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CINEMED 2019 Cinemed Meetings / Awards

Lumière noire wins at Cinemed Meetings


- Karim Bensalah’s feature debut project wins the main Development Support Grant at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival

Lumière noire wins at Cinemed Meetings
Jurys and awards winners at the 2019 Cinemed Meetings (front row from left to right: Erenik Beqiri, Urska Djukic, Karim Bengana, Una Gunjak and Karim Bensalah) (© Eric Catarina)

After two days of pitching, the jury for the 29th edition of the Development Support Grant, handed out as an integral part of the 40th Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival chose to award the French project Lumière noire by Karim Bensalah. Son of an Algerian father and a Brazilian mother, the filmmaker, recognised for his short films (such as Le Secret de Fatima and Les Heures blanches) has written a script centred on Sofiane, son of a former Algerian diplomat who has always lived abroad. Now studying in Lyon, he is the victim of an administrative decision and lives under the threat of expulsion. In the hopes of legalising his situation, he decides to temporarily work for 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… Production will be handled by Oualid Baha for Tact Production (which is also working on the co-production The Mercy of the Jungle [+see also:
film review
interview: Joël Karekezi
film profile

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Handed out by a jury headed by Jacques Bidou (JBA) who was 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), this €8,000 development support grant is provided by the CNC and comes with an additional €5,000 in sound post-production services at Saraband and €5,000 for DCP services offered by Mikros.

The second grant, worth €4,000 and provided by the Occitanie region (plus €5,000 in technical post-production services at French Kiss Studio) went to Excursion by Una Gunjak (a production overseen by Amra Baksic Camo for Bosnian company SCCA/, in association with Croatia and Serbia). The idea for the film is 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, broadcast across the European media, takes on international proportions, the Pandora's box of the students’ sexuality is opened, revealing the nature of the environment they live in.

The jury also singled out Good Girl, the feature debut project from Slovenian director Urska Djukic (read our interview) which centres on Lucija, a sensible 15-year-old girl who enters the prominent Catholic high-school in Ljubljana. If she completes 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… The production of the film will be overseen by Marina Gumzi (who is also its co-writer) for Nosorogi.

Meanwhile, the jury of the 5th edition of the "From Short to Long" programme (open to the filmmakers taking part in the short-film competition in Montpellier who wish to start working on a feature-length project) handed out a writing residency offered by Méditalents to the French project Love Bites from Albanian director Erenik Beqiri (produced by Olivier Berlemont and Émilie Dubois for Origine Films). The script centres on the city of Tirana, in total chaos as the protests keep growing. Tom and Anna will soon have to move away. After hiding their love for two years, 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 this social storm, their relationship will take a furious spin and sacrifices will have to be made…

Finally, the jury of the "From Short to Long" programme has handed out two Special Mentions, to Spray from Egyptian director Sherif El Bendary, and to L’Algérie c’est beau comme l’Amérique by Karim Bengana (handled by Algerian company Bang Bang Réalisation and French company KG Productions).

Here is the complete list of winners:

Development Support Grant

Main Grant
Lumière noire - Karim Bensalah (France)

Second Development Support Grant
Excursion - Una Gunjak (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Croatia/Serbia)

Residency at the Moulin d’Andé Film Writing Centre
Good Girl - Urska Djukic (Slovenia)

"From Short to Long" programme

Méditalents Writing Residency
Love Bites - Erenik Beqiri (France)

Special Mentions
Spray - Sherif El Bendary (Egypt)
L'Algérie c'est beau comme l'Amérique – Karim Bengana (Algeria/France)

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(Translated from French)

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