As part of its major reboot this year, the International Filmfest Mannheim-Heidelberg (IFFMH) is launching the new Cutting Edge Talent Camp to support young filmmakers from Germany and help give them a boost onto the international stage.
The Talent Camp, which is taking place entirely online this year, offers workshops and roundtables in which participants will discuss the international market potential of their projects with film industry experts.
“The International Filmfestival Mannheim Heidelberg is a festival with a long tradition of supporting newcomers with their first works, like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Frederick Wiseman or Angela Schanelec, and the festival aims to do the same today for the young and future generations,” says Cutting Edge Talent Camp head Zsuzsi Bánkuti.
The initiative, which was introduced by new festival director Sascha Keilholz and head of program Frédéric Jaeger, is open to directors and producers who are studying or have studied at a German film or art school and whose debut or second feature films are at the financing, production or post-production stage.
Bánkuti, who previously worked as head of acquisitions at The Match Factory for eight years, says the program offers participants the opportunity to not only develop their projects but also the strategies to position the films internationally.
She adds that many young filmmakers don’t realize the international potential of their films and the Talent Camp aims to change that by helping participants improve networking possibilities and find the right sales and festival strategy.
While German filmmakers have opportunities to show their films in Germany’s many regional festivals, diminishing theatrical prospects for arthouse films in the country ultimately limit their exposure, Bánkuti explains. By expanding their scope internationally, filmmakers can reach wider audiences and also enhance their own careers by increasing financing possibilities, she notes.
Participants will meet international professionals who can look at their projects and provide feedback. “Of course, if it’s interesting for them, they can then go on and continue the discussion, whether it’s a sales company or a producer,” Bánkuti says.
“It is very much the first step,” she adds, noting that some early-stage projects will go on to development workshops or co-production markets, while works in progress can receive guidance on festival strategies and world sales partners.
She stresses that the Talent Camp is not about the individual projects, however, but about finding and presenting the next generation of talented filmmakers in Germany.
This year’s Talent Camp participants include eight directors and two producers:
• Henrika Kull, whose second feature, produced by Martin Heisler’s Berlin-based Flare Film, is in post. Kull’s first feature, the critically acclaimed relationship drama “Jibril,” premiered to rave reviews in the Berlinale’s Panorama section in 2018.
• Tamer Jandali is in development with his second feature, “Resistance,” loosely based on Joseph Konrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Jandali’s debut pic, “Easy Love,” unspooled last year in Berlin’s Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar and was picked up by Wide Management.
• Sara Summa, whose unsettling family drama “The Last to See Them” premiered in Berlin’s Forum section last year, is likewise working on her sophomore feature, a musical love story set in an isolated wintry town that is suddenly afflicted by a strange phenomenon.
• Roxana Richters, who is producing Summa’s new project, is also taking part in the Talent Camp with director Florian Hoffman’s first two features, “Whispers of War,” about a Kurdish teacher in Berlin forced to deal with the war in his Kurdish homeland, and “Time of the Monsters,” which follows a young nurse who, in 1914, emigrates to the German colony in Cameroon only to be confronted with unbearable violence.
• Borbála Nagy’s feature debut “Nothing to See Here,” which was selected for this year’s CineLink Co-Production Market in Sarajevo, centers on a small-town high school in Hungary, where a viral video making fun of the principal leads to far-reaching consequences for students and staff.
• Mariam Shatberashvili is producing writer-director Alexandre Koberidze’s work in progress, “Wind Has Blown,” a magical love story set in Kutaisi, Georgia.
• Zora Rux, who previously worked as a casting director for Roy Andersson, is in post production with her first feature, “Second Thoughts,” a surrealistic tale about a young woman struggling to answer her boyfriend’s marriage proposal.
• Eva Knopf is in development with “Movie Kintsugi,” a hybrid doc-feature about Kintsugi, the traditional Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, and the surviving fragments of a lost 1929 silent film by Yasujirô Ozu.
• Eva Hoffmann is also in early development with her first feature, “Fly on a Green Ice Cream,” a family drama about a mother who begins to lose her memory.
• Anna Roller’s debut feature, tentatively titled “Dead Girls Dancing,” follows a group of girls on the run after they flee a devastating car accident.
The Talent Camp is supported by Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM), and regional funder Media and Film Society Baden-Württemberg (MFG).