Sunday, May 3, 2009

German Coproductions Heavily Represented in Cannes This Year

Direct from German Film

Germany seems to already be the winner for having the most coproductions represented in the Cannes Film Festival and its sidebars.

Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux has announced this year's selection for the Official Program. The Berlin production company X-Filme Creative Pool is pleased about the invitation to the Competition for The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) by the Munich-born director Michael Haneke (a German-Austrian-French-Italian coproduction). The film tells the story of a school and church choir led by the local teacher in a village in Germany's Protestant North on the eve of the First World War. Strange accidents occur and increasingly assume the character of ritual punishments.

Zehnte Babelsberg Film, a division of Studio Babelsberg AG, is the German producer of the competition entry from Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds (a US-German coproduction). The film combines the story of the young Shosanna, whose family are killed by the Nazis in occupied France, with that of a group of Jewish-American soldiers who are on a joint mission to eliminate the leaders of the Third Reich.

Also screening in this year's Competition is Lars von Trier's Antichrist (a Danish-German-French-Swedish-Italian coproduction). It is the story of a couple in mourning who retreat to an isolated forest cabin after the death of their son. They hope to use this time there to overcome their grief and be able to save their rocky marriage. The film's German co-producer is Zentropa International/ Cologne, with Heimatfilm/ Cologne as service producer.

The Israeli-French-German coproduction Jaffa by Keren Yedaya will be shown in the Official Program's Special Screenings . The German producer is Rohfilm/ Berlin&Leipzig. The film tells the story of Jewish Mali and the Arab worker Taufik, whose secret love affair is met by great difficulties when Mali accidentally gets pregnant.

The co-production Eyes Wide Open by Haim Tabakman (Israeli-German-French) will be presented in the Official Program's Un Certain Regard . Riva Film/ Hamburg is the German co-producer of the film which recounts a gay love story in Jerusalem doomed because of social and religious barriers

Independencia by Raya Martin (a French-German-Philippine coproduction) and The Wind Journeys (Los Viajes del Viento) by Ciro Guerra (a Colombia-German-Dutch coproduction) can also be seen in this section, both co-produced by Germany's Razor Film Produktion/ Berlin. In his film, Raya Martin tells the story of a family in the Philippines during the American occupation at the beginning of the 20th century, who retreat into the jungle to escape the fighting. The mountains offer them protection from the threatening human powers, and they once more follow the practices of their ancestors. However, the war approaches ever relentlessly and a decision has to be made..

The Wind Journeys is the story of the old musician Ignacio, who swears after his wife's death to never touch his beloved accordion ever again. Together with the young Fermin and a donkey, he sets off on a journey to the north of Colombia to return his legendary, but also cursed accordion to his teacher. Their arduous journey leads Ignacio and Fermin through the various (musical) landscapes of Colombia, and Ignacio is regularly forced to play his accordion “just one last time” ...

27 Films Production/ Berlin, is the German producer of Le pere de mes enfants by Mia Hansen-Løve (a French-German coproduction), which is also invited to Un Certain Regard. The film relates the last weeks in the life of film producer Grégoire Canvel before his suicide and the first weeks of mourning experienced by his wife and their three daughters. It is a film about commitment, loneliness, love and stoicism.

The Critics’ Week will be presenting Cologne-based Pandora Film's co-production Huacho by Alejandro Fernández Almendras (a French-Chilean-German coproduction). With a winning mixture of candour and simplicity, Huacho describes a day in the life of four members of a peasant family who live on the outskirts of Chillán (in the South of Chile).

Altiplano, the first breakout film of Helen Loveridge's new international sales agency Meridiana by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth (a Belgian-German-Dutch coproduction), co-produced by fiction/ Leipzig&Berlin, will also be screened in this section. A war photographer loses her soul in Iraq. An Andean bride sacrifices herself in a protest against the mining industry. Their fates come together on the Altiplano... Altiplano is a lyrical and probing film about our divided but inextricably linked world.

Another co-production in the Critics’ Week is Lost Persons Area by Caroline Strubbe (a Belgian-Dutch-Hungarian-German coproduction), ZDF/Arte and Network Movie/ Cologne are the German partners. Lost Persons Area tells a sensitive story about people – lost in their fear of rejection. Two men work together on the maintenance of power lines. They are best friends, with one secretly in love with the other’s wife. They live a dull but happy life until an accident changes everything…

Also screening in this section is the short Together by Eicke Bettinga (a German-UK coproduction), Piggott-Bettinga Filmproduktion. It is the story of a young man having to deal with his brother's early death and its repercussions on his family.

This year will also see the Critics’ Week presenting the results of the workshop for European filmmakers CINETRAIN. Filmmakers from different countries worked together on six shorts on a specific subject. Florian Krebs from Germany is one of the three directors of the short McRussia.

The Directors’ Fortnight also announced its program. The Israeli-German coproduction Ajami by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani will be shown here. German coproducer is Berlin based Twenty Twenty Vision Filmproduktion. Ajami is the untold story of the walled-in city of Jaffa, on the outskirts of the Palestenian-Israeli conflict, where violence and hatred are daily reality.

For further information, please contact Mariette Rissenbeek,

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