Cannes Film Market Adds HAF, Vilnius, New Horizons, Thessaloniki to Pix-in-Post Showcases

Cannes’ works-in-progress series grows to cover 10 festivals, 43 productions and multiple on-the-rise events, territories and film types

Photo Enrique Stindt

The Cannes Film Market, the world’s biggest – and still growing – film industry meet, is raising the bar once more in industry initiatives, adding four new events to its 5th Goes to Cannes works-in-progress brand: FilMart’s Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF), Lithuania’s Vilnius Intl. Film Festival, New Horizon Polish Days and Greece’s Thessaloniki Intl. Film Festival.

The Marché du Film also added four more festival showcases last year to the Goes To series. In all, in the space of four years, from 2013’s inaugural single-event BAL Goes to Cannes, this year 10 festivals will showcase key movies at rough-cut, nearly always screened for the first time outside their own pix-in-post strands.

HAF also marks Goes to Cannes’ first Asian fest partner. As in 2016, the new additions target some of the world’s fastest growing regions, such as, undoubtedly, Asia (HAF), as well as buzzed-up national cinemas (NHPD, Thessaloniki). Vilnius unspools in a region, the Baltic States, which still packs large new talent growth potential, said Jerome Paillard, executive director of the Cannes Film Market.

In 2016, the Cannes Film Market bowed works-in-progress from events representing two of the fast-growing movie types: genre (Montreal’s Frontières/Fantasia); and animation, represented by France’s Annecy Animation Festival, which brings a clutch of notable productions to Cannes this year, such as the Czech Republic’s “Even Mice Go to Heaven” and Spain’s “Memoirs of a Man in Pijamas.”

Another 2016 addition, the IFF Panama, is a leading movie meet in Central America, another movie growth region in talent and box office.

The HAF films-at-roughcut selection frames “a wide variety of high-quality projects and talents of promising Asian filmmakers,” said HAF manager Matthew Poon. Most Goes to Cannes directors are indeed first-time or on-the-rise talents.

But the 10 showcases take in more established names. A New Horizons Polish Days selection, “Speedway,” a bigger-budget rites of passage tale set in the world of motorcycle racing, is directed by Dorota Kędzierzawska, at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight’ as far back as 1994 with her debut, “Crows.”

Some filmmakers need even less of an introduction, such as Morocco’s Leila Kilani, back in Cannes, after 2011 Directors’ Fortnight hit “On the Edge,” with “Joint Possession,” a movie denouncing real estate speculation in her native Tangiers. Possibly even better known, anad also part of Dubai Goes to Cannes, Palestine’s Annemarie Jacir (“Salt of the Sea,” “When I Saw You”) will present “Wakib,” about an estranged father and son re-meeting in Nazareth. A dark comedy, it took the top prize at 2015’s Dubai Film Connection, a co-financing forum.

Mexico’s Nicolas Celis, producer of Alfonso Cuaron’s latest, “Roma,”will present Alana Simoes’ adoption tale “Mi hermano”; Canada’s Anne-Marie Gelinas, who produced SXSW Audience Award winner “Turbo Kid,” is one producer behind “Radius,” a high-concept curse mystery thriller, part of the Frontières works in progress showcase.

Goes to Cannes has a large rationale. As movie production levels still surge in many parts of the world – Mexico produced 162 movies in 2016, beating even its most prolific 1950s Golden Age highpoint years – the film industry needs ever more works-in-progress, competitive pix-in-post showcases offering prizes in services from local and regional companies, which also serve as a first promotion platform and filter for local productions.

Cannes Film Market’s pix-in-post series is also a win-win-win formula for festivals, the industry and Cannes alike, Paillard argued.

“For filmmakers, it’s a perfect two-stop combination. They have a first opportunity at a works in progress, often at a domestic or regional festival, to experience sometimes strong discussions with sellers and producers, then work again on their project, and then meet with a far larger international audience at Cannes, which is what we can offer,” Paillard said.

Goes To Festivals can give producers thinking of submitting their projects the chance to be in Cannes; being part of Goes To Cannes is  good for festival brands. Also, “Cannes’ Marché du Film likes to partner not compete with other festivals, sharing our passion and support for the best filmmakers and films,” he added.

Running May 19-24, “Goes to Cannes catches projects when they are sufficiently mature for sales agents to take an interest in them but not totally completed or with a festival and release strategy in place,” Paillard stated.

The show’s series also offers a panoply of cutting-edge trends, industrial and artistic, shaping world cinema.

Like the 2017 Cannes Festival at large, many titles register large contemporary issues: Immigration, poverty, economic crisis. But arthouse has splintered into multiple manifestation and genre blending, introducing mainstream tropes and often framing more personal narratives in pressing social contexts.

Susan Youssef, director of “Habibi,” a best Arab feature award winner at Dubai, returns with “Marjon and the Flying Headscarf.” An Arkansas-set coming of age story, it turns on a Muslim girl’s life after her father is arrested on dubious terrorism-related charges.

Presented by Thessaloniki, Christos Georgiou’s “Happy Birthday” pictures a Greece is social meltdown. It does so, however, through the story of a policeman who glimpses his daughter among demonstrators in a riot, and attempts to salvage their relationship.

