Italian-French co-production “Heads or Tails?” (“Testa o Croce?”) claimed Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at Rotterdam’s CineMart on Tuesday.
Directed by Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis, and set in the 1890s, it seduced jurors Ilse Ronteltap, Mira Staleva and Konstantina Stavrianou with its retro-flavored story of lovers on the run. “It brings us [closer] to the legends that we rarely see nowadays,” said Staleva. “It’s about violence, mystery, freedom, injustice and friendship.”
“Billi and Rosa decide to escape, but many people are chasing them. Then he becomes a hero to some, an icon. Which, obviously, goes straight to his head. The story is really about her own path: her journey to freedom,” Alessio Rigo de Righi told Variety following his win.
“It’s a western too, a real genre film, which is what we always wanted to do. One that’s actually set in Italy and owning it, unlike most of these famous spaghetti westerns. It’s also a step forward for us, as directors, when it comes to its scale.”
“It’s still an indie film – it’s just elevated,” added producer Tommaso Bertani. “We are playing with some genre cliches, but we will turn it around. I really think we will surprise some people.”
The film, produced by Ring Film and co-produced by Shellac Sud, wasn’t the only winner, however, with Ukrainian director Marina Stepanska’s “Consider Vera” awarded two prizes: Eurimages Special Co-production Development Award – also coming with €20,000 – as well as the ArteKino International Award.
“Ukrainian filmmakers, especially those making features, have such a narrow tunnel to get resources right now. These awards really mean a lot, especially in terms of visibility,” said Stepanska.
“Also, it’s important to state that it’s not a film about war. It’s about people in the 1980s, about a girl, growing up in rural Ukraine surrounded by women. It’s about my childhood: time, space and society as seen by my generation.”
The Kyiv-born director, now focusing on female experience, is also behind 2017 “Falling.” Natalia Libet produces for ESSE Production House.
The Filmmore Post-Production Award went to “Redoubt” by John Skoog, already acclaimed for his debut feature “Ridge” – produced by Plattform Produktion and BCD Film – and the Wouter Barendrecht Award, for projects with a director under 35 who has not directed more than three films, was given to “Eldorado” by Alaa Eddine Aljem (Le Moindre Geste, In Vivo Films).
“We had a lovely meeting with you. I liked you a lot and now I like you even more,” said the director to clearly amused jurors Ellis Driessen and Nelleke Driessen. Underlining that the subject of the film – focusing on a group of migrants arriving in Morocco and looking for a secret place – is of huge importance to the team.
Rounding up the selection, Mina Djukic’s “When the Kids Sing the Hits” left with VIPO Award and “Anti-Muse” – with 4DR Studios Award. The IFFR Pro Young Selectors Award was given to “The Surrogate” by Ali Jaberansari, produced by The Lift, Here & There Productions.
“We scout all year round. Keeping the balance when it comes to topics of the projects, their location and experience of the filmmakers is very important to us. You don’t want to see a lineup of 20 very similar projects,” said Inke Van Loocke, new head of IFFR Pro.
“It wasn’t easy, after these two online editions. It’s like celebrating your birthday – you can’t completely foresee what’s going to happen,” she said.
“But once we started to see the names of all the guests coming in, we realized that people were really coming back: big companies, new talent. We are all coming back to life!”
Full list of winners:
Eurimages Co-Production Development Award
Winner: “Heads or Tails?,” Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, Italy, France.
Produced by: Ring Film, Shellac Sud
Eurimages Special Co-Production Development Award
Special mention: “Consider Vera,” Marina Stepanska, Ukraine.
Produced by: ESSE Production House
Filmmore Post-Production Award
Winner: “Redoubt,” John Skoog, Sweden.
Produced by: Plattform Produktion, BCD Film
ArteKino International Award
Winner: “Consider Vera,” Marina Stepanska, Ukraine.
Produced by: ESSE Production House
Wouter Barendrecht Award
Winner: “Eldorado,” Alaa Eddine Aljem, Morocco, France.
Produced by: Le Moindre Geste, In Vivo Films
Winner: “When the Kids Sing the Hits,” Mina Djukic, Serbia, Montenegro.
Produced by: Sense Production, Adriatic Western
4DR Studios Award
Winner: “Anti-Muse,” Baloji, Belgium.
Produced by: Amok, Wrong Men
IFFR Pro Young Selectors Award
Winner: “The Surrogate,” Ali Jaberansari, Mexico, United Kingdom.
Produced by: The Lift, Here & There Productions