‘One Last Evening,’ ‘The Village Next to Paradise’ Win First Locarno Industry Awards

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Lukas Nathrath’s “One Last Evening,” an often excruciating tragedy-laced dramedy set around a couple’s farewell dinner for friends, won big at Locarno’s First Look on Sunday, scooping the Cinegrell First Look Award.

The award consists in €50,000 ($51,000) in post-production services from Cinegrell, a Switzerland and Germany based services house.

The biggest prize at this year’s Locarno Pro First Look, a pix-in-post showcase dedicated six new movies from Germany, went to a first feature which delivers a scathing portrait of a success-obsessed society whose members mostly don’t live up to their promise, especially in their own estimation. 

Sebastian Jakob Doppelbauer plays Clemens, a once budding singer-songwriter but now pitied depressive whose girlfriend is now shaping up as the partner with a future as an on-the-rise doctor. Clemens in contrast doesn’t do shit. 

Starting off afresh, moving from Hanover to Berlin, the couple stage a farewell dinner that spirals out of control, uncovering hidden fears, secret longings and life-lies.

After the pandemic, our feeling was ‘Let’s shoot something this summer,’” Nasrath told Variety. 

Nasrath, Doppelbauer and fellow producer Linus Günther at Klinkerfilm reached out to film funds, to no avail, but weren’t too unhappy about making the film on a shoestring since that way “no one would interfere,” they said after Sunday night’s awards ceremony. 

“We were hugely impressed by ‘One Last Evening,’ finding its storytelling rich and nuanced. The film took us on a real emotional journey and the strong ensemble cast contributed to wonderfully detailed characterisations,” said the First Look jury.  

Written by Nathrath and Doppelbauer, “One Last Evening” played well to an industry audience at First Look which unspooled over Aug. 5-7. 

Le Film Français Award, consisting in advertising services worth €5,600 ($5,712), went to “Arthur & Diana” by Sara Summa, produced by Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin. 

An alternative road movie seeing siblings Arthur and Diana, played by Summa and her brother, crossing Europe from Berlin to France to the South Tyrol, the film mixes a documentary edge and seeming fantasy, family dynamics, adult age fears and disillusionment and something of the excitement which Arthur remembers fondly from his childhood.

Milena Aboyan’s “Elaha,” a Kurd bride-to-be emancipation drama set in contemporary Germany, chronicles the seemingly hourly struggle of Elaha (Bayan Layla), the 22-daughter of a Kurd family, for even basic parcels of freedom. That battle is fought telling not against a hated enemy but the people she loves most: Her own family.

Kinescope, which produced with Essence Films, is in conversations with potential sales agents, “Elaha” producer . Janina Sara Hennemann said at te awards ceremony.

Meanwhile, at Alliance 4 Development, Locarno Pro co-development platform for film projects from Austria, Italy, France Germany and Switzerland, the Alphapanda Market Breakout Award went to “The Village Next to Paradise.” The Award consists of consultancy services to the value of €3,000 ($3,060).

Produced by Oliver Neumann (FreibeuterFilm, Austria) and Sabine Moser (FreibeuterFilm, Austria), the film project is directed by Mo Harawe. It follows a Somali family and their daily struggles over the course of one summer.

A highly-regarded short film director, Somalia-born Harawe plans to work with local non-professional actors. “I want to be part of the growing but still very small film infrastructure in Somalia,” he has noted.