PARIS– Sharon Bar-Ziv’s “Love Your Neighbor,” the Israeli helmer’s follow up to “Room 514,” Simon Mesa Soto’s feature debut “Amparo” and Polish helmer Jan Komasa’s “Corpus Christi” were the highlights at the 4th Paris Coproduction Village which wrapped on Thursday.
Headed by Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin and Jeremy Zelnik, this edition of the Paris Coproduction Village showcased 12 projects in development looking for French and European co-producers, sales agents and financiers.
“Corpus Christi” turns on Daniel, a 20-year old man who comes out of a Youth Detention Center with the dream of becoming a priest. After facing rejection due to his troubled past, Daniel comes across a local Parish parish priest who suffers from alcoholism and needs his help.
Komasa is one of Poland’s best-known contemporary filmmakers. He previously directed the mini-series “Blood of the Blood,” and the critically-acclaimed films “Warsaw 44” and “Suicide Room.”
Citing “Warsaw 44,” Zelnik said Komasa was one of Poland’s rare directors making large-scale local films which are aimed at international audiences.
Anna Ciennik, who joined the Paris Coproduction Village this year as manager, pointed out that “Corpus Christi” was also backed by a well-established production company, Leszek Bodzak’s Aurum Film, the outfit behind Jan P. Matuszynski’s “The Last Family,” a film about legendary painter Zdzislaw Beksinski which won prizes at Locarno and Chicago, among other festivals.
Beside the pedigree of the filmmaker and producing team, Ciennik argued “Corpus Christi” sparked interest due to its philosophical themes. “It’s a film that questions faith, guilt and transgression and is set in a religious setting.”
“Love Your Neighbor,” which reteams Bar-Ziv with the leading actress of “Room 514,” centers on a young, struggling single mother who clashes with her Jewish-Orthodox neighbors.
The film is being developed by Transfax Films Productions, one of Israel’s top production outfits which produced Bar-Ziv’s thought-provoking “Room 514,” a micro-budgeted film that was shot in four days and played at a flurry of festivals, including Tribeca, where it won a special mention.
Bar-Ziv, who intends to shoot “Love Your Neighbor” in 14 days, said the project is meant to be a “realistic social drama” that “investigates the choices which Israeli women face in order to shape their lives.”
Meanwhile, “Amparo” marks the anticipated feature debut of Soto, whose thesis film “Leidi” won the Palme d’Or for a short film at Cannes in 2014, and second short “Madre,” played at the Cinefondation in Cannes in 2016.
Produced by Sweden’s Momento Film, Colombia’s Ocultimo Cine and Evidence Films, “Amparo” follows a single mother who sets off to protect her son from mandatory military service in war-torn Colombia, during the 90’s.
Soto said “Amparo” will tell the story of this “determined, yet submissive woman who embarks on a journey to (confront) a society ruled by men, corruption and war.”
As part as this year’s focus on Taiwan, Paris Coproduction Village also drew a spotlight on a new generation of Taiwanese talent. Three emerging filmmakers presented their projects at the Paris Coproduction Village: Show Chun Lee’s “A Chinese in the Trenches,” Hui-Chen Hunag’s “Loma – Our Home” and Rina Tsou’s “Raining Roses,” which turned out to be one of the most buzzed titles at the event.
“Raining Roses” is a coming-of-age story about a young NGO worker who travels to an island in the Philippines to aid a village decimated by a typhoon and meets a woman who lost her father in the disaster.
“Raining Roses” marks Tsou’s first film. Her previous short “Arnie” competed at Cannes’ Critics Week in 2016.
Fleurantin and Zelnik are also running Les Arcs’s Coproduction Village, the industry event taking place every December in the French Alps.
While Les Arcs is focused on European projects, the Paris Coproduction Village has a global scope. Out of the 12 projects presented at the three-day event, 9 are non-European films, noted Zelnik.
Since its launch in 2010, Les Arcs’s industry event has introduced a number of projects that went on to play at major festivals, notably Laszlo Nemes’s “Son of Saul,” winner of Cannes’s Grand Jury Prize and foreign-language Oscar, Grímur Hákonarson’s “Rams,” winner of Cannes’s Un Certain Regard. This year’s Directors’ Fortnight players “A Ciambra” by Jonas Carpignano and “I Am Not a Witch” by Rungano Nyoni, as well as “Dopo La Guerra,” which played at Un Certain Regard were also pitched at Les Arcs.