Cannes’ Focus CoPro Puts First-Time Features Under the Spotlight

Co-pro pitching session takes stage as part of Short Film Corner

Five first feature projects will be pitched in front of industry professionals at Focus CoPro, a new event hosted by Cannes’ Short Film Corner that will take place May 17 at the Cannes Film Market.

The pitching session, which is run in collaboration with Nisi Masa, was established to fill a gap in the market, according to Short Film Corner head Camille Hébert-Bénazet.

“This is something that the festival is missing: Filmmakers who pitch their films,” she said. “This is one of the reasons we are doing this.”

Though the Short Film Corner in the past has been “very focused on beginners,” Hébert-Bénazet said the new pitching session will engage with “directors and producers at another level of creation and production.”

“We really have to be in each part of the creation process,” she said.

The pitches will be heard Thursday morning by a gathering of producers, film funds, institutions, distributors, sales agents and buyers from around the world. The five projects taking part include directors and producers whose short films have screened in international festivals, including Venice and Cannes.

Hébert-Bénazet said that while “the goal is to find [the projects] co-productions, or funding with institutions,” the pitching session still offers valuable experience for first-time directors and producers.

“Los Garcia,” by Spain’s Paco Nicolás, is a documentary about an elderly woman who discovers a cache of home videos and then challenges her grandson – the film’s director – to use them to recreate the past. Pic is Nicolás’ second documentary feature. Irene Mendez Andrés, of Mammut, is producing.

“Sabine,” by France’s Sylvain Robineau, is a comedy about a video store owner who tries to rekindle memories of his late wife by making movies addressed to her. Pic is produced by Olivier Chantriaux, of Filmo2, who produced 2016 Cannes selection “Le Silence,” by Farnoosh Samadi and Ali Asgari.

“Syzygy” is a Switzerland-Kosovo co-production, directed by Kosovo’s Fisnik Maxhuni. It’s the story of an exiled Kosovan who’s asked by his dying uncle to return home, where he reunites with his childhood love and begins a journey that will unearth his family’s deepest secrets. Britta Rindelaub, of Alva Film, is producing.

Directed by Switzerland’s Flurin Giger, “The Last Field,” is a historical drama about an aging peasant couple fending off death in a time of drought. Giger’s short, “Schächer,” world premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week this year. Pic is produced by Noah Bohnert, of Letterbox Collective Filmproduktion.

Set in 19th-century Patagonia, “Los Colonos” (The Settlers), by Chile’s Felipe Gálvez, shows how Chile’s West – or her, deep South – was won. A revisitionist Western which was a standout project at Mar del Plata’s LoboLab and last year’s Sanfic Santiago Lab, it turns on the story of three men on a campaign of violence whose consequences will be felt for years. Gálvez’s short, “Rapaz” (Raptor), premiered in Cannes’ Critics’ Week this year. Giancarlo Nasi is producing.

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