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Most international film industry events have been put on hold — or put online — during the coronavirus pandemic but the 2020 edition of European Work in Progress is going ahead in person in Cologne, Germany next week.
Some 28 in-development film projects from 34 European countries will pitch to potential partners at the three-day showcase, which runs Oct. 5-7. This year’s lineup includes new works from German art-house director Dominik Graf (Beloved Sisters) and Italy’s Federica Di Giacomo (Deliver Us) and crisscrosses all genres and styles, from thrillers to musicals, documentaries to dystopian drama.
Di Giacomo, whose nonfiction feature Deliver Us, a look at the modern-day practice of exorcism by the Catholic Church, won the best film at the Horizons section of the Venice Film Festival in 2016, will present her new creative doc, The Palace. Graf will arrive in Cologne with his pitchbook for Fabian, a period drama set in early ’30s Berlin and focused on a down-on-his-luck copywriter.
Projects farther afield include Love is a Dog From Hell, a Philippine/German co-production from director Khavn de la Cruz, described as a “surreal love musical” inspired by the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice; Russian crime drama In Limbo from director Alexander Hant; and Iron Stream, a German/Bangladeshi drama from director Kamar Ahmad Simon about an unmarried single woman living in a strict Muslim society who finds out she is pregnant.
Production teams for the various projects will present them to international distributors, world sales companies, film festivals and other industry delegates in a series of 15-minute pitching sessions. The European Work in Progress event will also include panel discussions and workshops designed to help filmmakers better hone their international distribution and promotion strategies.
Torsten Frehse, a board member of German independent film distributors organization AG Verleih, one of the event’s organizers, said he was pleased European Work in Progress would take place face-to-face and not just online.
“The experiences in Cannes and other industry events in this Corona year have shown that the direct exchange of people, despite numerous digital communication possibilities, cannot be replaced by anything [virtual],” he noted. “That is why we have been working with our partners for a long time on a concept to meet the hygiene standards and the requirement to bring all participants to Cologne. We are very pleased that the guests from Germany and the world accepted the invitation.”
European Work in Progress is backed by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, one of Europe’s leading funding agencies. A jury of industry experts will judge the 2020 entries and will present awards, along with financial support for post-production and promotional activities, for the top projects.
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