REPORT: Cinemed Meetings 2019
- We look at the projects selected for the 29th edition of Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival’s Development Aid Scholarship
The three-day professional event – Cinemed Meetings – organised as part of the 41st Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival kicks off tomorrow Tuesday 22 October (read the news and interview with Christophe Leparc).
Of note in this year’s programme is the 29th edition of the Development Aid Scholarship, which has supported 97 feature film projects since 1991. This year, the 15 selected fiction projects will be presented by their directors and producers to a jury of four professionals headed by Jacques Bidou (JBA) who will be supported by Alexandra Speciale from Italy (consultant for the Venice Film Festival where she also directs the Work-in-Progress Final Cut), Marion Tharaud (Haut et Court) and international salesman Hedi Zardi (Luxbox). Two Development Aid Scholarships will be awarded, with support from the CNC and the Occitanie/Pyrénées Mediterranean region, and associated with technical funds (provided by Saraband, Mikros, French Kiss et Titra Films) or writing residencies (Moulin d'Andé-Céci, Mediterranean Film Institute).
It is worth highlighting that this year’s professional event also includes the 5th edition of the "From short to feature film" workshop (eight first-feature projects directed by filmmakers with a short film in competition at Montpellier this year, which will be judged by a jury, with a writing residency up for grabs), individual meetings between project leaders and professionals at Montpellier, the 4rd edition of "Talents en court," the 2019 Factory (in partnership with the Directors’ Fortnight), and Film In the Making (a focus on the production of Mathieu Amalric’s Serre-moi fort by Les Films du Poisson).
Projects vying for the Development Aid Scholarship include:
L’Argentine - Jean-Baptiste Dusséaux (France)
Production: Carole Chassaing for Tamara Films
Oceane is a professional soccer player at Olympique de Marseille, but she has never managed to join the French national team. When her club hires Fanny, a young and talented forward, Océane's certainties are put to the test.
Azur - Stratis Chatzielenoudas (Greece)
Production: Ionna Peteinaraki for Moving Rooster Productions
40-year-old Louisa has just been released from prison. She wants to live a normal life and starts working a new job at the port, delivering lost luggage to their owners with her van. Her boredom is interrupted when she meets Azor, a 9-year-old Syrian refugee. They become friends and Azor helps Louisa deliver the lost luggage.
Commedia - Myriam El Hajj (Lebanon)
Production: Myriam Sassine for Abbout Productions
Paris, 2018. Nour, a Lebanese comedian, returns home to her country following the arrest of her father, a politician who has committed a bomb attack. Determined to understand his mysterious act, Nour begins her own investigation in a country ravaged by corruption.
La cosméticienne - Sharon Engelhart (Israel)
Production: Kobi Mizrahi for KM Productions
Bat Sheva, a single mother of three girls, struggles to survive and raise her children. Without alimony, she is forced to work two jobs. Fired from the textile factory where she works, she will travel 200km on foot, unable to even afford bus fare, accompanied by her eldest daughter, on the roads of Israel, where she hopes to ask some questions to the Prime Minister...
Empieza el baile - Marina Seresesky (Spain/Argentina)
Production: Alvaro Lavin for Meridional Producciones
Carlos and Margarita were the most famous tango couple of their time. Today, Carlos lives in Madrid, enjoying the second opportunity that life has given him, while Margarita lives in Buenos Aires in poverty and oblivion, but with that sly and rogue humor that has always characterized her. Together with their inseparable friend Pichuquito, they set off on a journey in search of answers, where they will find themselves face to face with a past they have so long tried to escape, but also with life in its purest form…
L’effet Sabatier - Eleonora Veninova (North Macedonia)
Production: Goce Kralevski for DNF Films
A troubled teenager disturbs the fragile balance of a married couple when she moves in to stay with them for couple of days.
En construction - Nadim Tabet (Lebanon)
Production: Georges Schoucair for Schortcut Films
At a construction site in the middle of a forest, Syrian workers are disappearing without explanation. The workers suspect Lebanese villagers, while Tarek wonders if the site might not be haunted by a woman, murdered because of a love story.
Excursion - Una Gunjak (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia/Serbia)
Production: Amra Baksic Camo for SCCA/pro.ba
Based on a true scandal that shook Bosnia and Herzegovina some years ago. Seven girls from a small Bosnian town, aged between 14 and 15 years old, come home pregnant after a five-day school excursion in Sarajevo. But as the scandal takes on international proportions, the Pandora's box of the students’ sexuality is opened, revealing the nature of the environment they live in.
Good Girl - Urska Djukic (Slovania)
Production: Marina Gumzi for Nosorogi
Sensible 15-year-old Lucija enters the prominent Ljubljana's Catholic high-school. If she finishes the first year and meets her mother's expectations, she will be awarded holidays at her aunt’s in Paris. But her growing body and impulses interfere.
Lumière noire - Karim Bensalah (France)
Production: Oualid Baha for Tact Production
Soufian is Algerian and had an easy life growing abroad as the son of a former diplomat. Now based in France for his studies, and hoping for a promising career as a diplomat himself, he is suddenly the victim of an administrative decision and becomes an illegal migrant. In order to quickly legalise his situation, he finds a temporary job in a Muslim funeral home. At a loss and confused about his identity, Soufian will find that being in the presence of the dead will show him a luminous path in his life...
Maïssa - Léa Triboulet (France)
After leaving their native Morocco, Maïssa (6) and her young mother, Nadia (23), have been living for a couple of months now in a small coastal town in southern France. While her mother is struggling with the harshness of her new job as a sea urchin fisherwoman with her boss Anna, Maïssa takes refuge in her imaginary friends. Feeling like she is a burden to Nadia, Maïssa decides to return home despite her fear of the sea.
