21-09-2013

connecting cottbus 2013: Eastern European Pitching Projects Between Slacker Comedy and Closeted Homosexuality

Cottbus, 19. September 2013 – This year will see the 15. edition of the East-West co-production market connecting cottbus, as usual held in parallel to the 23. FilmFestival Cottbus. On November 7 and 8, 140 participants will have the opportunity to present ideas for new feature films, initiate co-productions between Eastern and Western Europe and discuss current topics for the European film industry.

Since 1999, a total of 173 projects were pitched at connecting cottbus, about 60 of which have since been completed. This year alone, four films that were pitched in Cottbus have so far been presented in the competitions of international festivals: The Serbian-Croatian THE PRIEST’S CHILDREN and the Serbian-Swiss WITHERING could be seen at Karlovy Vary, while the Romanian ROXANNE was screened in Locarno and the Romanian-German WOLF in Sarajevo. Earlier well-known coco projects include Sergej Loznitsa’s MY JOY (Cannes 2010) and Srdan Golubovic’s THE TRAP (Berlinale 2007). Both films will be shown at the FilmFestival Cottbus as part of the anniversary series „15 Years of connecting cottbus“. Following the screenings, producers and supporters will provide insights into the production history of these films, i.e., all the work that goes into an international coproduction before it hits the screen. The third film in this series is the recently completed TANGERINES, an unusual tale of love and hate in the Caucasus on the background of a little-known chapter of Estonian-Georgian relations.

During the pitching on November 7, 13 projects from 11 countries will be presented to potential European co-production partners. One of them, the new project by last year’s winner of the FilmFestival Cottbus Grand Prize, Polish director Maria Sadowska, was already a given by winning the “Special Pitch Award“. With Oleg Sentsov‘s KAI, connecting cottbus will present the new project by one of the shooting stars of Ukrainian cinema whose current film “Rhino“ is being realized as a German-Ukrainian coproduction.  Jan Cvitkovic‘s Slovenian slacker comedy SISKA DE LUXE takes up the baton from his festival success “Gravehopping“ (2005). CITY OF BIRDS by Alena Alova is a timeless coming-of-age story among Russian-Jewish emigrants in an Italian small town of the 1980s. Serbian director Ognjen Glavonic explores the individual responsibility for the war crimes committed in the name of his nation in Kosovo with his film THE LOAD. Turkey is represented with two projects: BLOOD MONEY by Kıvanc Sezer and DETAILS OF A DREAM by Orhan Eskiköy and Özgür Dogan, whose earlier works “On the Way to School“ and “The Voice of My Father“ successfully toured the international festival circuit.  

The relationship between the individual and the family is a connecting link of this year’s projects, especially in extreme situations such as sickness, betrayal or economic difficulties. In different facets, this theme can be found in formally highly diverse film projects such as PIPELINE by Asif Rustamov (Aserbaidjan/Germany), Stelios Kammitsis‘ THE MAN WITH THE ANSWERS (Cyprus/Greece), Giedre Beinoriute’s BREATHING INTO MARBLE (Lithuania), Kuba Czekaj’s THE ERLPRINCE (Poland), Andrej Cretulescu’s SEVENTEEN SECONDS (Romania) or Blerta Zeqiri’s MARRIAGE. The latter, a director from Kosovo whose “The Return“  won the short movie award at Sundance two years ago, dares to inquire into the topic of homosexuality, mostly still taboo in her country of origin.  

Panel discussions and workshops about current themes and trends in the European film industry also are part of the program of the coproduction market led by Bernd Buder and Martina Bleis. This year’s focus is on financing options and the market situation for West-Eastern co-productions. In cooperation with the Torino Film Lab, connecting cottbus offers a workshop for audience design that will examine how producers can adapt their projects early on to the needs of their intended target audience. A second new partner is the Producers‘ Network, that within the context of the “Best Pitch Award“ will make available an accreditation for the Producers’ Network at the Marché du Film Cannes 2014. Every year, coco offers three monetary and in-kind prizes: the “Best Pitch Award“, selected by all participants, the “Post Pitch Award“ conferred by a jury of prominent industry representatives and the already mentioned “Special Pitch Award.

connecting cottbus is sustained by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH, the MEDIA Program of the European Union and MDM / Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung GmbH. Supporting partners are Universal Publishing Production Music GmbH, MEDIA Antenne Berlin Brandenburg, Moscow Business Square, ACE, CineLink Sarajevo, the Nipkow Programm Berlin, EAVE,  the Torino Film Lab, the Producers Network,  and the MAIA Workshops.

The coco Post Pitch Award 2013 is sponsored by The Post Republic.

connecting cottbus is organized by the FilmFestival Cottbus GmbH.

A full list of all pitching projects 2013 is available on our website:

www.connecting-cottbus.de

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