The Les Arcs Film Festival has handed out a raft of prizes to feature projects and works-in-progress participating in its 15th Industry Village, running from December 16 to 19.
Around 700 cinema professionals from across Europe are attending the meeting taking place within the framework of the festival, unfolding in the French Alps from December 16 to 23.
The meeting encompasses the Coproduction Village and the Talent Village, for projects at development stage, as well as a Works-in-Progress showcase and the Music Village.
French director François Robic’s drama Kingdom Of The Blind scooped the €6,000 Coproduction Village ArteKino International Award.
The drama was among 18 European film projects presented at the Coproduction Village, selected from 269 submitted projects.
Set in the French Pyrenees mountains, the picture revolves around a woman with a dark secret who attempts to start a new life in another valley. It is a first feature for Robic, who was on the festival circuit this year with his short film Rien d’Important.
The ArteKino jury was composed of Rémi Burah, President of ArteKino Foundation and CEO of Arte France Cinéma, and Malo Jacquemin, at ArteKino International.
“We are thrilled to reward a first-time movie director with an already strong experience with few shorts and who has developed an original story exploring the thriller genre in a very creative and sensitive way, keeping it off the beaten path,” read their motivation.
Three prizes were handed out for the Work-in-Progress showcase, featuring 13 feature projects in production and in post-production.
The TitraFilm Award – consisting of €10,000 in post-production services for image and/or sound – went to Slovenian director Urška Djukić’s coming-of-age tale Little Trouble Girls.
The film is produced by Spok Film (Slovenia), Staragara I.T. (Italy), Izazov 365 (Croatia), Nosorogi (Slovenia), Non-Aligned Films (Serbia) and Sister Productions (France).
The jury was composed of incoming Edinburgh Film Festival Director Paul Ridd, who is currently wrapping up his role as Head Of Acquisitions at UK distributor and exhibitor Picturehouse; Belgian director Fien Troch (Holly) and festival programmer Annina Wettstein.
“We chose a film which demonstrated from a small sample of striking images a powerful magnetism of imagery and ideas. We were impressed by seeing a ferociously intense, beautifully staged and performed scene of intimidation,” they said of their choice.
“Then a bold juxtaposition of images – a belly button match-cut to a rose infiltrated by a bee – demonstrated the film’s visual ambition and boldness. The project’s impressive combination of fearlessness and cinematic poetry, its clarity of theme and form spoke to us and moved us immensely. We cannot wait to see the finished film.”
They also gave a Special Mention to Serb director Stefan Djordjevic’s deeply personal project inspired by his mother Wind, Talk To Me, for its “daring and personal” approach and “distinctive cinematic language”.
The feature is produced by Non-Aligned Films (Serbia), Katunga (Serbia), Restart (Croatia) and Spok Film (Slovenia).
The €6,000 Alphapanda Audience Engagement Award went to Nelson Foix’s Guadeloupe-set drama Zion, produced by De L’autre Côté Du Périph (France) and Kissfilms (France).
The prize is composed of €800 for advertising spending and €5,200 in-kind to develop a digital marketing strategy and implement a social media campaign around the awarded film’s festival premiere.
The jury members will be French film critic Frédéric Mercier, Alphapanda founder and film marketing strategist Mathias Noschis and Joanna Solecka, who is the head of the company’s Warsaw office,
“The winning film tackles with intelligence and sensitivity the very current topic of masculinity. Its powerful format and story give it potential to have a major industry impact but also to reach audiences far beyond cinephile groups,” they said of their choice.
“The jury was very impressed by how the director pictures on screen a side of Guadeloupe that we have never seen before, taking us to a unique paradise, a paradise called… Zion.”
The 22D Music Award – providing €10.000 award for music composition, to be split equally between the production of an original composition and executive production service – went to Frida Kempff ‘s The Swedish Torpedo.
The drama is inspired by the story Sally Bauer, the first European woman to swim across the English Channel in 1939.
The drama is produced by Momento Film (Sweden), Amrion (Estonia), Inland Film Company (Finland) and Velvet Films (Belgium).
The jury was composed of Charades co-head Carole Baraton, 22D Music CEO Emmanuel Delétang and composer Delphine Malaussena.
“We were quite impressed not only by the cinematography of the footage but could as well envision a very singular woman character portrait through personal and historical troubled times, a quest which is still relevant in the contemporary world. Moreover we understand that the musical intentions are very ambitious and the music work has already been well thought out at the writing stage which is quite rare.”
At the Talent Village, the top €1.500 award to support the development of one of the first feature projects presented in the selection went to Norwegian director Marlene Emilie Lyngstad’s project Cute, produced by Nordisk Film Production.
The jury was composed of Italian director Giacomo Abbruzzese (Disco Boy), German producer Roxana Richters at Chromosom Film and Susan Wendt, managing director of Danish sales powerhouse TrustNordisk.
They praised the film for its “impressive clear vision on a complex storytelling about human relations” as well as the director’s holistic approach to filmmaking and the way she combines script writing with location scouting and casting.
A special mention was attributed to the project Docile by Joséphine Darcy Hopkins, produced by TBC Productions and Kazak Productions.
“Josephine has a unique cinematic approach to a sensible topic. Building up on her previous works, she uses genre elements to let us experience the story in different layers. The rats are the instruments to see the unspeakable,” the jury said of the project.
In other awards, Cannes Producers Network also handed out the Producers Network Award offering badges for its 2024 edition to two producers participating in the Industry Village.
They went to Heather Millard at Icelandic company Compass Films (Iceland), who was participating with the project Shitballs by Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir and Gijs Kerbosch at Netherlands production house Halal, who is participating with the project Angels by Emma Westenberg.