FNE at Cottbus: Connecting Cottbus Captures Funders’ Attention

Cathy Meils 2010-11-04

Connecting Cottbus (www.connecting-cottbus.de ), the leading pitching forum for films from Central and Eastern Europe, clicked with producers and film funding bodies at its 4 November 2010 presentation. "There is strong interest in the film projects this year," artistic director Gabrielle Brunnenmeyer told FNE. Georgian producer Tinatin Kajrishvili was especially successful with Flight Tbilisi-Tbilisi, which won the 3,000 euro best pitch prize.

The true story of an idealistic and nationally famous young couple who hijack a plane on their honeymoon created a buzz among potential production partners, and was a sign of the emerging strength of the Georgian film industry. Apple Film producer Dariusz Jablonski called it "extremely compelling," while m-appeal sales company noted the film's "international potential." Tamara Tatishvili, director of the Georgian National Film Center said she expected local audience support for the film. With a budget of 1 million euro, the film (now in development) expects to find half its funding in Georgia and is seeking coproducers, sales agents, and other funding sources. (Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

The Czech Republic scored a hit with its pitch for The Christmas Star, a modern fairytale produced by Cinemania and directed by noted actor Ivan Shvedoff. The 2 million euro "American style film with East European taste" plans international casting and hopes to shoot in either German or English. (Contact: www.cinemania.cz )

Another audience favorite Zero, a Hungarian/Czech/Dutch coproduction directed by Gyula Nemes, has nearly half its 1.8 million euro budget in place primarily through Hungarian funding. The quirky story of the frightening decline of the bee population will be filmed "in broken English" and employ documentary and mockumentary effects. (Contact: www.theplaytimefilm.com )

Romania again proved a powerhouse with Domestic from Romanian director Adrian Sitaru who began developing the film in 2007. The black comedy about three families connected by their family pets has 40% of its 850,000 euro budget in place and plans to begin filming in 2011. (Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Outside the CEE territories, the Israeli project Paradise and a French film set in Bulgaria, A Frenchman, were lining up interested investors.

Bulgarian producer/director Maya Vitkova presented a Brazilian set story, Gin Air, with a 900,000 euro budget. (Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

A rare Estonian/Georgian coproduction with a Hungarian partner, Tangerines is the story of the Estonian settlement in Abkhazia directed by Zaza Urushadze. The 775,000 euro production is still seeking 300,000 in funding to complete the film by the end of 2011. (Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

Hungarian producer Jeno Habermann has half of the 1.6 million euro budget in place for Muteness, a family drama directed by Jozsef Pacskovszky. (Contact: www.filmart.hu )

Slovakia pitched a 1.5 million story of broken hearts, We Will Meet in our Dreams, directed by Juraj Nvota and produced by Silvia Panakova of Arina. (Contact: www.arina.sk )

The remaining projects included two Serbian films, Worker's Sea (dir/prod Vladimir Perisic)and Withering (dir Milos Pusic); two Russian films, Under Electric Clouds (dir Alexey German jr.) and Not a Simple Story (prod Fedor Popov); and The Happiness for Two (dir Chingiz Rasulzade) from Azerbaijan.

Connecting Cottbus wraps 5 November 2010 with one-to-one meetings and a final farewell to Brunnenmeyer, who concludes her final year as the forum's artistic director.

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