Producers on the Move Alums Make Strong Showing at Festival (Cannes)

Cannes Film Festival
"This Must Be the Place"

Denmark's Louise Vesth, Italy's Nicola Giuliano and Norway's Yngve Saether are among the former recipients of the program with projects at this year's Cannes.

CANNES -- When European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou stands up at a meeting with European film directors in Cannes Monday 16 to trumpet the 20 year anniversary of MEDIA funding, there will be one collective question being asked.

Will folks be celebrating in quite the same way in two years time, let alone 20?

The European industry is currently awaiting the fate of the $1.2 billion budgeted MEDIA program which kick started its fourth term in 2007 and runs until 2013.

After that year, the future is bleak as the European Commission looks to trim funding and reduce costs across all subsidy sectors.

The hope will be that the cultural numbers game plays in favor of the MEDIA program funding.

Producers on the Move, a serious presence in Cannes for 12 years now, is funded by the European Film Promotion org, which in turn is fuelled by cash from the MEDIA program.

The EFP struck up the band early for its lobbying to stay alive and no doubt Vassiliou will be deafened by the clamor from this year’s 25 selected producers selected for the EFP event.

The alumni’s output from the previous 11 years of existence repped on screen at the Festival de Cannes this year indicates the idea of bringing in producers and financiers from across continental Europe to meet, greet, drink and eat — not always in that order — is working.

Two films from this year’s Competition lineup involve producers who came, saw and conquered Cannes as part of POTM.

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia is co-produced by Louise Vesth, Denmark’s 2008 alumuni, while Italy’s 2005 POTM pick Nicola Giuliano is back on the Riviera with Paolo Sorrentino’s This Must Be The Place.

In Un Certain Regard, Norway’s POTM in 2009, Yngve Saether is there with Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st while Peter Rommel, Germany’s 2002 selection, arrives with Halt Auf Freier Strecke [Stopped on Track], directed by Andreas Dresen.

And there are others playing across the rest of the Festival landscape.

Appearing in Directors’ Fortnight, it’s double figures with 10 producers in Cannes with projects unspooling in the sidebar.

Titles include The Island, co-produced by Kamen Kalev, Bulgaria’s selected producer in 2010 and Rebecca Daly’s The Other Side of Sleep, produced by Ireland’s Macdara Kelleher in co-production with 2008’s Reinier Selen from the Netherlands and Ferenc Pusztai, himself a producer on the move from Hungary in 2007.

Other titles include Ruben Ostlund’s Play, co-produced by Sweden’s 2009 producer on the move Erik Hemmendorff.

And still in the same section is Volcano, co-produced by Iceland’s Hlin Johannesdottir and short movie Cigarette At Night, produced the U.K.’s Samm Haillay.

So if bringing a film to Cannes is any mark of success, the POTM alumni seem to be adding grist to the mill for the lobbyists looking to secure the MEDIA program for another 20 years.