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10 Films to Watch at TIFF 2021

Ten Films to Watch At TIFF 2021

admin   September 12, 2021


United Kingdom, 2021
English, 97 minutes

Kenneth Branagh

Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Colin Morgan, Jude Hill

Haris Zambarloukos

Úna Ní Dhonghaíle

Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik, Tamar Thomas

Production Company

Production Designer
Jim Clay

Kenneth Branagh

Simon Chase, James Mather, Denise Yarde

Writer-director Kenneth Branagh has described Belfast as his most personal film to date. It indeed is. Belfast, a black-and-white drama set in the late 1960s, is about a boy and his close-knit working-class family getting by in turbulent Northern Ireland. While young Jude Hill plays the lead, Dame Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe and Ciaran Hinds play his parents and grandparents. Branagh, one of the world’s most versatile actors, rewinds to his childhood and presents an affecting, delicate portrait of life amid the tumult of the period seen through the eyes of a child discovering music and other forms of self-expression. Belfast is being seen as a film with tremendous Oscar potential.     


United Kingdom, Germany, 2021
English, 111 minutes

Pablo Larraín

Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, Sean Harris

Claire Mathon

Sebastián Sepúlveda

Executive Producers
Tom Quinn, Jeff Deutchman, Christina Zisa, Michael Bloom, Maria Zuckerman, Ryan Heller

Juan De Dios Larraín, Pablo Larraín, Paul Webster, Jonas Dornbach, Janine Jackowski

Production Companies
Komplizen Film, Fabula Pictures, Shoebox Films

Production Designer
Guy Hendrix Dyas

Steven Knight

Original Score
Jonny Greenwood

Talking of the Oscars, one actor who is definitely going to be in the awards season mix is Kristen Stewart. She plays Princess Diana in Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, which pans out over one a Christmas weekend at the humongous Sandringham Estate. The three days out in the country off the Norfolk coast marks a major turning point for one of the most famous women in the world. The Princess of Wales takes a decision that liberates her from the life she had chosen and the price she had to pay over the years for being in the public glare day in and day out. For Stewart, it is a role of a lifetime. She nails it.    

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

United Kingdom, 2021
English, 111 minutes

Will Sharpe

Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, Toby Jones

Erik Alexander Wilson

Selina Macarthur

Executive Producers
Ron Halpern, Didier Lupfer, Dan MacRae, Julia Oh, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Stephenson

Guy Heeley, Ed Clarke, Adam Ackland, Leah Clarke

Production Companies
STUDIOCANAL, Shoebox Films, SunnyMarch, Film4, Amazon Studios

Production Designer
Suzie Davies

Simon Stephenson, Will Sharpe

Rashad Hall-Heinz, Richard Straker

Original Score
Arthur Sharpe

International Sales Agent

In Will Sharpe’s The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, Benedict Cumberbatch (who is also in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog) plays the eccentric Victorian-era British artist Louis Wain, best known for his surreal paintings of cats. In his advancing years, Wain, a skilled artist who had to support his widowed mother and five younger sisters, grappled with schizophrenia and was confined to mental institutions. Sharpe, who has also co-written the film, gives Cumberbatch all the room he needs to flesh out a vivid figure of great depth and range. He captures the upheavals of Wain’s life with aplomb. The actor brings alive a dynamic life marked by unsettling ups and downs and Sharpe’s directing technique keeps pace with the principal character’s emotional and psychological vicissitudes.      


United Kingdom, 2021
English, 137 minutes

Terence Davies

Jack Lowden, Peter Capaldi, Gemma Jones, Ben Daniels, Kate Phillips, Simon Russell Beale, Jeremy Irvine, Geraldine James

Nicola Daley

Alex Mackie

Executive Producers
Paul Ashton, Margarethe Baillou, Norman Merry, Lizzie Francke, Rose Garnett, Jim Mooney, John Taylor, Walli Ullah, Jack Lowden, Peter Hampden

Michael Elliott

Production Company
EMU Films

Production Designer
Andy Harris

Terence Davies

Stephen Griffiths, Andy Shelley, Adam Fletcher

International Sales Agent
Bankside Films

Terence Davis, one of Britain’s most accomplished filmmakers, delivers a biographical drama that goes way beyond the limits of the genre. This drama about the life of 20th century English poet and soldier Siegfried Sassoon mixes sustained solemnity with an immersive visual palette and impressionistic narrative devices. The younger Sassoon, who was decorated as a soldier but raised conscientious objections to the idea of war, is played by Jack Lowden, while the older avatar is portrayed by Peter Capaldi. Davies’ exquisite exploration of heroism and trauma relies more on storytelling that puts what is going in the mind of the protagonist ahead of what is happening around him.           

