East Europe calls to West at Cannes

27th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - While films from Eastern Europe made big on festival screens at Cannes, the region's cash-strapped industry looked West for the future.

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - While films from Eastern Europe made big on festival screens at Cannes, the region's cash-strapped industry looked West for the future.

"Eastern Europe and Russian cinema had disappeared, but this is a part of the world whose cinema is emerging again," the Cannes film festival's artistic director Thierry Fremaux told the trade bible "Daily Variety".

At the Cannes trade market, where thousands of film execs did business on the sidelines of the 12-day film festival ending Sunday, Eastern Europeans said co-productions were the path to the future for a new generation of talented filmmakers.

"Almost everyone in the Serbian film business is involved in some way in co-productions. It's the only way we can develop the Serbian film industry," said Serbia Film Centre's Svebor Midzic.

And for Eastern Europe, 2007 could be a bumper year.

No less than five of the 22 films selected to compete for the top Cannes award, the Palme d'Or, were produced in Eastern Europe and Russia. Two Russians were in official competition, and Hungary, Serbia and Romania had one each.

Meanwhile a Polish film was selected for the Short Films category and Estonia and Romania were in the running for the official young cinema sidebar section "Un Certain Regard" -- won by Romania's "California Dreamin'".

And a late entry to films being screened out of competition was Russian documentary "Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case" about ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko, fatally poisoned in London in November last year.

With Romania's harrowing feature on back-alley abortions -- "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" -- tipped a front-runner for the prestigious Palme d'Or, interest in buying film from Bucharest was strong, said Andreea Tanase of the Romanian National Film Centre.

"It's been wonderful to take part at Cannes even if we don't win," he told AFP.

"Romania now has several co-production projects in the pipeline, partly thanks to the hugely positive response to its well-crafted films," he added.

It was the story for Serbia, in the running with "Promise Me This" by Emir Kusturica, a two-time Palme d'Or winner, and for Bosnia.

"There's been a lot of interest in our films, particularly from Turkey, Austria, Germany and France," a spokeswoman for the Bosnian film centre told AFP.

And as Slovak Film Institute's Miroslav Ulman said: "This is the best place to be to pick up new co-production projects."

"But we still have an uphill battle as many people don't even realise that Czechoslovia has been divided (into the Czech and Slovak Republics)."

"Distribution is harder and harder and the only films we can get distributed easily are short ones," said Slovenian Film Fund's Nerina Kocjancic.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Festival de Cannes

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