Matan Yair’s coming-of-age drama “Scaffolding” won the 11th edition Pitch Point at Jerusalem Film Festival
“Scaffolding,” about a teenage student whose life is turned upside down following the suicide of his beloved literature teacher — took the $5,200 Van Leer Award. “Scaffolding,” one of the 12 projects presented at Pitch Point, was described by the jury as a “simple and focused project (with sufficient) passion and inspiration to cross all borders.”
“Scaffolding” is being produced by Gal Greenspan, whose credits include Tom Shoval’s “Youth.” The project is also backed by the Israeli Film Fund and the Polish Film Institute.
Underscoring the rising profile of Jerusalem’s Pitch Point, the jury brought together Dylan Leiner, senior VP of acquisitions at Sony Pictures Classics, Remi Burah, managing director of Arte France Cinema, Vanessa Saal, head of worldwide sales at Protagonist Pictures, Guillaume de Seille, producer at Arizona Films, Yaël Fogiel, producer at France’s Les Films du Poisson, Fabian Gasmia, producer at Germany’s DetailFilm and Ewa Puszczynska at Opus Films.
The Pitch Point, which gained international exposure by providing “Son of Saul” with a launchpad (before it won a prize in Cannes and a foreign-language Oscar), is jointly organized by Jerusalem film festival and the Israel Film Fund.
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The selection of this year’s Pitch Point reflected the diversity of movies that are now coming out of Israel. The 12 films in production and 6 in post that were presented to industry players over two days ranged widely from romantic comedy to musical and fantasy tale.
“Montana,” the directorial debut of well-known casting director Limor Shmila, nabbed the $4,400 Wouter Barendrecht-Lia Van Leer prize.
“Montana,” produced by United Channel Movies’s Chilik Michaeli, Avraham Pirchi and Tami Leon, chronicles the journey of a 30-year-old woman who travels back home following the death of her grandfather with whom she had a close bond.
Other winning projects were Keren Yedaya’s “Red Fields” and Michael Rozanov’s “Neon Sky” which nabbed the $5,500 YAPIMLAB award and $7,700 New Fund for Cinema and Television Award, respectively.
“Red Fields,” one of the most ambitious projects presented at Pitch Point, is a contemporary makeover of the 1986 Israeli anti-war musical “Mami” with Israeli singer Neta Elkayam set to topline. Marek Rozenbaum is producing.
“Neon Sky” is a supernatural tale about a lonely young man who unexpectedly bonds with a ghost. The jury said “Neon Sky”‘s director, Rozanov, gave a “voice to the social and geographic periphery of Israel.” The project is being produced by Chilik Michaeli, Avraham Pirchi and Tami Leon at United Channel Movies.
Meanwhile, one of the six work-in-progress titles presented at Pitch Point in the post-production framework competition, “The Cakemaker” won the $17,000 Cinelab award. Produced by critically-acclaimed producer Itai Tamir, “The Cakemaker” turns on a young German baker who sets out to meet the widow of his lover, an Israeli man who just died in a car crash.
“Despite the challenge of modesty of means, the filmmaker has succeeded in creating a project that is at once relatable but also extremely complex,” said the jury about “The Cakemaker.”
Another work-in-progress, Ram Nehari’s “Nils” snatched up the Special Jury prize. Produced by Yifat Prestelnik, “Nils” stroke a chord among jury members with its “originality and humor,” as well as for the way it “(tackles) a vailed and often misunderstood subject.” Laced with dark humor, the romantic comedy turns on the relationship between a gifted musician who has just come out of a mental institution and a woman suffering from an eating disorder.