Huda’s Salon

Palestine, Egypt, Netherlands, Qatar, 2021
Arabic, 91 minutes

Hany Abu-Assad

Ali Suliman, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Manal Awad

Ehab Assal, Peter Flinckenberg

Eyas Salman

Executive Producers
Emilie Georges, Mathieu Delaunay

Amira Diab, Mohamed Hefzy, Hany Abu-Assad

Production Companies
H&A Productions, Film Clinic, MAD Solutions, Lagoonie Film Production, Key Film, Cocoon FIlms

Production Designer
Nael Kanj

Hany Abu-Assad

Ibrahim Zaher, Mark Glynne, Tom Bijnen

Original Score
Jeffrey Van Rossum

International Sales Agent
Memento Films International

Oscar-nominated Palestinian writer-director Hany Abu-Assad’s Huda’s Salon is inspired by true events. Shot in Nazareth and Bethlehem in the middle of the pandemic through several disruptions, the film is about a woman whose visit to her West Bank hair salon turns into a nightmare when the owner blackmails her and seeks to paint her into a corner. Huda’s Salon examines the repercussions of occupation on individuals coping with daily challenges in a hostile environment. The film is cast in the mould of a gripping thriller that probes betrayal and danger precipitated by the pressures of constantly living on the edge.

The Power of the Dog

Australia, New Zealand, 2021
English, 127 minutes

Jane Campion

Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Thomasin McKenzie, Genevieve Lemon, Keith Carradine, Frances Conroy

Ari Wegner

Peter Sciberras

Executive Producers
Simon Gillis, Rose Garnett, John Woodward

Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier

Production Companies
See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek, Max Films International, Brightstar, New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films, BBC Films

Production Designer
Grant Major

Jane Campion

Robert Mackenzie

Original Score
Jonny Greenwood

International Sales Agent
Cross City Films

Jane Campion returns to the big screen with her first feature since 2009’s Bright Star. The Power of the Dog, an adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel of the same name, also marks a return to the style and substance of her Oscar and Palme d’Or-winning The Piano. The Power of the Dog is the story of two brothers on a ranch in 192os Montana. Their already fraught relationship is thrown into further disarray when one of them marries a widowed single mother. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers another Oscar-worthy performance as a foul-tempered cowboy with too many unresolved issues for him to be at ease with the world around him. And, of course, Campion is back at the peak of her prowess.       

The Mad Women’s Ball

France, 2021
French, 121 minutes

Mélanie Laurent

Lou de Laâge, Mélanie Laurent, Emmanuelle Bercot, Benjamin Voisin, Cédric Khan, Lomane De Dietrich, Christophe Montenez, Grégoire Bonnet

Nicolas Karakatsanis

Anny Danché

Alain Goldman, Axelle Boucaï

Production Company
Légende Films

Production Designer
Stanislas Reydellet

Mélanie Laurent, Chris Deslandes

Cyril Moisson, Alexis Place, Cyril Holtz

Original Score
Asaf Avidan

Prolific French actor and director Melanie Laurent brings Victoria Mas’s novel Le bal des folles. World premiering at TIFF, The Mad Women’s Ball is about a 19th century Frenchwoman who is wrongly sent to a mental asylum. She plans to escape from her ordeal with the help of one of the nurses at the institution. The film has Lou de Laage in the lead role as a young, independent woman. The story is from over a hundred year ago and it deals with the birth of psychiatry. Its unflinching exploration of misogyny gives the film contemporary resonance while reminding the audience of the abuses that women have had to face at the hands of those who claim to be healers in a lopsided system that thrives on power and oppression.         

The Survivor

United States of America, Canada, Hungary, 2021
English, German, 129 minutes

Barry Levinson

Ben Foster, Vicky Krieps, Billy Magnussen, Peter Sarsgaard, John Leguizamo, Danny DeVito, Dar Zuzovsky, Saro Emirze

George Steel

Douglas Crise

Executive Producers
Joel Greenberg, Ben Foster, Danny DeVito, Steven Thibault, Ashley Levinson, Anjay Nagpal, Ron McLeod, Jason Cloth, Richard McConnell, David Gendron, Ali Jazayeri

Matti Leshem, Aaron L. Gilbert, Barry Levinson, Jason Sosnoff, Scott Pardo

Production Companies
BRON Studios, New Mandate Films

Production Designer
Miljen ‘Kreka’ Kljaković

Justine Juel Gillmer

Lon Bender

Original Score
Hans Zimmer

International Sales Agents
Endeavor Content, BRON Releasing

Another of the many biopics in the TIFF 2021 selection, Barry Levinson’s The Survivor dramatizes the life and times of Harry Haft, an Auschwitz concentration camp survivor who boxed with fellow prisoners simply in order to survive another day. The loser of every bout would be shot while the winner would live to fight another opponent. Haft went on to have a brief but eventful career as a pugilist in post-war Germany and then as a light heavyweight boxer in the US in the late 1940s. Ben Foster infuses the role with disquieting intensity as he brings alive a bruised and battered man who would not give up on life no matter what. The Survivor is as much about American masculinity as a celebration of one man’s will to live against all odds.

