Development Alliance 4: Mariko Minoguchi, Mo Harawe, Mo Scarpelli
Alliance 4 Development, a co-development initiative of film projects from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland hosted by Locarno Pro, has unveiled 11 titles selected for its 7e editing.
The majority of the projects will be directed by women, from Giorgia Wurth’s “Allegra” about a belated sexual awakening to Malina Mackiewicz’s “Bottom of the Ocean Electric Fish” and Mariko Minoguchi’s upcoming “Element.” The latter will address some environmental fears as a team of scientists try to ensure that the Earth’s water supply doesn’t suddenly disappear.
Minoguchi, who previously co-wrote the screenplay for Tim Fehlbaum’s “The Colony,” hopes to develop a German sci-fi film that “isn’t shy about big emotions or imagery,” she said, “that thought-provoking and thought-provoking and above all, it is a moving and awe-inspiring cinematic experience.
Great emotions will also fuel Manon Coubia’s “Songs of the Fallen Mountains”, with old lovers reunited on a mythical mountain, and Stéphane Riethauser’s “Orpheus” on a relationship between a young dancer and his choreographer.
“‘There is no love; there are only proofs of love. These words of Jean Cocteau will guide me to direct my first fiction feature film,’ he promised, the calling it “a film beyond labels, barriers and genres. A film that reminds us that the freedom to love is what is most precious to us. A film as proof of love.”
Thomas Woschitz will focus on the evolution of social hierarchies in “The Beginning of Gravity or the Fateful Journey of a Noble Family and Their Servants Across the Mountains”, described as a “baroque road movie”, while the questions “of belonging, identity and individual otherness” will be explored in “Der Fleck” by Willy Hans.
Loosely inspired by “Faust and the Vampires”, Vero Cratzborn will play with the genre in “Molecules”, a thriller about two twin sisters and their complex bond. Anchored in reality but slipping towards the strange, it will deliver “corporal horror close to us, brutal and frontal”.
Alliance 4 Development will also present the first film of “The Vincents”, aka Vincent Veillon and Vincent Kucholl, who will direct and star in “A Vampire in Ropraz”, starting in 1903 with a terrifying discovery that shocks a community to its core.
“It’s a powerful project, carried by a team which we know aims to reach a wide audience with a demanding auteur film”, observed producer Jean-Marc Fröhle, praising its international potential.
Mo Harawe will also cross borders, returning to her Somali roots in ‘The Village Next to Paradise’, while Mo Scarpelli will travel to western Kenya for ‘A Song That Slays’, in which she will explore an old myth.
“Whatever the subject or the context, the potential to forge partnerships across regional borders will be artistically and developmentally fruitful for anyone who has just stepped into the director’s chair of feature films for the first or the second time,” program organizers teased.
Finally, for the very first time, the selected projects will compete for the Alphapanda Market Breakout Award. Alphapanda, a film marketing agency founded in 2011, will provide the winner with marketing advice and the creation of a pitch deck worth €3,000 ($3,060).
“Applying a real marketing strategy to a film in development is essential and is often overlooked by producers,” said Mathias Noschis, founder of Alphapanda. Variety. The company is also behind the Prize for Public Engagement at the Village Industrie in Les Arcs and the Alphapanda Prize at the Marché du Film Cannes Docs.
“We hope this award will help the winning project find production and sales partners. We know the quality of the films presented at Alliance 4 Development and look forward to discovering the projects this year.
The Alliance 4 Development program will take place over three days (August 5-7) at the Locarno Film Festival.
Brief project profiles:
Real. Giorgia Wurth
A widow in her sixties, who has never had an orgasm, suddenly discovers her late friend’s secret: she worked as a prostitute. Today, Allegra has a chance to follow in her footsteps, despite everything she believed in. I was specifically looking for a story that would allow me to address a taboo: bodies that deteriorate and weaken but which, despite everything, throb with life and desire,” Wurth said. Nicola Bernasconi of Rough Cat produces.
“A song that kills”
Italy, United States
Real. Mo Scarpelli
Based on a myth about a girl who ate a poisonous flower to escape marriage to an old man, “A Song That Slays” marks Scarpelli’s fictional debut, following his remarkable documentary “El Father Plays Himself.” Described as a fable, it will take place within the Pokot community of western Kenya. “[It’s] an ode to girls who choose to face their own destiny by confronting taboos and ready-made narratives about women as perpetual victims, while exploring the violence and bravery inside of us too,” said the Italian-American director. Produced by Luigi Chimienti and Alessandro Amato (Dispàrte), the project is co-produced by Rake Films.
