The Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennale, home of the Venice International Film Festival) has announced the 3 films that it will launch during its new initiative called Final Cut In Venice, dedicated to "supporting African films in the post-production phase," the press release states.
The program (in collaboration with the Festival International du Film d’Amiens and the Festival International de Film de Fribourg) will take place on the Lido di Venezia on August 29 at the 70th Venice International Film Festival, as part of the Venice Film Market.
During the Final Cut in Venice workshop, the work-in-progress copies of three (3) "specially-selected African films in post-production" will be presented to an audience of producers, buyers, distributors and international festival programmers, to foster possible partnerships for co-production or access to the distribution market.
The workshop will end with the award of prizes "in kind or in cash," intended to financially support the films during the post-production phase:
· € 16,800 ($22,000) offered by Cinemage/Groupe Image (Paris) for digital colour correction, corresponding to 7 working days (56 hours, technician included);· € 15,000 ($19,500) offered by Mactari Mixing Auditorium for the sound mixing;· € 10,000 ($13,000) for post-production costs to be carried out in France, offered by CNC – Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (Paris);· A 35mm print (without subtitles) or the participation in the production costs of a DCP, offered by the Festival International de Film d’Amiens;· A 35mm print (without subtitles) or the participation in the production costs of a DCP, offered by the Festival International de Film de Fribourg;· € 6,000 ($7,700) for the production of the DCP master and the French subtitles, offered by Titra TVS (Paris).
The deadline for registration was June 28, 2013; a month later, the festival has revealed the 3 films selected for this, the inaugural year of the initiative. The 3 films are:
1 - From Egyptian auteur Ibrahim El Batout (Winter of Discontent), a Cairo-set action thriller titled The Cat, which centers on the very topical human organ trafficking in Egypt. The country's recent political upheavals, which have left a law enforcement gap in the country, have reportedly allowed mob-led organ-trafficking rings to thrive.
2 - Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania's Le Challatt de Tunis (Challatt of Tunis). Said to be based on a true story, Le Challatt de Tunis takes place in the summer of 2003, when a man on a motorcycle, carrying a razor blade rode through the streets of Tunis on a mission: to slash the butts of women he came across on the city’s streets, whom he felt weren't dressed appropriately. Yes, you read that correctly. They called him Le Challat, which is most likely a bastardization of the word Gillette – the famous razor brand. At that time, with the threat of Le Challat hanging over them, Tunisian women started to change the way they dressed: no more tight jeans, or mini short skirts, etc. From one neighborhood to the next, rumors about the mysterious man started to spread. Some said he was a religious nut, others said he was the member of an inactive cell of Al-Qaida intent on punishing women whom he felt openly mocked its ideology. People also said that Le Challat was on some kind of a revenge mission, because his own wife, cheated on him. He was on everyone's lips and minds, but no-one had ever seen this man face-to-face. Years later, director Ben Hania took up the challenge of investigate the legend of Le Challatt on film, in Le Challatt de Tunis.
3 - And finally, from Madagascar comes director Lova Nantenaina's documentary, Avec Presque Rien... (With almost nothing...). The film is a portrait of the many Malagasy people, who, through ingenuity and resourcefulness, are surviving despite economic hardship - hardships mostly ignored by the local and international press. Director Nantenaina's stated goal with the film is to insert the viewer directly into the lives of the people she documents on camera, to highlight their efforts to adapt to economic crises without end.
Again, these 3 films will be presented to an audience of producers, buyers, distributors and international festival programmers at Venice next month, to foster possible partnerships for co-production or access to the distribution market.
And I'm sure we'll be hearing more about each of them in coming months, as they race towards completion.