The Critics' Week's Next Step initiative announces the participants of its 9th instalment
- Seven young filmmakers are taking part in the programme organised by the Cannes autonomous programme which assists auteurs to make the leap to feature film
For the nineth year, the Critics’ Week team steered by Ava Cahen is repeating its Next Step programme (directed by Thomas Rosso), aimed at helping young filmmakers (who have previously been selected to compete in Cannes’ parallel section) make the transition from short films to feature films. It notably includes a workshop (which kicked off on Saturday for seven days in Moulin d’Andé, before it heads on to Paris), as well as a competition which will see one of the projects singled out in May on the Croisette (read our news about the 2022 victor, The Visitor by Vytautas Katkus).
Those selected in recent editions (which have supported 72 filmmakers, of which 42% were women, hailing from 35 countries) include Michael Borodin with Convenience Store [+see also:
interview: Michael Borodin
film profile] (gracing Berlin’s 2022 Panorama line-up), Cristèle Alves Meira with Alma Viva [+see also:
film profile] and Mikko Myllylahti with The Woodcutter Story [+see also:
interview: Mykko Myllylahti
film profile] (selected for Critics’ Week 2022), Valentina Maurel with I Have Electric Dreams [+see also:
interview: Valentina Maurel
film profile] (scooping Best Direction and both acting awards in Locarno), Isabella Carbonell with Dogborn [+see also:
interview: Isabella Carbonell
film profile] and Graham Foy with The Maiden (unveiled in Venice). And 12 feature films which have been developed within the Next Step programme are currently being shot or are in post-production.
Standing tall among this year’s seven selected few are four young European filmmakers: Portugal’s Sofia Bost, Greece’s Evi Kalogiropoulou and Manolis Mavris, and British director Joseph Pierce. The list also includes China’s Lin Tu and Hao Zhao, and Mexico’s Jorge Sistos Moreno. These various rising stars will benefit from screenplay, production and sales advice during their workshop, courtesy of Agathe Valentin, Olivier Barbier, Gabrielle Dumon, Fabio Grassadonia, Nadja Dumouchel, Mathieu Taponier, Philippe Barrière and Matthieu Darras.
The projects selected for Next Step 2022 are as follows:
I Don’t Know Where I’m Going – Sofia Bost
Production: Uma Pedra no Sapato (Portugal)
A coming-of- age story set in 1997 on the outskirts of Lisbon. Vera is a shy 10-year-old girl who dreams both of other horizons and the Backstreet Boys in equal measure. She’s being raised by her mother, Luisa, who’s been separated from Vera’s father since her daughter was born. When he comes back into their lives to invite Vera to spend the summer in his house in France, Vera must find her place and her voice between two conflicting parents, social classes and family narratives.
Cora – Evi Kalogiropoulou
Production: Neda Film (Greece), Blue Monday Productions (France), Lemming Film (Holland)
A dystopian drama set in an oil refinery in the uber-industrialized heartland of Greece, which tells the story of two working-class women, Maria and Eleni, who are fighting for their freedom and identity. In a devastated landscape where all the men patrol through the town armed, day and night, the Greek goddess and modern-day witch Maria, with all her free-flowing sensuality, proves an ever-greater threat.
Liar Man – Manolis Mavris
Production: 2AM (USA)
It’s the 1970s and we’re at a holiday resort on a private island for rich tourists. Clients bask in the sunshine whilst employees toil away. One of these employees - K, the concierge - meets an analyst who might well unearth a lie, buried deep in K’s subconscious, which could jeopardise his mental health and the balance of the island itself. Indeed, the facility is nothing but a reflection of K’s mind, with all its structures, its hemispheres, its dark corners and tempestuous psyche.
How The Dead Live – Joseph Pierce
Production: Melocoton (France)
Lily Bloom is taking forever to die. As cancer slowly consumes her, she observes the world around her through a half-conscious haze: the parade of doctors, her soliloquies on the world, visits from her daughters Natasha and Charlotte, two lost souls. As death eventually comes, Lily discovers that the great beyond is governed by exactly the same red-tape and demoralising taboos as her previous life. From this moment onwards, Lily dedicates herself to one sole purpose: getting back to the world of the living.
La Ausencia – Jorge Sistos Moreno
Production: Espejo Humeante Films (USA/Mexico)
Set in 18th century Mexico, we follow Elena, a young married woman, and her struggle with syphilis which she contracted from her husband, who has since left her. She manages to contain the spread of the disease thanks to her maid Teresa’s precious skills as a native healer. When her husband comes home without notice, Elena must contend with patriarchal violence and a religious inquisition in a society which sees her as a witch.
Suli – Lin Tu
Production: One’s Young (China)
Eva Chen is a young Chinese woman who’s just moved to a large city in Southeast Asia to become a teacher in an institution where male hostility reigns supreme. She tries to fit into this foreign land and her new work environment, harried by nightmares and the various rape cases making headlines. One evening, her long-lost friend Suli resurfaces. What happened to Suli and what could explain her silence all these years? And what is this presence which seems to be following Eva Chen around?
If I See a Rainbow – Hao Zhao
Production: Memoria Films (China/France)
Over the course of several years, we follow Qing Qhui - a lively thirty-year old woman trapped in a lifeless marriage on the outskirts of Shanghai - as she tries to free herself from her situation. Through flashbacks, we discover Qing Qhui’s family background and the desire she has had, ever since she was a little girl, to escape her family’s - and especially her mother’s - grip.
(Translated from French)
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