Lukas Dhont’s “Girl,” a compelling Belgian project about a 15-year-old transgender girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina, scooped the TitraFilm Award at Les Arcs Film Festival’s work-in-progress section.
Produced by Belgium’s Menuet, Frakas Productions and the Netherlands’ Topkapi Films, “Girl” tells the tale of Lara, a teenage transgender girl whose life is dominated by taking hormone blockers and waiting for surgery. Lara dreams of becoming a ballerina, but dancing as a female proves more challenging than she thought. “Girl” also explores Lara’s complex relationship with her father.
“Girl” was one of 15 work-in-progress titles presented at the industry sidebar which is headed by Frederic Boyer, who is also the artistic director of Les Arcs and Tribeca festivals.
“‘Girl’ is a very unique film, telling us an exceptional story with a subtle, non-sentimental approach, and featuring a strong performance by an actor who clearly has a strong connection to the main character,” said the sidebar’s jury, which included Charles Tesson (artistic director of Cannes’ Critics’ Week), Elad Samorzik (director of the Jerusalem International Film Festival) and Tamara Tatishvili (Georgian representative of Eurimages).
As part of the TetraFilm Award, “Girl” will receive €10,000 of post-production services in image and/or sound.
Boyer said “Girl” received many offers from sales agents and interest from festival programmers following the presentation, which was attended by a record 150 industry participants, including execs from 30 international sales companies.
Andrea Caccia’s Italian project “Gold Is All There Is” won the Eurimages Lab Project Award, which comes with €50,000. The project, a coming-of-age crime story about a young boy who plays and gets lost in the wood, is produced by Italy’s Du- gong Films, France’s Picofilms and Switzerland’s Rough Cat.
The jury described “Gold Is All There Is” as a “sensitive visual narration, craftful mixing of genre and solid presence of a place.”
Speaking to Variety, Tesson applauded the quality and diversity of projects presented in the work-in-progress section, as well as its format.
“Since participants could only show eight minutes of their films rather than a rough cut meant that more projects could be presented compared with a regular work-in-progress section, and that also allowed for a greater diversity in terms of genre and nationalities,” said Tesson.
Tesson also said he was impressed by the large number of producers and distributors. “It’s a valuable, qualitative event for our industry, and it has a great timing for us,” said Tesson, who is currently looking at films for Cannes’ Critics’ Week.
Boyer, who selects projects alongside Jérémy Zelnik, the head of industry at Les Arcs, Anna Ciennik, the manager of the industry village, and Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin, the festival’s CEO, said the work-in-progress section reviewed a record 165 projects to come up with the final selection.