Six international producers talk about their buzzy CineMart projects | Features

CineMart, the co-production market of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is taking place online this week. Screen talks to six participating producers about their projects and what they hope to achieve at the event.

Marie Kjellson, Love #NoFilter

Sweden’s Marie Kjellson is the producer of Love #NoFilter, a through-provoking take on a romantic comedy, written and to be directed by Mikael Bundsen. It will explore the choices people make to be monogamous or polyamorous.

Having been a part of Rotterdam Producers Lab in 2012 and a CineMart attendee with Ruben Östlund’s Play and Force Majeure,, Kjellson knows what she’s looking for.

“Our goal is to connect with western European co-producing partners who would be interested in a creative collaboration as well as a financial one,” Kjellson says. That means companies interested in talent development and long-term collaborations.

With a budget of €982,000, the film has just shy of €200,000 in place in addition to development funding from the Swedish Film Institute, co-production development investment from Film i Väst and regional Swedish funding.

Kjellson is aiming to attach international sales and distribution partners with an eye for a young audience. “As the film features several YouTube and social media elements, we are really interested in unlocking the potential of social media marketing with this film and already have a couple of ideas,” she says.

The project is in late development through the producer’s Kjellson & Wik outfit. Bundsen and Kjellson have already begun casting and have identified potential candidates for the leading roles. Despite it being her first digital version of CineMart, she is confident it will be as efficient and fruitful as ever. “CineMart is an amazing platform and networking hub for all of our international meetings, it’s a one-stop-shop for all market needs,” Kjellson notes.

Giancarlo Nasi, Three Black Nights

Three Black Nights (three black nights), is Chilean producer Giancarlo Nasi’s second collaboration with Chilean-Spanish filmmaker Théo Court, following the Venice Silver Lion-winner White On White.

Written by Court, it is a murder mystery tale, detailing the story of a peasant farmer in Central Chile, a moonlit pact with the devil and a dead body.

The $1m project is being produced by Santiago-based Quijote Films with the Canary Islands outfit El Viaje Films.

“The film takes us back to Theo’s first feature film Sunset which premiered at the Rotterdam film festival a decade ago,” says Nasi. “Both films are inspired by Theo’s childhood and his intimate connection to his hometown.”

Nasi says they are taking a risk developing a script with strong genre elements from mystery and film noir. “We’re curious and excited to see what the market’s reaction is going to be.”

It is Nasi’s first time at CineMart having attended other co-production markets in Berlinale, L’Atelier in Cannes, San Sebastian, and Tallinn. For Three Black Nights, Nasi is aiming to secure worldwide partners to back further writing and research ahead of shooting in already identified locations in Chile.

“It’s been an amazing experience for us to know that in CineMart work is not exclusively focused on the market week,” says Nasi. “It has been an enriching chance to keep developing the project with professionals worldwide.”

Daniel Peck, mother of gold

Brazil’s Daniel Pech is taking part in CineMart for the first time with mother-and-son drama Mother Of Gold. It will be the second feature by Madiano Marcheti and is based on an original screenplay by Marcheti and Luis Cotinguiba. Budgeted at €850,000, Pech is spending early 2022

putting together the financing for the Portuguese-language feature in Brazil before he sets about applying to international film funds during the second semester of 2022.

He hopes CineMart will introduce him to potential co-producers. “[CineMart] is great label to have on the project to help it go to labs and receive funds,” says Pech, who is producing through his Multiverso Produções, with local co-production partner Terceira Margem.

“It feels like it is curated based more on the artistic qualities of the projects than on the market, which is great,” he says of being selected.

Marcheti’s film unfolds like a twisted fable, inspired by a Brazilian myth that lends its name to the film. Legend has it that a gleaming figure flies through the forest, avenging women who are abused by their husbands and attacking prospectors to protect the gold hidden in the rainforest.

The first draft of Mother of Gold picked up the main development prize of €5,500 at the international co-production meet Brazil CineMundi’s competition last year.

