Vacuum gets Best Pitch Award at coco
by Marta Bałaga
- Taking place entirely online this year, Connecting Cottbus announces its award winners
The 22nd edition of the Connecting Cottbus East-West Co-production Market, lovingly known as coco, announced the award winners of its two sections – feature films in development in cocoPITCH, and works in progress in cocoWIP.
“It was a true challenge to put this together with a team working mostly remotely. The lack of human contact was the harshest thing during coco, but we kept our motivation up by firmly holding on to the idea coco stands for: to promote Eastern European filmmakers, provide a familiar atmosphere for networking and create or sustain connections,” director Marjorie Bendeck told Cineuropa.
The Best Pitch Award, voted for online by attending industry participants, went to Yelizaveta Smith’s fiction debut Vacuum, centred on a daughter coming back to her hometown after her father goes missing and presented by the film’s director and by its producer Aleksandra Kostina from Bosonfilm. The award comes with a cash prize of €1,500 as well as with the Producers Network Award: a free accreditation to the Producers Network at the Marché du Film in Cannes 2021.
Igor Jelinović's Honey Bunny was given the Avanpost Pitch Packaging Award and in-kind services worth up to €15,000, which may include financing strategy consulting as well as production or post-production for a proof of concept, while the Croatian Audiovisual Centre presented the HAVC Project Development Award for the very first time: a cash award of €5,000 going towards the further development of one cocoPITCH project, Parade. Directed by Titas Laucius, the film will show a couple going through different stages of a Catholic divorce.
The MIDPOINT Consulting Award, providing script consultancy in two online sessions, also went to Honey Bunny, as well as Kiril's Luck (directed by Milena Andonova, produced by Katya Trichkova and Rali Ralchev of Contrast Films) and Waterdrop by Robert Budina. Finally, sponsored by German post-production studio D-Facto Motion, the D-Facto Motion WIP Award worth €35,000 in in-kind services plus €5,000 for additional expenses went to Stand by Me by Tamara Dondurey, produced by Katia Filippova (Pan-Atlantic Studio) from Russia.
“Seeing smiling faces on the screen, seeing the impressive amount of meetings requested and receiving specific feedback and thanks made it much worth it,” added Bendeck. “Our project participants were very grateful for the opportunity and this showed us how important the impact of our job as a co-production market is, and how important it is to keep connections alive in this situation. And even though first impressions are a challenge when online, we feel we created new connections and got close to our first-time guests, while catching up with colleagues from all over the region.”
This year's edition of connecting cottbus took place from 4 to 6 November, 2020. The dual version of FilmFestival Cottbus has been postponed to 8-13 December.
Here is the list of winners:
Best Pitch Award
Vacuum - Yelizaveta Smith (Ukraine)
Producer: Aleksandra Kostina (Bosonfilm)
Avanpost Pitch Packaging Award
Honey Bunny - Igor Jelinović (Croatia)
Producer: Rea Rajčić (Eclectica)
HAVC Project Development Award
Parade - Titas Laucius (Lithuania)
Producer: Klementina Remeikaite (afterschool production)
MIDPOINT Consulting Award
Kiril's Luck - Milena Andonova (Bulgaria)
Producers: Katya Trichkova and Rali Ralchev (Contrast Films)
Waterdrop - Robert Budina (Albania)
Producer: Sabina Kodra (Erafilm)
D-Facto Motion WIP Award
Stand by Me - Tamara Dondurey (Russia)
Producer: Katia Filippova (Pan-Atlantic Studio)
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