Venice's Biennale College Selects Three Finalists for Financial Support, Spot in Film Festival

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The three projects will each get more than $200,000 in production money and significant technical help as they prepare to screen on the Lido next summer.

ROME -- The second edition of Venice's Biennale College cinema workshop has selected three finalist projects, an eclectic group of projects now qualified for the initiative's wide-ranging financial and technical support and a guaranteed spot in the lineup of the 2014 Venice Film Festival.

This year's version of Biennale College is moving along fester than the freshman edition of the program, meaning the projects will have more time to conclude filming and post-production.

Last time around, the 15 semi-finalists were picked in December and the three finalists were named in late January. For the second edition, a dozen semi-finalists were picked only six weeks ago with the finalists announced Wednesday.

The finalists are Blood Cells, about a man who in the wake of a catastrophe sets off on an odyssey through Britain, from U.K. producer Samm Haillay and directors Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull; H, a "reimagining" of a classic Greek tragedy about two women, both named Helen, in contemporary New York, from producers Shruti Rya Ganguly of India and Pierce Varous of the U.S. and co-directors Rania Attieh of Lebanon and Daniel Garcia, from the U.S.; and Short Skin, a story about growing hard without sacrificing tenderness from Iran-U.K. producer Babak Jalali and Italian director Duccio Chiarini.

The three films will now receive €150,000 ($208,000) in production money, plus a range of technical and professional help and a pair of workshops in Venice in order to prepare them for their world premieres in Venice next summer.

Biennale College, along with the Venice Film Market, was one of the two new initiatives introduced by Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera when he took the reins of the festival nearly two years ago.

The first three "graduates" of the Biennale College were: Yuri Esposito from Italians Alessio Fava and Max Chicco (which has since screened to good reviews at the 31st Turin Film Festival), Memphis from the U.S. team of Tim Sutton and John Baker and Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy from Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit and Aditya Assarat of Thailand.

Twitter: @EricJLyman