Marcheti’s debut Madeleine premiered in Competition at IFFR 2021 before winning best film at the International Istanbul Film Festival and screening at festivals including the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Rhea Rajcic, Leave the Door Open

Leave The Door Open is a $900,000 ensemble family drama, set entirely in an Ikea furniture store in Zagreb, written and to be directed by Judita Gamulin.

“Developing a feature film set entirely in an Ikea store with a fresh female director voice and being a producer based in Zagreb, Croatia, the heart of south-eastern Europe, makes you think you really need to team up properly,” says the film’s Croatian producer Rea Rajcic, who is producing through her film and TV outfit Eclectica.

With early backing from the Croatian Audiovisual Center (HAVC), Rajcic’s goal is to close the financing in 2023 and to shoot in 2024.

“We decided that the best possible closure of this phase would be to come to CineMart and to try to find partners preferably from Scandinavian countries together with a strong sales agent,” says Rajcic.

It is her first time at CineMart, having previously been a part of Rotterdam Lab in 2020.

“CineMart is a great opportunity to test our project in front of a really wide and international audience and to meet producers and other industry experts outside our regional ex-Yugoslavia circuit,” she explains. “It is precisely what we need for this high-concept project that is going to be a charming cinematic study of family relations set in a place that everybody around the world can relate to.”

Gamulin, who has worked extensively in the theatre, is also taking part in the Cannes’ Cinéfondation Résidence, after developing the script through First Films First by Goethe institute and MIDPOINT Feature Launch.

Adam Solomon, Sorella Di Closing

Sorella Di Closing, a feature project based on Liliana Pelici’s forthcoming novel The Longest Dream, tells the story of two women whose very different worlds collide in the aftermath of an accident at a music concert. Adapted for the screen by Ivana Mladenovic for her to direct, leading Romanian producer Solomon is introducing the €2m project at CineMart

“We are curious to see if we are able to transfer our passion and interest for this story to potential partners and the first-class attendees participating in CineMart,” says Solomon, who is producing with Diana Caravia.

Solomon knows her way around CineMart having attended a handful of times in different capacities – as an observer in the beginning, a participant several times and as a jury member in 2021.

“The encounters I had at CineMart, not only with potential partners for my projects, but also with other filmmakers made my start of the year more optimistic and passionate about the art and craft of moviemaking,” Solomon says.

Based in Romania, Solomon is producing the Romanian, Serbian and English language script through Bucharest based boutique collective microFILM.

Sorella Di Closing will mark actress, writer and director Mladenovic’s third feature following Soldiers. Story from Ferentari in 2017 and Ivana the Terrible, which won the special jury prize at Locarno in 2019.

Solomon’s most recent credits include Radu Jude’s Berlin Golden Bear winner Bad Luck Banging Or Loony Porn.

Yvette Tang, The Beautiful Normal

The Beautiful Normal is a psychological family drama set in Hong Kong, written and to be directed by veteran filmmaker Flora Lau. Produced by Hong Kong’s Neon Beam Films, Lau’s film will shoot in Chinese Cantonese and English.

Tang is attending CineMart for the second time in her career. Zooming in to the market will allow her to connect with “reliable and resourceful producers, distributors, sales, and other potential partners, who are also creative, fun and dedicated.”

The aim is to sign up majority financing for the €2.7m project which is in development. Tang and Lau hope “to bring this enjoyable yet meaningful project to the world together” with CineMart key to international ambitions.

“Flora Lau and I always enjoy working with international partners with similar mindsets,” says Tang.

Lau’s debut feature Bends made its world premiere in Cannes Un Certain Regard in 2013 before screening at festivals including Toronto, Busan, BFI London, Melbourne, Stockholm and Sao Paulo. She wrote, directed and produced her second feature Light starring Isabelle Huppert , Guo Xiao Dong and Huang Lu in 2016. That film shot in Paris, Chongqing and Hong Kong.

“CineMart has always been a resourceful platform that allows us to meet experienced mentors and industry contacts from different regions,” says Tang.

Tang notes CineMart is “especially precious when we need to seek, locate and confirm international partners for a project efficiently. It saves us a lot of time and effort from knocking on the wrong doors.”

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