Les Arcs European Film Festival’s Industry Village Kicks Off With Strong Roster

“Echo,””The Orphanage,””Patrol Cars” and “Starve” are among the promising projects which will be presented at the 9th edition of Les Arcs European Film Festival’s industry village kicking off this weekend in the French Alps.

The Coproduction Village will showcase 21 European feature films in development which were selected from more than 220 applications received.

“Patrol Cars” from Stephan Komandarev, a critically-aclaimed Bulgarian director/producer/screenwriter, follows three teams of police officers patrolling the streets of a society losing all sense. Jeremy Zelnik, the head of industry at Les Arcs who works alongside Anna Ciennik, described the script as a “page-turner.”

Komandarev’s credits include “Posoki/Directions” which played at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard last year.

Rúnar Runarsson and Shahrbanoo Sadat, who last participated in Les Arcs’s industry village with “Sparrows” and “Wolf and Sheep,” respectively, will also be back with projects.

Runarsson will present “Echo,” an drama looking at Icelandic society. “Sparrow,” his second film, won a prize at San Sebastian and Les Arcs while his feature debut “Volcano” debuted at Directors Fortnight in Cannes 2011.

Sadat will be back with “Orphanage,” a historical drama following everyday life in an orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan, in the late 80’s. The film will center on a teenager who is arrested for illegally selling cinema tickets for Bollywood films and brought to the orphanage before escaping to Pakistan where the war started.

Sadat’s latest film “Wolf and Sheep” was presented at Les Arcs’s Work in Progress in 2015, the section spearheaded by Les Arcs and Tribeca’s artistic director Frederic Boyer, back in 2015 and won an award at Cannes’s Director’s Fortnight a year later.

“Starve” is from Magnus Von Horn, whose feature debut “The Here After” played at Cannes’s Director’s Fortnight in 2015. Mixing historical drama and fantasy, “Starve” centers on an isolated farming family during the last starvation in Sweden in 1867. The family’s oldest son believes he has caused the starvation because of a heinous sin he committed with the family cow and sets out on a journey for food and salvation.

Speaking to Variety, Jeremy Zelnik, the head of industry at Les Arcs, pointed out this year’s election of projects is diverse, both in terms of budgets (varying from 700,000 euros to 6.8 million euros) and geographic origins (spanning 15 European countries).

The Coproduction Village is also welcoming a flurry of newcomers — 14 first and second feature films; and eight out of the 21 projects are from female directors.

For the first time, the industry village is also merging its coproduction market with the French-German Rendez-Vous, the showcase organized by UniFrance, German Films, CNC and the FFA. 220 professionals have registered for the event.

One of the German projects presented as part of the section is Jochen Alexander Freydank’s “The Laundress,” a historical drama taking place right before the end of WWII, when a group of women rebelled against the national militia established by Nazi Germany. Freydank is best known for his short “Spielzeugland” which he won an Oscar in 2009. The project is budgeted at 3.5 million euros.

Zelnik said the idea with the Coproduction Village was to showcase projects that are director-driven and in some case also have a commercial appeal and high concept. He and his team are primarily looking for projects that have a strong script rather than focusing exclusively on the name of the director and producer.

Speaking about ambitious high-concept projects, Zelnik mentioned Arthur Harari’s “Fade,” a fantasy thriller budgeted at 6.5 million euros about a boy from Polish family of immigrant workers who discovers he has the ability to disappear like his uncle. Harari made his feature debut with “Dark Diamond,” a thriller which earned its lead actor Niels Schneider a Cesar award for best actor in 2017.

The Coproduction Village is welcoming a record number of sales companies, notably Playtime, Charades, Wild Bunch, Beta Films, PictureTree and Europe Film Sales.

Les Arcs European Film Festival is kicking off Saturday evening with Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin.” This year’s festival’s jury is presided by Andrea Arnold.

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