Venice Biennale College Announces 2015 Film Fund Contenders

Venice Film Festival

Twelve global projects compete for three production budget prizes

While many festivals today offer workshops or film funds for emerging directors, Venice’s Biennale College is unique in that it produces three movies every year under tight deadlines. The third edition potentials have been announced, including two U.S. projects, five projects from Europe, two Asian-European projects, two from South America, and one from New Zealand.

Since its founding two years ago, the College picks a group of twelve projects, and holds an October workshop for the director and producer of each project. The groups will then have a further three weeks to develop their projects and submit a first draft of the script with production notes. Venice Fest director Alberto Barbera, together with a board, chooses three projects to be awarded $197,000 each. They’ll have to complete the project in time to premiere at next year’s festival.

This year’s projects premiered in Venice to great applause, with lines spilling out of the theater with festival goers trying to attend. U.S. project H., directed by Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia, follows two women named Helen in New York, Troy after a meteor explosion, in a clever re-imagining of the Greek tragedy, and has production values that look far greater than its small budget. The U.K. project Blood Cells, directed by Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull has garnered great reviews as an experimental odyssey through contemporary Britain.

Another hit, Short Skin, directed by Duccio Chiarini, tells a sexual coming of age story from the male perspective. The film has strong performances from Bianca Nappi in the maternal role and newcomer Matteo Creatini as an awkward teenager trying to overcome a medical condition that prevents him from enjoying intimate relations. The film has already been picked up by Good Films, which will release domestically in Italy, and Films Boutique has signed for international sales. As a universal story with a comedic cameo from an octopus, the film could to do well internationally as an arthouse release.

The first year of Biennale College also saw success with Memphis by Tim Sutton being picked up by the Sundance Channel and a stateside release by Kino Lorber. Thai film Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy, was one of the most successful box office films in Thailand last year and picked up numerous domestic awards.

The first two years of Biennale College were financed by Gucci, but the fashion house is pulling out after changes in their global marketing strategy. Barbera tells The Hollywood Reporter that the college is already lining up new sponsors.

The twelve projects selected include:

Baby Bump
Director: Kuba Czekaj (Polish)
Producer: Madgadalena Kaminska (Polish)

Be Wildebeest
Director: Simon Price (New Zealand)
Producer: Georgina Allison-Conder (New Zealand)

Director: Kohki Hasei (Japan)
Producer: Flaminio Zadra (Italian)

Fazenda Do Riberão Do Qüeba 
Director: Helvecio Marins Jr (Brazil)
Producer: Eliane Ferreira (Brazil)

Guarda In Alto
Director: Fulvio Risuleo (Italy)
Producer: Donatello Della Pepa (Italy)

La Mujer Despierta
Director: Martin Morgenfeld (Argentina)
Producer: Melanie Shapiro (Argentina)

Peacok Lamenting
Director: Sanjeewa Pushpakumara (Sri-Lanka)
Producer: Antonin Dedet (France)

The Drunk (OBebado)
Director: André Marques (Portugal)
Producer: Rodrigo Areias (Portugal)

The Father
Director: Kristina Grozeva (Bulgaria)
Producer: Petar Valchanov (Bulgaria)

The Fits 
Director: Anna Rose Holmer (USA)
Producer: Lisa Kjerulff (USA)

There Was Las Vegas 
Director: Alexandre Castres (France)
Producer: Elie Meirovitz (French)

Through And Through
Directors: Eleanor Burke (UK), Ron Eyal (USA)
Producer: Lucas Joaquin (USA)

Twitter: @Aristonla