The Forgiven

United Kingdom, 2021
English, Arabic, Tamazight, French, 117 minutes

John Michael McDonagh

Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Saïd Taghmaoui, Christopher Abbott, Ismael Kanater, Caleb Landry Jones, Mourad Zaoui, Abbey Lee, Alex Jennings, Marie-Josée Croze

Larry Smith

Elizabeth Eves, Chris Gill

Executive Producers
Norman Merry, Peter Hampden, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Jack Heller, Scott Veltri, Kimberly Fox, Donald Povieng, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek, Lawrence Osborne

Elizabeth Eves, John Michael McDonagh, Trevor Matthews, Nick Gordon

Production Companies
House of Un-American Activities, Brookstreet Pictures

Production Designer
Willem Smit

John Michael McDonagh

Ivor Talbot, Robert Flanagan

Original Score
Lorne Balfe

International Sales Agent
MadRiver Pictures

British filmmaker John Michael McDonagh directs Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain (also in The Eyes of Tammy Faye) in The Forgiven, an adaptation of the Lawrence Osborne novel of the same name. It tells the story of a about-to-divorce couple on their way to a lavish weekend party in Morocco. They accidentally kill a man. It sets off a chain of events that reveals the workings of a privileged class too trapped in their ivory towers to see how damaging their insensitivity and sense of entitlement can be – to themselves and to those they ride roughshod over. A trenchant critique of bourgeois lives enlivened by a clutch of wonderful performances.      

A Banquet

United Kingdom, 2021
English, 97 minutes

Ruth Paxton

Sienna Guillory, Jessica Alexander, Ruby Stokes, Kaine Zajaz, Lindsay Duncan

David Liddell

Mátyás Fekete

Executive Producers
Deepak Nayar, Jeremy Baxter, Justin Bull, Patrick Fischer, Richard Kondal

Leonora Darby, Mark Lane, Nik Bower, James Harris, Laure Vaysse

Production Companies
Tea Shop Productions, Riverstone Pictures, Rep Productions 8 Limited

Production Designer
Sofia Stocco

Justin Bull

Alex Outhwaite

Original Score
CJ Mirra

International Sales Agent
Hanway Films

The only film by a first-time director on this list of recommendations, Ruth Paxton’s TIFF Discover title is a psychological horror drama built around three generations of women. A widowed mother is put through severe psychological stress when her teenage daughter announces that, following a flash of enlightenment, she feels that her body is no longer her own. Initially, the mother is inclined to dismiss her announcement as a sign of youthful rebellion or a momentary meltdown. As her new-found faith quickly strengthens its grip on her, the girl stops eating. The strange phenomenon compels her mother to look inwards in search of answers. This stunning debut film from the UK heralds the arrival of a promising female director.

Cannes Film Market

India at Cannes 2021

admin   July 5, 2021

The Virtual India Pavilion at Marche Du Film provides Indian delegates with an opportunity to meet and conduct business with leading members of the international film fraternity thus creating a global footprint for Indian Cinema. This is a one point contact for Indians at Cannes. The interactive sessions at the India Pavilion are the sought after ones. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in partnership with FICCI, is organising the India Pavilion.

The objective behind India’s participation at Cannes Film Market is to promote Indian films across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity so as to forge an increasing number of international partnerships in the realms of distribution, production, filming in India, script development and technology, thereby accelerating the growth of the film sector in India.

There are close to 100 online delegates from India at Cannes Film Market this year.

India has audio visual co-production treaties with over 15 countries — Bangladesh, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK & Northern Ireland, Bangladesh and Russia.

The 52nd Edition of IFFI 2021 will take place from November 20-28, 2021. The 9-day cinematic feast will embrace the works of a wide variety of filmmakers across the world with masterclasses and knowledge series. Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its pre-eminent position as a showcase of cinematic excellence. IFFI has remained steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema as well as in its commitment to the celebration of excellence across movie making genres.

