VENICE PRODUCTION BRIDGE/From the Factory to the Competition

The Venice Production Bridge will open on 31st August. This is the market area of the Venice Film Festival with the Venice Gap-Financing Market and its 46 projects looking for funds for the last stages of development and funding.

In the meantime, in the Venezia 75 Competition, we find Mexico’s “The Accused” by Gonzalo Tobal, which was at the VGFM in 2016, and the Syrian “The Day I lost my Shadow” by Soudade Kaadan, a VGFM project from 2017 in competition in Orizzonti.
Plus one of the participants of the last edition of Final Cut in Venice, (the Venice Biennale project which since 2013 has contributed to supporting the completion of movies from all the African countries and from Jordan Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria) arrives at the Lido in Competition at Critics’ Week: “A Kasha”-(The Roundup), by Hajooj Kuka, a co-production between Sudan, South Africa, Qatar and Germany.

Another two co-productions with South Africa are the offspring of the Venice Production Bridge, two movies that last May passed through the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. “Rafiki” (Friend) by Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya – South Africa), another participant in the Venice Gap-Financing Market 2017 whilst “The Harvesters” by Etienne Kallos (South Africa – France), came instead from Final Cut in Venice 2017.

Another sign of an efficient selection process is the presence among the VGFM’s 25 feature film and documentary projects of the Lebanese film “All This Victory” (Lebanon, France, Germany) by Ahmad Ghossein, produced by Abbout Productions, which recently won the € 100,000 Work in Progress Award inside Eastern Promises, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival section dedicated to projects in development.
Another Italian company that has accumulated several project post-production awards is Marco Alessi’s Dugong which is attending the Venice Gap Financing Market with the only Italian documentary, “Tony Driver, un deportato al contrario” (Italy, Mexico) by Ascanio Petrini.

“Moreover,” points out Pascal Diot, director of the Venice Production Bridge “other works that have passed through us include “Touch me not” by Adina Pintille, Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale, “The Reports on Sarah and Saleem” by Muayad Alayan (Palestine, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico), winner of the special Audience award at the Rotterdam Festival, and “Funan”, the animation that won the Crystal Award, the main accolade of the Annecy Festival”.
And he adds: “What I really like about this year’s selection is that we have a good balance between new talents and quite well-known filmmakers such as Kyoshi Kurosawa (“To the Ends of the Earth”- Japan, Uzbekistan), David Wnendt (“The Sunlit Night” USA, Norway, Germany), Hannah Polak (director of the documentary “Angels of Sinjar” Poland-Germany) and Anca Damian (“Insula” – Romania and France)”.

The high priority commitment to virtual reality continues and is strengthened – another important bridge between market and festival: the 15 VR Storie Immersive projects (9 European and 6 non European, with 30% of the budget guaranteed) at the Venice Gap Financing Market are joined by the six VR projects developed during the Biennale College Cinema VR workshop, now in its second edition, that are in different stages of development, pre-production and post-production.

Then there are the three winning Biennale College VR projects (in all there were 9 participants), the production of which has been completed and which will be presented at the Film Festival in the Venice Virtual Reality section being hosted for the second time after last year’s great success on the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio and which, this time, will be is open to all the public, not just accredited persons. They are Italy’s “In the Cave” by Ivan Gergolet, produced by Antonio Giacomin, Argentina’s “x•4 Feet” directed by Damian Turkieh, Maria Belen Poncio, Gonzalo Sierra and produced by Ezequiel Lenardon, and France’s “VRtigo” directed by Marc Guidoni and produced by Joanna Szybist.
The 2017-2018 edition of the Biennale College Cinema and Biennale College – Cinema Virtual Reality, the two ‘educational sections’ of the market, received the support of Europa Creativa which was added to the contribution that the MEDIA program recognizes for the development of the Venice Production Bridge.

Backing virtual reality has resulted in the elimination of TV and web series projects from the VGFM also because, explains Diot, “we could only invite 5 of them and that wasn’t enough to attract a sufficient number of television producers.”
But the interest in television series remains high: “TV series festivals are becoming increasingly popular and we invited the director of Series Mania, Lawrence Etienne Berg to the debate “Creating the buzz around movies: festival and media after 2020”,where we will discuss the future of festivals and the support they can receive from MEDIA.”

Diot has also decided to revive the two events dedicated to independent exhibitors (which were held in the first two years of the market) ‘taking advantage’ of the annual training offered by the CICAE (International Confederation of Art Cinemas) on the island of San Servolo:
“There will be a panel on the morning of 1st September in the Spazio Incontri of the Hotel Excelsior, and Meet Independent Exhibitors, a networking section with distributors and international vendors. It will be a good opportunity for encounter seeing as often independent exhibitors cannot afford to attend a lot of festivals. There are a growing number of sales agents for independent films who do not find distributors but try in any case to get a release in various countries, even in only one cinema” .

The Book Adaptation Rights Market also returns with the presence of 23 publishers (there were 19 last year) who will be presenting their catalogue to producers, with whom – brand new for this year – they can then dialogue in one to one meetings.
Five are Italian: Dea Planeta, Feltrinelli, Nottetempo, Mauri Spagnol, Sellerio.

And special one to one meetings will also be organized between the projects selected and the professionals taking part in the Venice Production Bridge on 3rd September, the last day of the workshop.

Nella sezione: Focus on italy