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ECAM Pacts With Torino, Rotterdam on First Incubator Projects

Part of The Screen, the Incubator represents a pioneering film school development initiative

MADRID — In a pioneering move, the ECAM Madrid Film School has sealed pacts for movie projects from its startup The Incubator development program to be presented at the Rotterdam Lab and the Torino Film Lab.

The agreements sees up-to-three titles from The Incubator’s first tranche of five feature projects being pitched at next November’s Torino Film Lab Meeting Event, global co-production forum with a special emphasis on up-and-coming directors, and one title presented at the January 2019 Rotterdam Lab, a five-day workshop for emerging producers.   The pacts mark the first international outreach deals at the ECAM’s Incubator, launched last month in a pioneering move by a film school to move into real-life feature film project development of five titles. Development initiatives are now common at film festivals – such as indeed Torino and Rotterdam, as Sundance and Tribeca. Their proposing partners are, however, for the most part national or regional state-run film agencies.

ECAM may have to look as far as Mexico City’s CCC to find another film school currently actively involved in film development. One of Spain’s three most prestigious film schools, in an indication of the ambition and depth of talent behind The Incubator, the development initiative is backed by recent Spanish Academy Goya Best Picture Award winners such as directors Alberto Rodriguez (“Marshland”) and Enrique Urbizu (“No Rest For the Wicked”), as well as Mar Coll (“Three Days with the Family”), one of Spain’s most promising women directors, who will mentor the first five winning feature film project applications to The Incubator on direction.

Production mentorship will be supplied by eminent Spanish producers such as Gonzalo Salazar-Simpson (“Spanish Affair”), Koldo Zazua (“Handia”) Mediapro’s Marisa Fernández Armenteros (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) and Movistar +’s Susana Herreras (“The Plague,” “The Zone”). Gemma Vidal has been appointed The Incubator program manager. Salazar Simpson also serves as director of ECAM.

Scribes Diego San José (“Spanish Affair”) and Valentina Viso (“María (and Everyone Else)”) will advise the five winning applicants on their screenplays.

The Incubator will also count on the participation of representatives of the E.U.’s Media Program, Eurimages and Ibermedia, Amsterdam’s IDFA fest, and sales companies such as Visit Films and Rise and Shine World Sales.

One aim of The Incubator, which will run from March through July, is to support projects’ search for finance, co-production and distribution.

Open to all producers, directors and screenwriters residing in Spain, not just ECAM alumni, The Incubator will accept, in its first edition at least, all kinds of features: Fiction, documentaries, animation, transmedia, said Salazar-Simpson. It will study whether to open up to TV production in subsequent editions, he added.

The Incubator’s call for submissions closes next Monday. Chosen by an independent jury, the winning projects will also receive €10,000 ($11,700) in development coin from the ECAM. The Incubator is a flagship project at ECAM’s new The Screen, an umbrella brand aimed as a bridge between ECAM and Europe’s film and TV industries.  Further initiatives include Co-working, which offers a 300 square-meter co-working space to ECAM students and alumni which can accommodate up to 90 people, with two meeting rooms.

“The Screen delivers an reply to two fundamental ECAM aims from years back: Accelerating Spanish feature production; abbreviating the workforce insertion of film-TV professionals from the conclusion of their studies through to senior industry positions,” Salazar Simpson has said.

The Incubator will target emerging talent, he added, acting as “a bridge between a project not getting made and becoming a viable industry proposition.”

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