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, acts as a single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through filming guidelines of key Central government Ministries and State governments. http://www.ffo.gov.in

Marathi cinema is the flavour from India at Cannes. Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation has supported half-a-dozen Marathi filmmakers to participate virtually at the Cannes Film Market. It has selected two films to represent at the Cannes Film Market – Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s ‘Bittersweet’, which examines the plight of sugarcane crop workers; and ‘Mee Vasantrao’ which is the biopic of Vasantrao Deshpande directed by Nipun Dharmadhikari.

Marathi Film

6th July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
The official opening of the Virtual India Pavilion

7 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Showcasing International Film Festival of India (IFFI)

5 pm – 6 pm IST / 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm CEST
Filming in India

8 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Co-productions: New markets, New possibilities

9 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Film Production: Challenges faced & learnt in making global films

10 July
3 pm – 4 pm IST / 11:30 am – 12:30 pm CEST
Taking Indian Content to Global Markets: Importance and role of film festivals in the age

Featured Post

Books at Berlinale 2021: 10 Books will be Pitched for Screen Adaptation

admin   February 8, 2021

The Berlinale Co-Production Market on March 4 will present ten high quality books especially well-suited to screen adaptation at “Books at Berlinale”. At the pitch event, which was initiated in cooperation with the Frankfurter Buchmesse and has taken place annually since 2006, current new releases and bestsellers take the spotlight within the film world. The presentation of the books by publishers and literary agents will be moderated by Syd Atlas, and take place online this year.

Books from publishers, literary agencies and authors from Germany, France, Finland, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Taiwan and the USA were selected from over 160 submissions to “Books at Berlinale”.

The spectrum of the chosen material ranges from thrillers, biographies and children’s books to love stories and dystopias. Among the books in the selection is the vivid and literally epic portrait of French resistance fighter Anne Beaumanoir (“Epic Annette”), for which author Anne Weber received the German Book Award in 2020. Other books included in this year’s selection are the absorbing Norwegian psychological thriller “Reptile Memoirs” by Silje O. Ulstein, and the stirring Dutch children’s and youth book “Notes to Pelle” by Marlies Slegers.

Film producers active or interested in the area of screen adaptation, as well as publishers and literary agents, can register for participation in the online presentation of the books by February 22 at books@berlinale.de.

As part of “Books at Berlinale”, a matchmaking event will take place on March 5 where selected representatives of publishers and literary agents meet film producers in individual online meetings.

“Books at Berlinale” will take place online on March 4 and 5 as part of the Berlinale Co-Production Market (March 1 – 5). Telefilm Canada is hosting the “Books at Berlinale” pitch, and the matchmaking event is organised in cooperation with the Netherlands Film Fund. As a conceptual partner of “Books at Berlinale”, the Frankfurter Buchmesse is also on board.

The Berlinale Co-Production Market (March 1 – 5, 2021) is funded by MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and Creative Europe – MEDIA programme of the European Union.

The following books were selected for “Books at Berlinale” 2021 (listed in alphabetical order of the presenting companies):

Epic Annette (Anne Weber, Germany), Agentur Kroll, Germany
Fatherland (Nina Bunjevac, Canada), Am-Book, USA
My Name is Selma (Selma van de Perre, The Netherlands), De Bezige Bij, The Netherlands
Belle Greene – May No One Discover Your Secret (Alexandra Lapierre, France), Editions Flammarion, France
The Confetti Flight Path (Marie-Ève Thuot, Canada), Éditions Les Herbes rouges, Canada
Reptile Memoirs (Silje Ulstein, Norway), Oslo Literary Agency, Norway
Land of Snow and Ashes (Petra Rautiainen, Finland), Rights & Brands Agency, Finland
Notes to Pelle (Marlies Slegers, The Netherlands), Shared Stories, The Netherlands
The Man with the Compound Eyes (Wu Ming-Yi, Taiwan), The Grayhawk Agency, Taiwan
The Double Puzzle (Holly-Jane Rahlens, Germany), Verlag der Autoren, Germany


Featured Post

Highlights: Berlinale Series Market & Conference

admin   February 8, 2021

From March 2 to 5, 2021, the seventh edition of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will present a top-notch conference programme, international showcases, a curated selection of commercially promising series under the newly created label “Berlinale Series Market Selects”, and regular market screenings. Like at the EFM itself, the screenings and conference will take place digitally, and will be structured to suit the virtual format. The “Mix and Mingle” format within the online version of the “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” will also provide networking for series industry professionals.

Dennis Ruh, EFM director: “With the ‘Berlinale Series Market & Conference’ we’ve again created a ‘market within the market’ where everything revolves around high-quality series content. Series professionals, industry experts and buyers will find numerous opportunities to learn about current trends and trendsetting developments, to discover commercially promising series recommendations, and to see the first images from 2021’s most important series from Germany and other countries. All of it concentrated and located in one place – the EFM website.”

