COTTBUS: A larger venue, new programmes and an increase in coproduction funding initiatives opened the path to a 25% increase in attendance at the 18th edition of connecting cottbus (9-11 November, 2016), the East-West pitching forum that led the way in fostering coproduction between CEE territories. Some 200 professionals attended three days of meetings with producers and directors of 11 film projects.
Rebekka Garrido, the third director of coco, as the forum is affectionately called, told FNE, “This year, although we don’t have more money, we have a different set-up and can accommodate more people. We had a higher request for accreditations.” She added, “We have many first time participants this year, such as Edith Sepp (from the Estonian Film Institute)”
The market has also been adding new programmes. The cocoLab, which was launched in 2015, engendered an extra half day of meetings with over 18 experts, including sales agents, funders and producers, who advised the mostly young coco producers on the next stage in marketing their projects following their pitches. This year saw the addition of a new partnership with the script development workshop MIDPOINT, with one MIDPOINT project invited to sit in at coco as an out-of-competition project and one coco project receiving an invitation to the MIDPOINT programme.
“We want to work on strengthening our cooperation with other markets,” Garrido said.
An increase in applicants to coco was a result of a call for more genre projects and mainstream films, rather than the traditional arthouse focus. Other new focuses at coco include training young producers how to network, what to discuss and who to meet, and more emphasis on VOD and alternative distribution models.