Thessaloniki’s Agora reveals its winners
- A handful of awards have been bestowed upon the participating projects in the Crossroads and Works in Progress sections
Agora, the industry section of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, has wrapped its latest, digital edition by handing out its awards, which were announced online on 13 November. Starting with the 16th Crossroads Co-Production Forum, the jury, comprising Anamaria Antoci, producer at Tangaj Production (Romania); Milan Stojanović, producer at Sense Production (Serbia); and Katarina Tomkova, producer at kaleidoscope (Slovakia) and consultant at the MIDPOINT Institute, picked the winner of the Co-Production Award provided by Greek post-production company 2|35, which ended up being 20,000 Species of Bees by Estibaliz Urresola.
The feature-length fiction debut by the Basque writer-director was selected for “the exceptional directorial vision of a fragile universe composed of sensations of nature, as experienced by a transgender girl while her family matures towards acceptance; it is a subject we feel is immensely important to offer this award to.” The project is being produced by Lara Izagirre for Spain’s Gariza Films, and is looking for co-producers, distributors and a sales agent. The project also received a full scholarship for the next MFI Script 2 Film Workshop.
The CNC Award, worth €8,000 for script development, went to the Lebanese-French project Birthday, a feature debut written and directed by Lara Zeidan. The story is set in Beirut during the May 2008 conflicts. As teenager Razan is planning her 14th birthday party, everything is turned on its head by gun battles around the city. The compelling personal project is “supported by a convincing artistic vision and presented by a team of filmmakers with outstanding synergy”. It is being produced by Séverine Tibi and Anaïs Calmels (Sevana Films), and is looking for co-producers, partners and financing.
A new award was introduced by Greece’s Finos Film, aiming to support the local industry with a grant of €3,000. This went to They Come Out of Margo, the new project by Greek writer-director Alexandros Voulgaris (Winona [+see also:
film profile]), for “a provocative story that whisks the audience away on a journey through different film genres, told by a unique cinematic voice, with a style that is very personal and peculiar to the film project.” It is being produced by Eleni Bertes (LOGLINE).
Moreover, Turkish producer Güneş Şekeroğlu (Hay Film) received the Producers Network accreditation for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, in her capacity as a producer on Kriegsaugsgabe, the sophomore project by Tarik Aktaş (Dead Horse Nebula [+see also:
As for the parallel awards, Takotsubo, the debut feature by Israeli writer-director Miki Polonski, received the €6,000 ARTE Kino International Prize and was also selected for Sofia Meetings. French consultancy firm Initiative Film will offer its services to Elina Fessa’s debut project, Retiro. Dimitris Tsakaleas, of Greek production house Argonauts Productions, who participated with Zacharias Mavroeidis’ The Summer with Carmen, is invited to participate in the 2021 EAVE Marketing Workshop. Finally, the ASTERISK* Award for packaging and project marketing strategy went to Once Upon a Time in Tripoli by Abdullah Al-Ghaly.
In Agora Works in Progress, the Eurimages Lab Project Award, worth €50,000, went to the experimental project Tracking Satyrs by the MML Collective, composed of three writer-directors-visual artists, Michał Mądracki, Maciej Mądracki and Gilles Lepore. It is being produced by Beata Rzeźniczek (Madants) in co-production with Pierre-Alain Meier (Prince Film). The jury’s justification was that it is “a daring adaptation of Sophocles’ myth that gracefully blends silence with a striking black-and-white cinematography, offering us a contemporary view of our society”.
The Graal Award, for image post-production, went to Rock Bottom Riser, by Fern Silva, “a mesmerising, sensorial cinematographic experience, which invites us to connect with nature and the need for discovering new worlds”. The MuSou Award, for composition and production of an original film score, music supervision and assistance in the licensing of commercial music for use in the film, as well as audio post-production services, was granted to Musa, “a vibrant, intimate project that deals with love in an unorthodox way, blending dream and reality”. It is being directed by Greek helmer Nikos Nikolopoulos (Polk), and produced by the director and Artemis Zervou.
Finally, the new ERT Award, valued at €2,000, was bestowed upon 18 by Vasilis Douvlis, for “approaching the unsettling issue of the far right rising among the youth, set in a working-class neighbourhood of Athens”.
Here is the complete list of award winners:
Crossroads Co-Production Forum Awards
2|35 Co-Production Award
20,000 Species of Bees - Estibaliz Urresola (Spain)
Producer: Lara Izagirre (Gariza Films)
CNC Development Award
Birthday - Lara Zeidan (Lebanon/France)
Producers: Séverine Tibi, Anaïs Calmels (Sevana Films)
Finos Film Award
They Come Out of Margo - Alexandros Voulgaris (Greece)
Producer: Eleni Bertes (LOGLINE)
Cannes Producers Network Award
Güneş Şekeroğlu - Hay Film (Turkey)
ARTE Kino International Prize
Takotsubo - Miki Polonski (Israel/France)
Producer: Shira Hochman (MINA Films)
Co-producer: Janja Kralj (Kinoelektron)
MFI Script 2 Film Workshops
20,000 Species of Bees - Estibaliz Urresola
Initiative Film Award
Retiro - Elina Fessa (Greece)
Producer: Vasilis Chrysanthopoulos (PLAYS2PLACE)
Thessaloniki EAVE Marketing Workshop Scholarship
Dimitris Tsakaleas - Argonauts Productions (Greece)
Once Upon a Time in Tripoli - Abdullah Al-Ghaly (Libya/Egypt)
Producer: Miftah Saeid (Cyrene Productions/Hassala Films)
Sofia Meetings Project Selection
Takotsubo - Miki Polonski
Agora Works in Progress Awards
Graal Post-Production Award
Rock Bottom Riser - Fern Silva (Portugal/USA/Greece)
Producer: Fern Silva
Musa - Nikos Nikolopoulos (Greece)
Producers: Nikos Nikolopoulos, Artemis Zervou
18 - Vasilis Douvlis (Greece)
Producer: Panagiotis Kakavias (Kfilms), Katerina Beliyianni (Kabel)
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