“The Beginning of Gravity, or the Fateful Journey of a Noble Family and Their Servants Through the Mountains”
Real. Thomas Woschitz
This “baroque road movie” produced by Gabriele Kranzelbinder and Barbara Pichler (KGP Filmproduktion), Woschitz and co-produced with Katrin Renz (Tellfilm), will take place at 17e century. A noble family sets out to cross the Alps with their servants, but a storm and the ensuing problems upset the existing hierarchy. It will explore “power and powerlessness, faith and knowledge, selfishness and altruism”, while featuring a score by Laibach: “Georg Friedrich Händel translated into a contemporary key”, added its director. on stage.
“Electric fish from the bottom of the ocean”
Real. Malina Mackiewicz
On an island in the Pacific Ocean, families are imprisoned in a refugee camp. Only people in need of urgent medical treatment, or pregnant women, are moved to the mainland – that’s what two teenage girls hope. “Despite the real circumstances that served as the initial inspiration, this political context is to remain in the background of an intimate film about the young girl,” noted Mackiewicz, pointing out that “the heart of the story is hidden in the private moments of adolescence”. .” Andrea Paris (Ascent Film) and Valeria Beraldo are producing.
Real. Willy Hans
The project, at an early stage of funding, will see a boy who – after escaping from boarding school – finds himself by a river with a group of strangers. Fortunately, he soon meets a girl and the two embark on their own adventure. Striving to explore the boundaries between individuality and community, Hans intends to “explore in a playful and humorous way the limits and possibilities of social interaction”. Produced by Julia Cöllen, Karsten Krause, Frank Scheuffele (Fünferfilm, also behind Locarno’s “Human Flowers of Flesh”) and co-produced with Michela Pini (8horses).
Real. Mariko Minoguchi
From Minoguchi, who impressed with his time-loop debut, “Relativity.” When Earth’s water threatens to disappear without a trace, a team of scientists are tasked with traveling to the mysterious source of the natural disaster. In Minoguchi’s sci-fi project, which will be shot in English and produced by Jorgo Narjes (X Filme Creative Pool), the goal is to “tell a story that can do justice to the visual standard of the genre and be done with a relatively low budget.” “Our advantage is that we don’t have to develop a new CGI alien, but use something we already know,” she said. “Water, an element that has a great cinematic potential.
“Songs of the Fallen Mountains”
Real. Manon Coubia
In her feature debut, Manon Coubia will continue her exploration of the mountain, “of those who inhabit it and haunt it”, focusing on a glaciologist and mountaineers eyeing a route on a newly collapsed mountain – including his former lover. Produced by Emmanuelle Latourrette (El Film) and co-produced with Coubia, Nicolas Rincon Gille and Jeremy Van der Haegen (The Blue Raincot), it will see “passionate characters who gravitate around this mythical place at a time when the building threatens to disappear” , said the director. Yoann Zimmer is selected to play.
“A Vampire in Ropraz”
Real. Vincent Veillon and Vincent Kucholl
Adapted from the work of Jacques Chessex, this “rural pulp” begins in 1903, when the body of a recently buried woman is mutilated. As the investigation progresses, it is difficult to identify the suspects. “It was the book that called for the project, and not the other way around. But then, how to tell the story of fear? Perhaps looking at it from the side, scrutinizing characters whose lifestyles might be even bloodier than a desecrated grave,” the directors note. Jean-Marc Fröhle (Point Productions) added: “‘The Vincents’ will propel this classic into their cinema galaxy!”
Real. Vero Cratzborn
To save her sister from a degenerative disease, Diane participates in the first clinical trials of an experimental molecule. But cutting the cord with your twin could be dangerous. “I want to resonate with our current fears,” explained the director. “In our society, addicted to the powerful pharmaceutical industry, bodies are exploited, borrowed, risked, cared for. In ‘Molecules’, bodies will speak more than words. Presented as a thriller, it will also be, according to producer Thomas Lambert (Tomsa Films), “a love story about fusion and loss, where saving becomes a trap”.
Real. Stephane Riethauser
Produced by Véronique Vergari (Luna Films) with Thomas Lambert in co-production, this tale of forbidden desire shows a link between the adolescent Léo and the much older Matthias, a choreographer who engages him in opera. They fall in love but a controversy erupts – Matthias is accused of exposing young dancers to pornography. “Music and dance are like love: they travel beyond words, revealing the unconscious and our animality”, said Riethauser. “A contemporary, intimate drama with epic overtones, ‘Orpheus’ offers a critical look at the norms and values that shape us.”
“The village next to paradise”
Real. Mo Harawe
Popular short filmmaker Mo Harawe from Somalia – who plans to work with local non-professional actors – will follow a Somali family and their daily struggles over the course of a summer in this feature film. “I want to be part of the growing but still very small film infrastructure in Somalia,” he noted, with his producer Oliver Neumann (FreibeuterFilm) adding, “The story gives us a glimpse into daily life in Somalia from an inside perspective, a life we only know – if at all – from a Western and superficial point of view. We see a great opportunity to place [Mo Harawe] as a new African voice in the international field of art and essay.