Ritesh Batra — whose feature debut, The Lunchbox, was a global sleeper hit — is returning to Berlin’s co-production market with his new project: Photograph. The Indian filmmaker first presented Lunchbox to potential backers in Berlin in 2012. The film went on to gross more than $4.2 million for Sony Classics in the U.S. alone. His next feature, which the director told THR focuses on the relationship between a photographer and his muse, will be one of the 36 projects being pitched at Berlin’s co-production market, which runs Feb. 8-10 during the Berlin International Film Festival (Feb. 5-15).
Also returning to Berlin is Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, whose directorial debut, The Tribe, won the grand prize at Cannes Critics Week and picked up the European Discovery of the Year honor at the European Film Awards last year. His new feature, Luxembourg, like The Tribe, is also being backed by the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Hubert Bals Fund. It will be one of three Rotterdam projects also pitching at Berlin.
The projects for this year’s Berlin co-production market were picked from more than 330 submissions. To qualify, a project has to have a budget between $1.2 million and $7.7 million (€1 million to €6.5 million) and have at least 30 percent of its financing in place. The purpose of the co-production market is to match up producers, projects and financiers of international art house features.
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In addition to the new projects, Berlin also has picked four international companies to highlight at this year’s market as part of its company matching program. This year they are Dv8 Films from South Africa, whose credits include Berlin 2013 competition title Layla Fourie; Irish shingle Element Pictures (Jimmy’s Hall); Dutch group Topkapi Films (Broken Circle Breakdown); the Columbian company Dynamo (Out of the Dark); and Tarantula Luxembourg, a co-producer on Secrets of War.
For the market’s Berlinale Directors section, which highlights festival veterans with exciting new projects, Indian filmmaker Avinash Arun (The Fort), Georgian directors Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross (In Bloom) and Hungary’s Adam Csaszi (Land of Storms) were picked.