Venice Film Fest Unveils 12 Projects for Second Edition of Biennale College

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The Venice Film Festival is hosting the second Biennale College.

Three projects selected next year will be guaranteed a screening at the 2014 Venice Film Festival.

ROME -- The Venice Film festival on Monday announced the 12 film projects selected to vie to become one of three winners in the sophomore edition of the Biennale College, the Venice festival's high-profile co-production initiative.

The first edition of Biennale College earned mostly positive reviews, with the three finalists -- Thai-made Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy from director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and producer Aditya Assarat, U.S.-made Memphis from Tim Sutton and John Baker and Italy's Yuri Esposito from Alessio Fava and Max Chicco -- all screening on the Lido during the 70th Venice Film Festival last month.

Now a new crop of film projects are seeking the same honor, which also includes $204,000 (€150,000) in production funding, plus technical, production and script help, and other workshops. The three finalists will be guaranteed to screen at the 71st edition of the world's oldest film festival.

Each project is represented by a producer and director, who is making his or her first or second film. The 12 teams will participate in workshops in Venice over the coming months to refine their projects before pitching them early next year before the final three are picked.

Compared to last year, there are more multinational teams, with four teams made up of producers and directors from different countries. Last year, only one of 15 semifinalist projects came from producer-director teams from different countries.

The dozen selected projects are:

• Blood Cells, about a man who in the wake of a catastrophe sets off on an odyssey through Britain, from producer Samm Haillay and director Joseph Bull, both from the U.K.

• H, a "reimagining" of a classic Greek tragedy about two women, both named Helen, in contemporary New York state from producer Shruti Rya Ganguly of India, and co-directors Rania Attieh of Lebanon and Daniel Garcia, from the U.S.

• Imaculat, the story of a young girl from a god family in rehab struggling with the male junkies in the same center from producer Marcian Lazar of Romania and Belgian director Kenneth Mercken.

• La Barracuda, about the relationship between a man and a strange woman claiming to be his half-sister from producer David Hartstein and directors Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin, all from the U.S.

• La Mujer de los Perros, which tells the tale of a woman who lives with ten dogs from producer Mariano Llinas and co-directors Laura Citarella and Veronica Llinas, all from Argentina.

• Nancy, about a middle-aged habitual imposter who invents a reality around her from producer Gerry Kim and director Christiana Choe, both from the U.S.

• River of Exploding Durians, which recounts the story of a young boy in a town with a plant that might be leaking radioactivity from producer Ming Jin Woo and director Edmund Yeo, both of Malaysia.

• Short Skin, a story about growing hard without sacrificing tenderness from Iran-U.K. producer Babak Jalali and Italian director Duccio Chiarini.

• The Debt, about a cop who tries to balance a big case and parenthood from producer Seher Latid and director Ritesh Batra, both from India.

• The Strike, a "minimalist tragicomedy" about a man who trades his life for the unknown from the Hungarian team of producer Akos Schneider and director Adam Breier.

• Unless, which tells the tale of an imaginative 11-year-old boy who disrupts a small town when he roars into town in a stolen car from U.S. producer Ryan Watt and director Matteo Servente of Italy.

• Winter, about a woman's wait for her husband to return from war, and their struggles dealing with the scars he suffered while away from producer Alan McAlex and director Aamir Bashir, both from India.

Twitter: @EricJLyman