PARIS– Pascal Sid’s “The Island of the Dolls,” Tom Shoval’s “Shake Your Cares Away,” Iram Haq’s “What We People Say” and Gyorgy Palfi’s “The Voice” sparked the biggest buzz at Les Arcs’s 1950 Coproduction Village.
Put together by Les Arcs fest CEO Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin, industry head Vanja Kaludjercic and co-founder Jeremy Zelnik, The Coproduction Village is conveniently scheduled in the run up to Berlin’s European Film Market and showcased this year 26 projects. The three-day event drew over 350 enthusiastic participants.
Camille Neel from Le Pacte, one of the many French sales agents attending the Coproduction Village, pointed out that “after emerging from Toronto and the AFM, Les Arcs feels like a breath of fresh air and provides a warm, christmassy atmosphere that gets people mingling and discovering new projects before kicking off the new year.”
Mixing adventure, horror and comedy, “The Island of the Dolls” follows a group of Gypsy men on an ill-fated mission to retrieve a famous doll on a haunted island in Mexico known as the La Isla de las Munecas. Produced by Daigoro Films, a label dedicated to high-concept tightly-budgeted genre pics, the 1.2 million Euros “Dolls” marks Sid’s follow up to 3D suspenser “Behind the Walls.” Sid, who attended Les Arcs with his producer Julien Seri, told Variety they had over 25 meetings scheduled and received interest from France’s SND, Spain’s Filmax and Ireland’s Fastnet Films, among other potential partners.
“Shake Your Cares Away,” which marks Shoval’s follow-up to “Youth,” centers around Alma, a young Israeli woman from a wealthy family who leads a double life as Dafna, an idealistic woman who volunteers in a soup kitchen in southern Tel Aviv. The 1.5 million Euros film is being produced by Germany’s One Two Films and is expected to start shooting next Summer.
“What Will People Say” is Haq’s sophomore outing. The Norwegian-Pakistani helmer made her feature debut with the critically-aclaimed “I Am Yours” which world-premiered at Toronto. A coming-of-age tale, “People Say” turns on a Norwegian-Pakistani girl who grows up between two cultures and faces an identity crisis. The 2.5 million Euros film is due to start shooting during the first quarter of 2016. Maria Ekerhovd, who is producing at Bergen-based Mer Film, said she and Haq have been approached by French and German co-producers as well as various sales agents.
Meanwhile, “The Voice,” winner of this year’s Arte International Prize at Les Arcs, follows a thirty-something Hungarian journalist who sets off to find his father, who disappeared in the 70′s after being involved in a secret military research project for the U.S. government. Palfi’s last pic, “Free Fall,” was a hit at Karlovy Vary. The 2.2 million Euros movie is due to start lensing in late 2015. Ferenc Pusztai, producer at KMH Film, was on hand at Les Arcs to search for co-prodcers, a sales agent and possibly a U.S. partner.
Kaludjercic also mentioned Sophie Fiennes’ “Grace Jones – The Musical of My Life” as one of the standout projects pitched at Les Arcs. The doc is produced by Ireland’s Blinder Films and the U.K.’s Amoeba Films.
The Music Village, spearheaded by Zelnik, who worked many years for the French label Naive, completed a successful first edition comprising three concert days, DJ sets and showcases throughout Les Arcs. The Music Village also featured an industry panel with seven key music supervisors at the Coproduction Village. The music professionals shared their knowledge on creative, media and legal issues.
Zelnik said the Music Village also collaborated with Conservatories (music schools) in Lyon and Paris to select four students who got to work hand-in-hand with filmmakers on the original score of projects presented in the low-budget forum.
Another crucial debate, organized by the European film agency directors (EFAD), discussed digital-related issues surrounding the distribution landscape for movies in Europe. The European Commission is currently examining the possibility to implement pan-European licenses that would scrap the notion of territorial exclusivity and solely benefit multi-territory platforms.