Conference programme highlights: impact storytelling and narrative trends

The digital conference on March 3 will be opened in cooperation with the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, main partner of “Berlinale Series Market & Conference”. The official Berlinale Series programme includes the new series It’s a Sin by legendary British series creator Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer as Folk, Years and Years), and in his opening keynote conversation, he will talk about his wish to address complex subjects and make them accessible to a large audience.

In the masterclass “Social Impact Storytelling”, Maurício Mota (Wise Entertainment) will show how serial storytelling can change hardened perceptions and promote inclusion. Guy Bisson (Ampere Analytics) presents global narrative trends and current facts. In the discussion that follows, high-profile industry representatives will debate the influence of current world events on the detailed strategy of fictional content producers.

Series showcases from all over the world will complement the programme and present new productions and themes. Another high point will be the “Upcoming Series from Germany” selection, which gives insight into the newest German series: Para – Wir sind King (W&B Television, TNT Serie, WarnerMedia), Wild Republic (Lailaps Pictures / X Filme Creative Pool, MagentaTV / WDR / SWR / arte / One, Beta Film), Blackout – Morgen ist es zu spät (W&B Television, SAT.1 / Joyn, Red Arrow Studios International) and Terra Vision (WT) (Kundschafter Film / Sunny Side Up, Netflix). The complete programme will be announced in February.

Series available for online screening

The newly created special label “Berlinale Series Market Selects” highlights extraordinary series of high commercial potential within the “Berlinale Series Market” screenings. The selection – limited to 15 projects maximum – is made by the Berlinale Series committee. With a strong focus on new European productions as well as series from Australia, Russia and Canada, the twelve projects in total bearing the “Berlinale Series Market Selects” label exemplify the global and thematic diversity of the series market: Potential discoveries include crime stories and contemporary family constellations from Scandinavia; creator Albert Espinosa focuses on mental illness in the young adult series Alive & Kicking; and Keeley Hawes and Joanna Lumley grapple with smart houses and the bereavement process in Finding Alice. In the series Katakomben, from Germany, Munich’s surface and its underworld collide in explosive ways.

The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” is a joint initiative of the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market and Berlinale Talents, and is organised in close collaboration with Berlinale Series. The “Berlinale Series Market & Conference” takes place in partnership with Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, and is funded by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

“Series Market Selects” 2021

Aftertaste, Australia
Creator: Julie De Fina, Matthew Bate
Director: Jonathan Brough with Erik Thomson, Natalie Abbott, Rachel Griffiths
Production company: Closer Productions
Broadcaster: ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
World Sales: ABC Commercial
Episodes 1-3 of 6
When his latest outburst goes viral, volatile celebrity chef Easton West flees back to his hometown and tries to reinvent himself through an unlikely partnership with his 19-year-old pastry wunderkind niece.

Alfa (Grow), Denmark
Creator: Milad Avaz
Director: Milad Avaz with Lars Mikkelsen, Andreas Jessen, Sebastian Jessen
Production company: SF Studios Productions, Rocket Road Pictures
Broadcaster: TV2 Denmark, TV4 Sweden
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
A stockbroker remembers his family roots in organised crime and dives ever deeper into the world of Danish biker gangs. His ambition is only matched by the efforts of his brother, a drug enforcement officer, to save him.

Сны Алисы (Dreams of Alice), Russia
Creator: Anastasia Volkova
Showrunners: Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov
Director: Andrey Dzhunkovskiy with Alina Gvasaliya, Aleksey Rozin, Ekaterina Vilkova
Production company: 1-2-3 Production
Broadcaster: TV-3
World Sales: 1-2-3 Production
Episode 1 of 8
Teenage girl Alice lives in a small town where everything seems ordinary at first sight. She can’t wait to get away from it: the bullying at school, the fights with her mother – and the bloody premonitions that keep haunting her. But what if there is no way to leave?

Los Espabilados (Alive and Kicking), Spain
Creator: Albert Espinosa
Director: Roger Gual with Álvaro Requena, Marco Sanz, Sara Manzano, Aitor Valadéz
Production company: Movistar+ in co-production with Dynamo Audiovisual
Broadcaster: Movistar+
World Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 7
Four teenagers escape from a psychiatric institution. With a detective on their heels, they take on life with their very own wit, humor and charm – challenging our conception of sanity.

Finding Alice, United Kingdom
Director: Roger Goldby with Keeley Hawes, Joanna Lumley, Nigel Havers
Production company: Red Production Company
Broadcaster: ITV
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
The night Alice and her family move into the dreamhouse her husband Harry built, he has a fatal accident. His sudden death kicks up a storm of secrets, debt and suspicion which Alice is forced to confront in order to survive.