Pearl Tears - Levon Minasian (France/Armenia)
Production: Marc Bordure for Agat Films & Cie
Mariam, a young and talented musician, is forced to emigrate from Armenia due to economic difficulties, which will end her passion — music. She will have to fight and to risk losing everything in order to remain true to her dream. She has youth, insolence and the beauty of her music on her side.
La Petite Fille, le Poisson et le Pistolet - Slimane Bounia (France)
Production: Jérémie Chevret for Duno Films
On the trail of a mystical fish, from the Kabyle Mountains to the outlying neighbourhoods of Lyon, The Girl, the Grouper, and the Gun tells the stories of Lounès, Leïla and Lamri, all of them connected by a tragedy dating back to the Algerian War.
Souvenir - Thanos Psichogios (Greece/Romania/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Production: Nancy Kokolaki for Bad Crowd
It's off-season on a small Greek island. Teenagers Fanny and Katia murder an old man, shaking up the isolated and conservative community.
Un couple heureux - Hicham Lasri (Morocco/France)
Production: Lamia Chraibi for LaProd
Between squeaky black comedy, psychological thriller and radiography of a social and economic apocalypse, this is the story of the descent into hell of a normal couple who see their love threatened by an obsession: to kill Salman Rushdie.
"From short to feature film" projects:
L’Algérie c’est beau comme l’Amérique - Karim Bengana (Algeria/France)
Production: Bang Bang Réalisation and KG Productions
March 2019. In Algeria, protests are breaking out all over the country. Olivia, the granddaughter of colonial settlers, sets off to visit the old family farm. Djaffar, the son of a freedom fighter, is charged with accompanying her. Somewhere between Algiers and the Aures, while bickering over the complexity of Franco-Algerian relations, Olivia and Djaffar reconsider the links that bind them to a country swept by the winds of change.
Black Gold - Sauve qui peut - Alfredo Florillo (Italy)
Production: L’Age d’or
Wouldn’t you like to pull off the scam of the century? Especially if you happened to be an expert in finance without any morals! You have money and power, you know the right people, and you get a kick out of taking risks... not everyone is so lucky! But what will happen if you bet on the wrong horse, or if you deliberately bet on the wrong horse to hasten its defeat. And what if that horse actually turns out to be a real winner, and throws all your carefully schemed plans out the window! A heady tour of Europe, meeting different cultures each with their own strengths and weaknesses; original, fun characters expressing themselves in a vibrant whirl of foreign languages. This exhilarating adventure takes us on the trail of some of the biggest ever scams... and the roles we all play in them!
Glory B - Konstantinos Antonopoulos (Greece)
Production: Fani Skartouli
Aegean Sea, 703AC. A shipwrecked convict, trapped in a pillory (wooden plank with three holes that clasp his hands and head), floats amid the waves. He is Justinian II, a dethroned Emperor, punished by nose mutilation, survivor of the sunken "Glory B". The current washes him onto a beach. Unable to break out of his pillory, Justinian digs a grave with his feet and lies inside, waiting for his death. He wakes in the hands of another pilloried castaway from the same ship, who attempts to eat Justinian, assuming he's already dead.
Love Bites - Erenik Beqiri (France)
Production: Olivier Berlemont and Emilie Dubois for Origine Films
Tirana is in total chaos, the protests keep growing and soon Tom and Anna will have to move. They have been together for over two years, keeping their love hidden. Today they want to make it official and reveal it to Tom's father. How can they explain to him that Anna, like all the members of her multi-cultural family, needs blood to survive and cannot endure the daylight? Among the social storm, their relationship takes a furious spin that demands sacrifices.
Nature morte - Nitzan Rozen (Israel)
The world has come to an end. Yoav has left. Hadas, his student, his lover, is left in solitude after the failure of their affair. Inspired by Ali, a religious Palestinian Muslim construction-worker who works near her house, Hadas builds her self-image as a martyr. The larger the sacrifice, the better the reward. Only the strong get up on their feet. A terror attack in Tel Aviv, in which Ali may or may not be involved, drives her to demonstrate her own devotion. She too, is a Jihadist, in her own private religion: love.
Retour à la nuit - Loïc Barché (France)
Production: Punchline Cinéma
At age 35, Thomas returns to his childhood village to defend a nuclear waste disposal project. For him, this is also a trip back in time. There he will find his father, his best buddy from childhood and his teenage sweetheart. But the arrival of Thomas will bring to the surface all the pent up emotions of a community with little faith in the future...
Something Like Happiness - Álvaro Gago Díaz (Spain)
Production: Ringo Media and Matriuska Produccións
Ramona is a woman in her forties who bears with difficulty her tense and precarious work and family life. She crosses paths with Xosé, a man in his sixties mourning the recent death of his wife. Their initially elusive relationship gives way to friendship, a transitory situation that helps Ramona find her place in her own world and allows her to think that there might be something new to live for.
Spray - Sherif El Bendary (Egypt)
Production: Sherif El Bendary
Dalia, a non veiled, liberal, middle-aged woman, challenges the norms of her bourgeois community in Egypt by dressing and behaving differently. She is married to a man she barely loves anymore and has a teenage son. Her life is turned upside down when she goes to work one morning and finds that the word “whore” has been sprayed on her car. This graffiti affects Dalia’s work, her marriage and her life in a neighborhood where she already has a bad reputation simply because she behaves differently from what is expected of her.
(Translated from French)
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