The early results of Biennale College – Cinema are really interesting: there were many on line applications submitted by the 24th October 2012, the closing day of the International Call which began on the 30th August on the official Biennale di Venezia website. There were 433 projects participating in this challenge, and the 80% came from abroad. Among these, Alberto Barbera, together with the Biennale College – Cinema team, selected 15 projects for a first ten-days workshop, going on in Venice during these days.
The selected projects cover several nations and continents: we travel from North America to South Europe, from South America to the Middle East, from Africa to South Europe, through Asia. These are the 15 selected projects, with their team formed of a director and a producer:
- Abu Naim (Israel) – Mich’ael Zupraner (director) e Naama Pyritz (producer): the story of the fantastical Abu Naim – a Jew by birth and an Arab by choice – as reenacted by the Palestinians he lives among. A hybrid of documentary and narrative techniques; the cinematic adaptation of a real West Bank myth.
- A Case of the Dismals (Usa) – Kim Spurlock (director) e Mai Spurlock (producer): the delicate tale of a tight-knit circle of Appalachian mothers and their young daughters who discover through heartbreak and a little magic that kinship will always endure. A meditation on the ghosts that haunt us, and the inevitability of time.
- The Death of J.P. Cuenca (Brasil) – João Paolo Cuenca (director) e Marina Meliande (producer): a mysterious man steals the identity of J.P. Cuenca to die in a squat building downtown Rio. While in pre-olympic times the city transforms itself, we follow a puzzle of misguided identities and enigma in the heart of the neighbourhood of Lapa.
- I Dreamt of Empire (Egypt) – Kasem Kharsa (director) e Moustafa Zakaria (producer): 1980, Cairo. Professor Musa devises a way to travel back in time to save his son who died in the ’67 Sinai War. But when he goes back -at the right moment and place- he finds himself in the body of an Israeli soldier, Ben. The two men have switched bodies and lives. Each time the Professor goes back to roam the desert searching for his son, he returns to the present to find Ben taking over more of his life.
- Into the Light (UK) – Rowland Jobson (director) e Alastair Clark (producer): a young man wracked with guilt goes in search of his past on the streets amongst London’s homeless. Rejected by his friends, he meets a young immigrant boy who leads him to the horrific truth behind his fractured visions and nightmares.
- Memphis (Usa) – Tim Sutton (director) e John Baker (producer): establishing its own sense of rhythm and time through an observational eye and an ear for quiet meditation, Memphis follows the transformation of Ezra Jack from beloved soul singer to unraveling ecstatic. Steeped in ethereal folklore, soul music, urban decay, and the abstract rhythms of life and death, Memphis is a story that subtly gazes upon one man reaching into the darkness in the hope for salvation and rebirth.
- Nervous Translation (Philippines) – Shireen Seno (director) e John Torres (producer): a eight-year old girl, nervous to a fault, lives in her own private world. One day she finds out about a pen that can “translate” the thoughts and feelings of nervous people.
- The Prefect (UK) – Dan K. Smyth (director) e Marcie MacLellan (producer): 16-year old Darren’s beliefs start to crumble as his father, a well respected doctor, is put on trial for mass murder. Darren’s memories start to haunt him as he struggles to free himself from the sins of his father. A subtle psychological drama.
- Room 0 (South Africa) – Jenna Cato Bass (director) e David Horler (producer): in this social cinema game, the audience become guests at the enigmatic Hotel Niemand. Together with Max, the charming hotel porter, we investigate the murder of a woman from his past and the deeper mystery of how our memories influence both life and love.
- Slim Land (Rwanda) – Yves Montand Niyongabo (director) e Lee Isaac Chung (producer): when a mysterious epidemic strikes a small Ugandan village, a young man named Kiiza is caught in the middle of a conflict between white missionaries and his fellow villagers.
- Sorrow Demons, Joy Blizzards (Israel) – Tomer Bahat (director) e Rotem Faran (producer): the real life story of Oren Barzilay, an Israeli musician, coming to grips with the pain of the twists of fate in his life: his meteoric rise, rejection by the audience, addiction, sudden paralysis and rehabilitation, leaving his wife and child. All his fears and hopes expressed through his art and music.
- The Substance (Spain) – Lluis Galter Sanchez (director) e Sergi Moreno Castillo (producer): people need to know where they come from. If not, they should find out, and if they can’t, they must make it up. Mr Cheng and Mr Yang, professional replica builders from an international Chinese corporation, will be forced to find their substance through a fantastic time and space travel that takes place in one of the most antique villages in Europe, Cadaqués.
- Tramontane (Lebanon) – Vatche Boulghourjian (director) e Caroline Oliveira (producer): Walid, a blind man, travels across rural Lebanon in search of a record of his own birth. He meets people on the far fringes of society who tell their own stories, open further questions and give Walid minor clues about his true identity, culminating in a devastating realization. Descending into a void at the heart of his existence, Walid encounters a nation incapable of telling his or its own narrative.
- The Year of June (Thailand) – Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (director) e Aditya Assarat (producer): a ”digital adaptation” of an anonymous school girl’s year-long Twitter stream. She deconstructs herself into hundreds of fragments and the filmmakers reconstruct them back into an imagined narrative. The result is a fast, funny, and fantastical adventure of a school girl in the city of Bangkok.
- Yuri Esposito (Italy) – Alessio Fava (director) e Max Chicco (producer): a man lives in a condition of perpetual slowness for unknown reasons. A crew of filmmakers decide to make a documentary about him. Everything gets complicated when his wife becomes pregnant.
Up to 3 of this 15 projects will be selected for a second ten-days workshop between February and March and supported with 150.000€ in order to produce and screen the projects at the 2013 Venice International Film Festival.
The 12 projects that will not continue to the second workshop will in any case enjoy an online follow-up and will be given various opportunities to find co-producers in collaboration with TorinoFilmLab, IFP, Dubai International Film Festival and other existing markets suitable to the projects.