Katakomben (Echos), Germany
Creators: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Showrunner: Jakob M. Erwa, Florian Kamhuber
Director: Jakob M. Erwa with Lilly Charlotte Dreesen, Sabine Timoteo, Mercedes Müller
Production company: NEUESUPER
Broadcaster: ProSiebenSat.1, JOYN
Word Sales: Beta Film
Episodes 1 and 2 of 6
When a group of bored high-society kids meets the invisible lower class in the Munich catacombs, everything crashes.

Io ti cercherò (Standing Tall), Italy
Creator: Leonardo Fasoli, Maddalena Ravagli
Director: Gianluca Maria Tavarelli with Alessandro Gassman, Maya Sansa, Andrea Sartoretti
Production company: Publispei
Broadcaster: RAI
World Sales: ZDF Enterprises
Episodes 1 and 2 of 8
An ex-police officer investigates into his estranged son’s alleged suicide. With the help of old allies and facing the demons of his past, he risks everything to keep the promise he made to his only child.

Mon Fils (Son of Mine), Canada
Creators: Michel D’Astous, Anne Boyer
Director: Mariloup Wolfe with Antoine L’Écuyer, Élise Guilbault, Patrice Godin
Production companies: Quebecor, Duo Productions
Broadcasters: Club Illico, TVA
World Sales: Oble
Episode 1 and 2 of 6
18-year-old Jacob’s life is shattered by the sudden onset of schizophrenia. His once-bright future is irretrievably shaken by this unforgiving mental illness. As is his mother Marielle’s life, who won’t give up on her son and is determined to help him to get onto the road of recovery.

Outlier, Norway
Creators: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Showrunners: Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg
Directors: Ken Are Bongo, Arne Berggren, Kristine Berg with Hanne Mathisen Haga, Stein Bjørn, Eila Ballovara Varsi
Production Company: Shuuto Norway
Broadcaster: A Media
World Sales: REinvent International Sales
Episodes: 1 and 2 of 8
A criminology student returns to her home town in Northern Norway to throw herself into the investigation of what turns out to be a serial killer case.

OVNI(s) (UFOs), France
Creators: Clémence Dargent, Martin Douaire
Director: Antony Cordier with Melvil Poupaud, Michel Vuillermoz, Géraldine Pailhas
Production company: Montebello Productions
Broadcaster: CANAL+
Episodes 1-4 of 12
1978. Didier, a brilliant space engineer, is assigned a new task after his rocket launch went awry: As the head of GEPAN, he has to solve the many mysteries of UFO sightings and lead his team of misfits to efficiency and success.

Pørni (Suck it up), Norway
Creator: Henriette Steenstrup
Directors: Gunnar Vikene, Charlotte Blom with Henriette Steenstrup, Nils Ole Oftebro, Gunnar Eiriksson
Production company: Monster Scripted
Broadcaster: Viaplay
World Sales: TBA
Episodes 1-3 of 6
Pørni has two daughters, an irresponsible ex, a father and a nephew she took in after a family tragedy, a job in child welfare and a house and garden. Why would she have trouble finding time for herself – especially her love life?

Seeds of Deceit, Netherlands
Director: Miriam Guttmann
Production company: De Familie Film & TV
Broadcaster: VPR
World Sales: Dogwoof
Episodes 1-3 of 3
Documentary Form
Dr. Karbaat, a pioneer in artificial insemination, became subject to controversy when evidence accumulated that he used his own semen for the process. The documentary series portrays the shocking revelations and the people whose lives were affected by this.

Film Festivals & Markets 2020

admin   July 29, 2020

Locarno Film Festival
August 5-15

The 73rd Locarno Film Festival is reinventing its 2020 edition and has
developed a new initiative, The Films After Tomorrow, aimed at supporting
projects that aim to help filmmakers (10 international and 10 Swiss filmmakers) who had their projects put on hold because of Coronavirus pandemic. Locarno managed to raise $220,000 of prize money for The Films After Tomorrow initiative.

Hong Kong
August 26-29

Amid lockdown and travel restrictions, the Hong Kong Trade Development
Council has decided to migrate the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART) to a virtual platform. FILMART Online will take place from August 26-29 and Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum will take place from August 26-28. The virtual FILMART will enable buyer-seller meets, showcase content and seminars.

Venice International Film Festival
Venice, Italy
September 2-12

The 77th Venice International Film Festival will be a toned down physical festival. Around 50 films will be part of official selection on July 28. The main competition, Venezia 77, will feature approximately 20 films. All other titles in official selection will debut either in Out of Competition or Horizons sections. Venice Gap Financing Market will happen in virutal format.

