Heroes,” described as a highly political movie by the festival’s artistic director Frederic Boyer, marks the feature debut of actress-turned-filmmaker Kudryashova. The movie centers on three thirtysomethings, an actress, a political analyst and a PR exec, who were brought up on communist ideals as part of the last generation to live under the Soviet Union. The movie weaves together these people’s childhood under the Soviet regime and their lives today.

Budgeted at 750,000 Euros, the film is being produced by Russian shingle CTB Film Company and co-produced by U.K. outfit Seance. Kudryashova is looking for a sales agent and expects the film to be delivered on March 1.

Boyer, who also serves as artistic director of Tribeca, told Variety the 10 movies presented at the work-in-progress session had never been shown anywhere before. “These were all world premieres, and that’s an important factor for the film community considering how many co-production markets there are around the world,” he said.

Boyer said the timing of the mini-mart was also key: It takes place right before Rotterdam and Berlin, among other festivals. “We gives sales agents the opportunity to finalize acquisitions ahead of major film markets,” pointed out Boyer, who also serves as artistic director of Tribeca.

Other buzzed-about films pitched at the work-in-progress session include “Galloping Mind” from high-profile Belgian artist and director Wim Vandekeybus and “Bullhead” producer Bart Van Langendonick; and “Sparrows,” from Icelandic helmer Runar Runarsson (“Voclano”) and producer Mikkel Jersin (“Valhalla Rising”).

“Sparrows,” presented last year at the co-production forum, is about to get picked up by a French sales agent, Jersin told Variety.

Since launching six years ago, the Coproduction Village has discovered a number of films that went on to success at festivals. Recent gems include Baltasar Kormakur-produced “Fusi” — snatched up by Bac Films rolling off Les Arcs — as well as “The Wonders” (“Le meraviglie”), which earned Alice Rohrwacher the Grand Prize at this year’s Cannes film festival.

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