Two working-class women fight for freedom and their own identity against a dystopian patriarchal society in Cora, an upcoming project from Greek director Evi Kalogiropoulou, which has won the 2021 CineMart co-production award of the Rotterdam film festival.
Kalogiropoulou and Greek production house Neda Film will receive $24,000 ($20,000) in development cash to go towards completing Cora, which is planned as Kalogiropoulou’s directorial debut. The filmmaker’s short film Motorway 65 was in official competition at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival in October.
The co-production prize, handed out by CineMart together with the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund, is awarded to the most promising project at the Rotterdam market that is being set up as a European co-production. Cora was picked from the 17 international projects pitched at this year’s CineMart.
The Rotterdam industry event, which in the past has given kickstart funding to such projects as Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, was held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
CineMart’s ArteKino International Award, which comes with $7,200 (€6000) in development funding, went to A Dutiful Wife, described as a “feminist psychological thriller” by London-based filmmaker Haolu Wang. Wang plans to produce A Dutiful Wife together with China’s Factory Gate Films and to shoot the feature entirely in China.
“The project is universal, it deals with the human condition and in particular with women’s rights.,” noted the CineMart jury. “It is the story of a psychiatrist whose missing husband appears to be locked in her wardrobe.”
The $6,000 (€5,000) Wouter Barendrecht Award went to Dutch project De Maalstroom from director Teddy Cherim, which Graniet Film is producing. The award, named after the late Fortissimo Films founder and former CineMart head Wouter Barendrecht, goes to a project from a director under 35 who has not directed more than three films.
Finally, CineMart’s Filmmore Post-Production Award, with its $9,000 (€7,500) bursary earmarked for visual effects and post-production, went to Kabul Jan, from director Shahrbanoo Sadat. The movie, a romantic comedy set in Afghanistan, is based on the autobiographical work of Anwar Hashimi, who with Sadat co-wrote the screenplay. Adomeit Film is producing through its operations in Germany and Denmark together with Kabul-based Wolf Pictures. The film is set in Kabul’s largest private TV station and follows a forbidden romance between a young woman and an older, married, man.
“The jury was immediately drawn to this project, not least because it was rare to see a comedy [from this region],” the CineMart jury said in a statement. “As director Shahrbanoo Sadat puts it: Afghanistan deserves to be seen differently and it is a duty to do so.”
CineMart and Rotterdam’s Pro Days program was held Feb. 1-5. The online version of the 50th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFRR) runs through Feb. 7.
Stubbornly high coronavirus infection rates in the Netherlands forced Rotterdam to split up the celebrations for its 50th-anniversary event. The Dutch port city plans to hold an in-person, public festival this summer, which is set for June 2-June 6.