Toronto International Film Festival & Market
September 10-20

The 45th edition of Toronto International Film Festival will take place September 10–19 with socially distanced screenings, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks. For the first time, TIFF will launch a digital platform, affording new opportunities to connect with audiences beyond Toronto. TIFF has partnered with Shift72 to develop this platform to host screenings and events.

Moscow International Film Festival
October 1-8

The 42nd edition of Moscow International Film Festival, Russia’s main international film event, is scheduled to run October 1-8. The objective is to promote cultural exchanges and mutual understanding among nations and to develop further cooperation among filmmakers of the world. It is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Federation and the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow.

JW Marriott, Cannes, France
October 10-11

MIPJunior 2020 will push beyond physical boundaries with its first ONLINE+ Digital Hybrid Edition. MIPJunior gathers the most influential buyers, commissioners, producers, development executives and distributors from the global Kids TV industry. MIPJunior is the perfect destination for producers to stand out and for buyers to discover the latest kids programming before sealing partnerships at MIPCOM.

Cannes, France
October 12-15

MIPCOM 2020 will push beyond physical bounaries with its first ONLINE+ Digital Hybrid Edition. MIPCOM is the world’s largest exhibition of studios and distributors, as well as the top showcase for content across all genres and platforms. A world-class market place where leading professionals gather to promote hit-defining content, strike distribution and co-production deals and network face-to-face with creative forces.

American Film Market
Santa Monica, California
November 9-13

The American Film Market will bring its 2020 edition online, said the Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®). AFM 2020 Online will run from November 9 to November 13. This year will be the 41st market. “AFM 2020 Online will give global film community opportunities that are always critical to our success,” said Michael Ryan, Chairman, IFTA and Partner, GFM Films.

Goa, India
November 20-28

Preparations for 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) have begun. Asia’s oldest event of its kind, IFFI still holds on to its pre-eminent position as a showcase of cinematic excellence. It has remained steadfast in its emphasis on showcasing the diversity of Indian cinema The festival will take place in limited physical and online format.

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Animation in the Age of Art & Tech

admin   July 20, 2020

Managing Paperboat in COVID-19 environment. Interview with Soutmitra Ranade, Co-Founder and Chairman Paperboat Design Studios

How did Paperboat adapt in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

This is a huge humanitarian crisis. Millions of people all over the world are going through perhaps the worst times of their lives. The element of fear also plays a terrifying role – how long will this last? Am I or my family safe? Are our jobs secure? Will there be a cut in our salaries?

These of course are the immediate fears. Then there are of course the larger fears– Where is this world heading to? What have we done with it? Is it destroyed beyond repair? Will our children always have to wear masks all their lives? Are we losing control over our lives?

But right now, very honestly, my priority is the 250 people who work with us in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. They and their families. So about 1500 people. We are responsible for them and have to ensure that at least these 1500 people have a comparatively easier life. Then each one also has dependents. They have their maids and their vegetable vendors etc. So it’s extremely important that we run our studio efficiently even in these terrible times, because it impacts so many people.

And since we don’t know yet when this is going to end, we must take a deep breath and take the calamity on the chin. Two days before the first lockdown was announced in March, we anticipated it and shifted all the equipment to people’s homes so that they could work from there. All the employees have co-operated with us. Believe me it’s been a big challenge but we have done well for the first four months. And I am sure we will get through these tough times.

Just before COVID-19 struck, Paperboat had planned to set up studio in Canada, Toronto…

Yes. Our Canada plans got delayed due to the pandemic but I feel that is nothing as compared to what so many had to suffer. I mean, we have to be realistic. This is a world crisis and honestly it doesn’t really matter if a studio gets delayed in some place. We have to see things in the larger context. There are more urgent matters that the world needs to concentrate upon right now. The delay has been disappointing but we are sure our Canadian studio will take off as soon as the pandemic is behind us.

What are the focus areas of Paperboat Studios in Canada?

Our Canadian studio is called UtSide Inc. and focuses on creating a synergy between art and technology and we want to develop ideas in various medias such as animated films, apps, VR/AI, physical interactive experiences etc. Our vision is to empower individuals in their formative years. We aspire to create worldwide communities that bridge geographical, linguistic, sociocultural gaps and strive for a world that is inclusive, compassionate and joyous. We have identified many projects and the work on them would begin hopefully by the end of the year.

Now that you have set up studio in Toronto, do you look at co-production opportunities? Canada has signed the largest number of co-production Treaties in the world. How do you see collaboration in this time of crisis?

