Virtual gets real: the title of the next edition of the European Film Forum, which will be held on September 3rd and 4 inside the Venice Production Bridge at the Venice Film Festival Market (August 31st –September 5th ) to explore the industrial and societal effects of virtual reality, could be a good definition for film markets in general (see The VPB Projects)
But the focus on virtual reality will animate more or less the whole edition of the market and the festival.
“We will have a section in the festival, Venice Virtual Reality, with a special jury, a VR theatre and a VR exhibition with all different products provided by companies like Rai and Sony that are open to the public”, explains the director of VPB, Pascal Diot.
“We have received around 70 projects, a sign that the competition is becoming tougher and tougher, and people are investing more money in this field”.
This is the second year that the market aimed at projects in the process of being made and in search of co-productions has been opened up to virtual reality and to web and TV series, this time even incorporating the Biennale College (the high level training laboratory directed towards up-and-coming filmmakers for the development and realization of micro-budget features) with the 7 projects developed during the first workshop held by Biennale College Cinema VR that are at different stages of development, pre-production and post-production.
“Virtual reality represents a new way of thinking that we decided to emphasize because last year traditional producers and distributors who went to see the VR projects came back to me totally amazed by this different approach.”
There will be a total of 17 virtual reality projects at the Gap Financing Market to which we should add 5 web and TV series from all over the world.
There is no trace of Italian film makers or producers in these sections (where- as there were last year), although they can be found amongst the 25 drama and documentary feature projects.
To be selected for the GFM, documentaries and feature length film projects must have at least 70% of the financing already in place: “most projects have difficulties finding the money for post-productions, this year we received more than 260 projects that were all eligible, we can say it’s a new trend that this market is trying to satisfy” continues Diot.
Inside the GFM the number of projects from non- European countries is also increasing, as well as the co-productions with more ‘difficult’ countries including Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Kenya: precisely those that Final Cut in Venice is aimed at, the program set up to provide support for the completion of films from all the African countries and from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
This year Final Cut in Venice will be offering the new Biennale Award for the value of € 5000 for the best film in post-production in addition to the many other prizes in kind or in cash.
The desire to give these projects a bigger boost (“it’s part of our philosophy to help all those countries and especially movie-makers to complete their films and to give them an exposure that will help them be selected at festivals”) is reflected in the success achieved this year at the Berlinale by the films ‘passed’ by Final Cut in Venice: “Félicité” by Alain Gomis (France, Senegal) won the Grand Jury Prize – the Silver Bear, “Istiyad Ashbah” (Ghost Hunting) by Raed Andoni (France, Palestine, Switzerland, Qatar) won the Best Original Documentary Prize. Moreover another two titles from the workshop were selected at Berlin 2017: “The Wound” by John Trengove (South Africa) in Panorama, and “Tigmi Nigren” (The House in the Fields) by Tala Hadid (Morocco, Qatar) in the Forum.
There are also some changes inside the Book Adaptation Rights Market which is raising the number of publishers presenting their catalogue to producers from 15 to 19, and who this year, in addition to Europe, also come from the USA and Japan:
“We are really happy with this format, not focusing only on one title but on the catalogue and fostering the relationship between publishers and producers. Plus this year, the day before the one-to-one meeting, the publishers will have their presentation during which they will pitch their company, on September 1st.” concludes Diot.
The Italian publishers present will be De Agostini with DeA Planeta Libri and Nottetempo.
On September 4th the European Film Forum will also be hosting a speech by the New European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, who will speak about her vision of the future of the MEDIA Programme.”