Les Arcs: Kormakur, Hajdu and Cipri at Work In Progress
by Fabien Lemercier
12/12/2011 - The first images from seven European features were unveiled yesterday at the new Work In Progress event organised by Les Arcs European Film Festival (December 10-17). About a hundred distributors, sellers and producers were there for a morning of diverse discoveries with films in post-production (or almost) from Italy, Iceland, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Slovakia and Norway, with their directors and producers in attendance.
Frédéric Boyer, artistic director of Les Arcs, introduced this new addition to the festival: "There are exciting Work in Progress events at Gothenburg, Sarajevo, Karlovy Vary, Haugesund and Thessaloniki. It’s really interesting to show films that haven’t usually got a distributor and seller yet, or need money for the editing and sound mixing... The selection includes different styles and budgets (from €2.5m to €300,000). We show the images and the Work In Progress discussions can continue for three days with the Co-production Village (see news) in order to talk about the film before the festival run which will begin for these titles with Cannes. Next year, we hope to do a whole day with a few more projects and a broader representation from across Europe."
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (Jar City [trailer]) was there with The Deep (Blue Eyes Productions and Filmhuset Produksjoner), a film based on the story of a man who became a local legend in 1984 after surviving a shipwreck and six hours in freezing cold water where people are supposed to die within 50 minutes. "It’s a sort of modern Icelandic saga" commented the director, "but I didn’t want to approach it from a heroic point of view, but on a human scale and also with the repercussions of this event around the main character. I’m here at Les Arcs to give the best chance to this highly ambitious Icelandic film which will be ready in January. It’s interesting to get some reactions and attract attention from sellers because even though discussions are already underway, no deal has yet been finalised."
Represented by its French co-producer Fabio Conversi (Babe Films), Italian feature E Stato Il Figlio by Daniele Cipri (DoP on Vincere [trailer, film focus] and co-director on The Return of Cagliostro, among others) looks set to be in the same vein as Ettore Scola’s Ugly, Dirty and Bad. Produced by Passione, the feature, which will be delivered at the start of 2012, stars the outstanding actor Toni Servillo.
Selected in the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2006 with White Palms and at the Berlinale Forum 2010 with Bibliothèque Pascal [trailer, film focus], Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu has, for his part, already shot half of The Gambler (see news) in Las Vegas. "As funding was completely frozen in Hungary, I seized an opportunity in Las Vegas. But the budget isn’t sufficient and we also need to find a good seller to get a slot at the good festivals", explained the director. "We have to stay positive" added the film’s producer Andrea Taschler (Mirage Film Studio; with Art Films and Filmpartners as co-producers), who hopes that the new Hungarian public funding system will be able to back the film.
Also present at the event, Slovakia’s Matyas Prikler showed a five-minute-long scene from his debut feature Fine, Thanks, the first part of which was his graduate film unveiled at Cannes in 2010 in the Cinéfondation selection. Produced by MPhilms and co-produced by Hungary’s Proton Cinema, the title has completed its first cut.
Kadija Leclere also presented her debut feature,The Bag of Flour, starring Hafsia Herzi and Hiam Abbas. Two five-minute-long scenes were shown from this film, produced by Belgian company La Cie Cinématographique Européenne and co-produced by France (Tchin Tchin Production) and Morocco.
Miguel Angel Jiménez’s second feature, Chaika, was also unveiled. It is a four-way co-production between Spain (
Finally, the Work in Progress event at Les Arcs Festival presented two five-minute clips from Where No One Lives by up-and-coming Norwegian helmer Iram Haq (selected for her short films at Venice and Sundance). According to its producer Maria Ekerhovd(Mer Mer Film - Producer on The Move 2011 – see interview), half of the film (the portrait of a woman against the backdrop of a love story) has already been shot. With the rest of the filming mainly financed, the post-production and access to festivals still need to be covered.
(Translated from French)