The main prize at IFF Mannheim Heidelberg (Oct 31st-Nov10th ) went to the Film “Melaza” – while “Santa y Delfin” (the next project of director-producer duo Lachuga/Calvino) was already on the co-production table at MMP 2013. (Nov 4th-7th). Claudia Calvino had been correctly pre-warned that Mannheim might not bring an immediate match for her - that distinction went to Russian Vladimir Kozlov’s “Rodina” pairing with Igor Pedicek of Ljubljana’s Casablanca Film.
However Vladimir has applied for funding from the Culture Ministry though the new competitive national funding has not been officially started at the time of this writing. Nevertheless “Santa y Delfin” did obtain development funding from Ibermedia shortly after MMP and is reported (May 2014) on even keel with re-writes.
Calvino, Kozlov and two of the other three producers with the most popular out of over 40 projects including Lukas Trimonis from Lithuania with “Miracle” and Italy’s Enrica Capra with “Beyond the Implant” (working title, now changed to “Alien Food”), could all express satisfaction.
Jean-Marie Teno was slightly the odd-man-out: hardly a start-up producer, he was in Mannheim to give a talk on political filming and to see if he could find a lead producer for his latest feature project “In the Dark”.
One recurring comment made by many start-up producers at MMP 2013 was that the whole event process (starting in July and ending in Mannheim) is particularly valuable because it builds confidence within a professional structure. This matches exactly with MMP’s ambitions to fill a benevolent niche between academical experience for start-up producers (such as EAVE) and the deep blue sea of full professional life.
A further three start-up producers were invited: David Arratia Flores from Bolivia with drama “Story of Leaving”, Ognen Antov from Macedonia with local drama “Nameless”, and Estonia’s Marianne Ostrat with literary adaptation “30 days with Isebel”.
Antov (now a 2014 Producer on the Move) and MMP’s Pavlina Jeleva signalled deeper negotiation effort on "Nameless" at the time of MMP last November, and in fact co-production meetings were held in Skopje. Due to twists of fate and outstanding commitments, Jeleva's Geopoly film has passed on the Bulgarian co-production partnership to Jelio Jelev at Sofia's Jelfilm in full trilateral understanding.
And for MMP 2012’s Ukrainian-Georgian-German-Bulgarian production “Ursus”, after Jeleva’s funding contribution arrived and the Bulgarian shooting took place just after MMP 2013, Germany’s co-producer Stelios Ziannis filled the final round of funding from Eastern Germany’s MDM. Meanwhile shooting in Kiev (10th-15th December) has been halted (1st Feb-1st May) due to the local unrest. Substitute shooting in Georgia in mid-April was set in tensions with the Russian military presence on the country’s borders. Nevertheless as of May 1st possibly 3 to 4 days remain to be shot in Kiev, and 2 days in Berlin.
One has to add to this tale of woe the matter of late installment payments from the Ukraine funder - not surprising considering the present situation. And also that one of the film’s editors was shot in the back at Maidan, being subsequently hospitalized in Germany. Luckily the bullet passed clean through the body, and the person survived.
Greece’s Konstantina Staurianu left MMP empty-handed – none of the final three projects that were chosen for possible selection for a picture post match with her company Graal in Athens could be greenlighted in Mannheim. (See MMP 2013 News No.2)
Which does not mean that once necessary development and adjustments are made that eventual matching of at least one project will not take place…
A busy year for Croatian TV – with their new feature channel they also have an appetite for Mannheim-type films: 5 titles from Katayoon Shahabi’s Noori Pictures, and 15 titles for 2013 from Javier de la Fuente from Latido, with acquisition interest for Manuela Buono’s “Zoran, my Nephew the Idiot” also defined by HRT duo Dean Sosa and Kresimir Zubcic.
Further sales effort included a list for Danmark Radio’s Kaare Schmidt, (who also oversees some international co-productions for DR) and some theatrical sales to be announced on completion of negotiations. In fact Schmidt's booty so far, as of May 1st 2014, included a package of Iranian Films from Katayoon Shahabi made up of 4 Features :"Bending the Rules"; "One, Two, One"; "Heiran"; "Death is My Profession" and 2 documentaries:– “From Iran - A Separation”, & “She is My Husband”.
Mannheim’s sales capacities are not large, and are not supposed to be. MMP looks for those agents, distributors and TV buyers capable of interest in and acquisition of “Mannheim-type” works – and that starts with start-ups with promise. And we recommend to all co-producers that they fit in rough-cut activity with sales agents during post production, not afterwards. Nevertheless Heinz Thym of Luxembourg’s Tfilms picked up sales rights for German production “Millionen” from the IFF MH 2013 lineup after screening during MMP.
Aurora Films’ Michal Myslinski from Warsaw picked up Polish rights for "Sex, Drugs and Taxation" sold by Level K of Denmark, and also "Zoran, my Nephew the Idiot" from Slingshot Films' Manuela Buono.
2 theatrical releases came out of MMP 2013 for Mark Spratt of Australia´s Potential Films. Both are from Filmsharks: The Noble Family (Dir. Gary Alazraki, Mexico) and The Mystery of Happiness (Dir. Guillaume Nicloux, Argentina/Brazil)
Two events and a presentation at a busy MMP 2013 included the popular Freddy Olsson on aspects of Festival life joined by several voices from the floor (not least of which was Thom Palmen’s).
A second event, on political film making in 2014, brought interesting reflections – the least of which was that it it is probably fatuous to expect more than one good political film a year world-wide. Also many countries have hosts of reasons not to support political filmmaking. Strong comments came from Peter Armstrong from London and Kaare Schmidt from Denmark.
Edits of these two events are posted on this site: look for “MMP 2013 Festivals Event” and “MMP 2013 Political Films Event”
The final presentation was from Baden Württemberg’s MFG Film Fund’s Dorothee Martin with a quick exposure for foreign producers of how German Funding works.
So far two projects presented at MMP 2011 made it to the world festival circuit in 2014 : Brazilian producer Diana Almeida's “All the Simple Things” in Berlin’s Panorama and Argentinean producer Paola Suarez’ “Atlantida” in Generation…(In both cases MMP did not deliver a co-producer, but the message: go back, redo the budgets, go local and do it… which indeed finally seems to have been the case…)