'Market-oriented' pics key at prod'n market


Right across the street from the wheeling and dealing of the European Film Market, another, less commercial group of filmmakers is meeting to shill their latest projects.

The Berlinale Co-Production market, which kicks off today and runs through Tuesday, features 37 projects from 26 countries looking for financing.

This year's co-production line up includes in-development features from established names like Joe Dante, who is pitching "The Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes," Wang Chao, in town with the project "Starting Over" and Jorge Gaggero, who arrives with "Dog Security," straight from CineMart Rotterdam.

Now in its fourth year, Berlin's co-production event sees itself as a more mainstream version of CineMart, featuring higher-budget productions in the €1 million-€7 million range.

"CineMart has become an ideal place for low-budget projects, we don't want to copy that," said Co-Pro manager Sonja Heinen. "We try to include more market-oriented projects, and work closely with distributors and buyers to see what they are looking for."

The Co-Pro market has an impressive track record. Some 30 projects presented over the past three markets have found financing and are completed or are currently in production.

These include Alexander Sokurov's "The Sun," which screened in Competition in Berlin in 2005; Thom Fitzgerald's Toronto Film Fest entry "3 Needles," and Sergei Bodrov's Ghengis Khan. epic "Mongol," the first part of which is currently in production.

To qualify for the Co-Production market, a project must have 30% of its budget already in place. This year's selection was chosen from more than 200 submissions.

Over the next three days, the project's producers will meet with potential financial backers and co-producers.

In addition to one-on-one sit downs, the event includes informal "speed matchings" linking up partners and projects and "country tables" where local experts explain the often Byzantine procedures required to tap regional film subsidies.