Goes to Cannes boasts a strong line in documentary features, especially from Vilnius – many of the Baltic States’ great filmmakers work the form – and Mexico’s Los Cabos.

Of note, Latvian Ivars Seleckis will come to Cannes with “To Be Continued.” Shot over two years, it is a record of seven contrasting children’s growth, and the factors – social, political – which forge it. In “Sex Panchitos Punk, from Los Cabos, Mexican docu filmmaker Gustavo Gamou, who caught attention with “The Return of the Dead,” continues to explore the weight of a drug cartel past in Mexico, chronicling the emotional present of four former members of ‘80s’ criminal org, Los Panchitos.

Women make a strong showing in some showcases, particularly Dubai Goes to Cannes, accounting for four of its five projects. Some movies bring a distinctly feminine sensibility to scenes, such as “Absence” (pictured) directed by Chile’s Claudio Marcone and Liú Marino. Its love scenes adopt a majorly female gaze; while composition and light reflects Marino’s sensibility as a professional photographer.

Notably, too, there’s an uptick in genre, natural enough with the addition from 2016 of Frontieres, the Intl. Co-production Market of Montreal’s thriving Fantasia festival. But genre productions range from Fantasia offerings, such as supernatural thriller“Black Circle,” Adrian Bogliano’s anticipated Swedish-language debut, and zombi fable “The Dark,” to genre works in other showcases, such as a “My Demons Never Swore Solitude,” a claustrophobic Western with horror beats offered by Guadalajara, to the body transfer sci-fi of “Yesterday Wonder I Was,” from Los Cabos.

The 10 Festival presentations include many recent WIP winners. One, “Cocote,” from Dominican Republic’s Nelson Carlo dos Santos, the joint winner at this month’s IFF Panama’s 3rd Primera Mirada, turns on a devout protestant gardener who return to his village to bury his father. There he is forced to practice pagan rights and avenge his father’s murder. It is a telling example of the glocalism of current world cinema.



“Even Mices Belong in Heaven,” (Denisa Grimmová, Jan Bubenicek, Czech Republic, France, Germany)

“Nuna: The Last Myth of the Wamani,” (Jimy Carhuas Tintaya, Peru)

“Nimuendajú,” (Tania Anaya, Brazil)

“Tito and the Birds,” (Gustavo Steinberg, Brazil)

“Memoirs of a Man in Pajamas,” (Carlos Fernandez de Vigo, Spain)


“Echoes,” (Amikam Kovner, Assaf Snir, Israel)

“Omotenashi,” (Jay Chern, Taiwan, Japan)

“The Third Wife,” (Ash Mayfair, Vietnam)

“Village Rockstars,” (Rima Das, India)


“Sex Panchitos Punk,” (Gustavo Gamou, Mexico)

“The Second Coming,” (Miguel Calderón, Mexico)

“My Brother,” (Alana Simões, Mexico)

“Yesterday Wonder I Was,” (Gabriel Mariño, Mexico)


“Black Circle,” (Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Sweden, Finland, UK, US, Mexico)

“The Dark,” (Justin P Lange, Klemens Hufnagl, Austria, Canada)

“Radius,” (Caroline Labrèche, Steeve Léonard, Canada)

“Ravenous,” (Robin Aubert, Canada)


“Juan and Vanessa,” (Ianis Guerrero, Mexico)

“Absence,” (Claudio Marcone, Liú Marino, Chile)

“Infection,” (Flavio Pedota, Venezuela)

“Mi mundial,” (Carlos Morelli, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil)

“My demons never swore solitude,” (Jorge Leyva Robles, Mexico)

“Wind traces,” (Jimena Montemayor, Mexico)


“A Long Day,” (Pavol Pekarcik, Slovakia)

“To Be Continued,” (Ivars Seleckis, Latvia)

“Baltic New Wave,” (Audrius Stonys, Kristine Briede, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia)

“Falling,” (Marina Stepanska, Ukraine)


“Joint Possession,” (Leila Kilani, Morocco, France, United Arab Emirates)

“Marjoun and the Flying Headscarf,” (Susan Youssef, Lebanon, Netherlands, United States, United Arab Emirates, Qatar)

“Poisonous Roses,” (Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, Egypt, France)

“Until the End of Time,” (Yasmine Chouikh, Algeria, United Arab Emirates)

“Wajib,” (Annemarie Jacir, Palestine, France, Norway, Colombia)


“Diagnosis,” (Ewa Podgórska, Poland)

“Kill It And Leave This Town,” (Mariusz Wilczyński, Poland)

“Speedway,” (Dorota Kędzierzawska, Poland)

“Thrice Falls the Saint,” (Jacek Januszyk, Poland)

“Tower. A Bright Day;” (Jagoda Szelc, Poland)


“ΛΠ,” (Cristo Petrou, Greece)

“Dolphin Man,” (Lefteris Haritos, Greece, France, Canada, Japan, Italy)

“Polixeny,” (Dora Masklavanou, Greece)

“Virus,” (Angelos Frantzis, Greece, France, Latvia)

“Happy Birthday,” (Christos Georgiou, Greece, France, Cyprus, Germany)


“Cocote,” (Nelson Carlo De Los Santos, Dominican Republic)