Toronto projects moving to IFP

Strategic Partners host co-production conference

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TORONTO -- Tough times have coin-starved indie producers hopping from the Toronto International Film Festival to IFP in New York City, by way of the Strategic Partners co-production conference in Halifax.

Strategic Partners organizer Jan Miller points to a "higher caliber" of producers, sales agents, funders and broadcasters in Halifax from Friday to Sunday as traditional financing sources these days go dry or are depleted.

"Everyone has limited funds and limited time as they look to grab people between Toronto and IFP," she said of this year's producer matchmaking.

About 30 projects have been invited to Halifax to participate in Canada's biggest film financing forum during the Atlantic Film Festival.

Montreal-based producer Melissa Malkin of Silo Corp. will be shopping in both Halifax and New York "White Circus," a live action/animated feature from Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, who wrote and directed the Academy Award-nominated short animated drama "Madame Tulti Pulti."

Malkin is eying Germany and Poland as likely co-production partners, and possibly France, as she looks to drum up additional financing for the National Film Board of Canada project.

"The White Circus project has a bit of momentum because of the creative partners involved, but it's harder to get things made this year. There's still a lot of films because of pre-recession funding, so the chances of getting your films bought is slim," she said, describing a depressed indie film landscape.

U.K. producer and sales agent Phil Hunt of Headgear/Bankside Films said Strategic Partners delegates this week need to contend with falling broadcast license fees for films internationally.

"Because of the credit crunch and a lack of TV ad revenue, broadcasters have held up the feature film market. They've driven the price of films way down, so our business has suffered greatly," he said.

Other projects to be featured in the Strategic Partnes forum include "Dying Inside," a feature comedy by Andrew Bendel from Blue Horizon Prods., the Alex Boden thriller "The Homing" from Red Sun Pictures, Anca Damian's "Daydream Believer" thriller from Aparte Film, Peter De Maegd's "A Very Unsettled Summer," an English language feature from Caviar Films, and the Shilo Films comedy horror "Moon Over Markham," by Geoffroy Grison.

The Strategic Partners co-production runs from Sept. 18-20.