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REPORT: Alliance for Development, Locarno 2017

by Vassilis Economou

(© Festival del Film Locarno/Samuel Golay)

The Locarno Festival Industry Days initiative, Alliance for Development, wrapped up its third edition after running for the whole three-day period (4-6 August) as part of the industry section. As with previous editions, Alliance’s focus was to encourage projects that have received or are planning to apply for co-developing funds and co-productions in Switzerland, Italy, France or Germany. Through a series of one-on-one meetings, lectures, targeted panel discussions and networking sessions with specialised professionals, eleven projects were presented with the aim of improving cooperation between the national cinemas of each country. Lucas Rosant was the project coordinator for another year, with the programme being supported by MEDIA Desk Suisse, CNC, MiBACT and FFA.

The participants, the director and one of the attached producers were given the unique opportunity to present their projects in closed sessions, receiving consultations and suggestions from film experts looking for their next venture. The group panels were also offered the chance to introduce participants to professionals specialised in the sectors with which they are affiliated in all the production phases. The panels included the presentation of regional film funds (Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund – Italy, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg – Germany and Nouvelle Aquitaine – France), a meeting with casting directors, members of the International Casting Directors Network (ICDN) (Anja Dihrberg, Constance Demontoy, Corinna Glaus and Francesco Vedovati) and with regional sales agencies (Germany’s Picture Tree International, France’s Pyramide International and Italy’s Slingshot Films). A specialised session organised by Mathias Noschis (Alphapanda) was also exclusively dedicated to marketing strategies during the stages of development. 

The selected projects span a range of genres and subjects, extending from dramas and romantic comedies to animation and documentaries. The details of the projects presented during 2017 Alliance for Development are as follows:

Chroma by Jean-Laurent Chautems is a drama about the challenges of a couple with hypersensitive personalities. Produced by Xavier Grin (P.S. Productions) and supported by MEDIA Desk Suisse (Switzerland/Luxembourg/France).

Comic Book Souls is a romantic comedy about young people traveling for work and love written by cartoonist Roberto Gagnor, produced by Torsten Götz (Letterbox Filmproduktion GmbH), and supported by FFA and MiBACT (Germany/Italy).

Durendal follows the stories emerging in Sinai from a group of Israeli soldiers during the 1967 Six Days Warm and Erwin Rommel’s presence there during WWII. This is a transmedia project, which will include an animation feature film, a graphic novel, a novel, a web series and a videogame by Egidio Eronico. Produced by Andrea Stucovitz (Partner Media Investment) and supported by MiBACT/FFA (Italy).

Guitar Solo follows the almost autobiographical story of director Micha Lewinsky, who has to choose between his family and the potential to revive his music career. Produced by HC Vogel and Jessica Sonderegger (Plan B Film GmbH) and supported by MEDIA Desk Suisse (Switzerland/France/Germany).

In absentia by Matteo Bernardini blends the thriller and horror genres. The drama follows the story of a teenager who tries to discover who his father really was following his death. Produced by Daniele Segre and Daniele de Cicco (Redibis Film), supported by MiBACT/CNC (Italy/France).

L’Amour is Emma Rosa Simon’s docu-fictional film based on the tale of Romeo and Juliet and set in a notorious French neighbourhood. Produced by Eva Kemme (Basis Berlin Filmproduktion) and supported by FFA/CNC (Germany/France).

Linda Wants Chicken by Chiara Malta and Sébastien Laudenbach is an animated film for 5 to 8 year olds following a mother on the “hunt” for a chicken to cook for her daughter during a general strike. Produced by Marc Irmer (Dolce Vita Films) and supported by CNC/MiBACT (France/Italy).

My Kin by Gigi Roccati is a drama/thriller in which a young Frenchman of Arabic descent decides to fight with ISIS in order to find out who is responsible for the murder of his parents in Paris. Produced by Pilar Saavedra (Moliwood Films Srl) and Antoine de Clermont Tonnerre (MACT Productions) due to its presence at the Alliance for Development the film it's close to securing participation from Belgian producer Hubert Toint (Saga Film) and is supported by MiBACT/CNC (Italy/France).

The Divine Madman is a burlesque tale that follows the path of film-noir, blending romantic elements about a man who must escape being charged with a murder he didn’t commit and is based on the director, Nicola Sornaga’s Romanian and Italian childhood. The film was produced by Thomas Ordonneau (Shellac Sud) and is supported by CNC/MiBACT (France/Italy).

The Power of Silence is a documentary that explores the art and personality of Marcel Marceau by Maurizius Staerkle Drux, produced by Aline Schmid (Beauvoir Films) and supported by MEDIA Desk Suisse (Switzerland/Germany).

The Stray Cat aims to present the stories taking place in a small and secluded volcanic island when a group of five isolated characters arrives, presented through episodic narration. Set on the island of Stromboli, the story is written by Lissi Muschol, who is also the producer (Kabinett Filmproduktion), and Merle Vierck. The film is co-produced by Marco Alessi (Dugong Films) and supported by FFA/MiBACT (Germany/Italy).

Moons is a science fiction film by Karim Aïnouz about two men, a father and son, in a deserted city dealing with their memories that are buried in the heart of Germany. Produced by Marie-Pierre Macia and Claire Gadéa (MPM Film) and supported by CNC/FFA (France/Germany).

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