It’s always a crisis that either brings people together or tears them apart. We as a world community need to take a decision which way we want to go. For us, these co-production treaties are not just documents or agreements between two governments. It is a partnership between two people, two cultures, two languages, two world views. And this union can be very exciting.

In a co-production project it’s the artists from one country working with artists from another country. I am very keen that my next project – an animated feature film based on Tagore’s Kabuliwala is not just an Indo-Canadian co-production. But we would like to work with artists from all over the sub-continent. Imagine a situation where the musicians are from Afghanistan, artists, designers, animators, voice actors from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Tagore after all belonged to the entire subcontinent. A collaborative film of this kind on Kabuliwala would be a true salute to the great man’s vision.

How do you plan to scale up Paperboat studios?

It’s very easy for us to go from 250 to 500. But that’s not the kind of scaling we want to achieve. For us the primary scale up would not be in numbers but in a constant pursuit of quality. With the three films that we have done recently we have shown to the world that we can do it in India. We want to break this perception about Indian animation being shoddy and low standard. If we concentrate on quality, and keep delivering path-breaking animation year after year, the scaling up will happen automatically. Afterall, everyone wants an artistic and efficient animation studio, even people from Europe and North America. We want them to come to us with great stories and we can create the animated world for them.

What are the current moves you are making for Paperboat’s journey to future?

Up until now, me, Aashish and Mayank have brought Paperboat to this stage without a single rupee of outside investment. We have put systems in place, have a very good client base, and are working for the top TV channels. As we now start work on our own IPs, we need investments. Big dreams need big investments and these investments may not always be counted in monetary terms. We are also looking for collaborations, partnerships and joint-ventures.

How has been the client response during the period? Do you see surge in pipeline?

Our clients are well aware of the situation and although they have their own pressures, which may or may not be in sync with our pressures but they all have reacted most positively to all our problems. We are talking to each one of them very regularly and updating them of the immense pressure that our team is going through. Many employees have shifted to their villages since the cities are not very safe. There are different challenges there. Internet speeds are ridiculous at most places. It takes hours to upload/download a simple file. But all the clients have been extremely understanding, and supportive. Actually it’s also got to do with intent. If we start using this pandemic as an excuse for our inefficiency then they will obviously see that. If the problems are real and if we keep updating them regularly then there need not be any friction.

Do you see acceleration for animation, VFX, gaming business going forward as there are challenges in live shoots and these verticals can help in storytelling?

I feel traditionally, the Indian mindset has always been a bit fearful of technology. We don’t invest enough in it. Even big stars and producers tell us proudly that for such and such film they have got the experts from Hollywood: for prosthetics, for VFX, for CGI and so on. I think they should actually be ashamed of themselves to even say this. Why can’t they invest in creating the talent here in India? They have the resources, they have the money.

Our films have primarily been driven by the star system. When you have a big star in your film, you don’t even need a script, forget about VFX and animation! That’s the mind-set that we have. But the star system is dead now. Infact it’s been dead for a while but they have somehow kept it alive through PR which won’t last for too long anyways.

Then they will have to turn to VFX and animation to get the eye balls. So primarily we will have two kinds of films: the ones with great, hard hitting content and then big spectacles with huge amount of VFX and animation. As far as gaming goes, I honestly think that we still have a long way to go.

What are the opportunities you see during this period for the AVGC (Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, Comics) sector in India? Also challenges?

I do think that the AVGC sector cannot be seen separately. The internet speeds that we have in India right now, the accessibility to technology, proper training institutes, and many other factors define our AVGC sector. It’s the entire ecosystem that matters. The government must recognise that this sector is a huge job creator. We must look at the taxation laws if we want to encourage this sector. I feel we have a huge opportunity. We have a vast young population that is willing to move towards this area as the traditional sectors like medicine and engineering etc., are beyond the reach of most people. Also, this is a very exciting world and the youth would naturally feel attracted towards it. We must make this movement easier for them.

You had expressed keenness in starting training and studio in Jammu & Kashmir?

Over the past many years we have had extremely talented youngsters from the valley, working with us at our studio in Mumbai. Unfortunately they had all done their animation courses from other parts of the country and it pained me that there is not a single good animation institute in the valley. It was a dream to start something there so that the locals don’t have to leave their wonderful environs to come and study and work in our rotten cities.

Animation is not just a medium of art, expression and entertainment but it also offers job opportunities in large numbers. With our institute in Kashmir, we also hope to start a branch of our studio, which will employ the artists graduating from the institute. The ultimate aim ofcourse is to produce animation films written, designed and directed by Kashmiri artists!

As a teenager in Kabul, I was witness to some of the most horrific armed struggles that the world has ever seen. In the following decades a most compassionate and loving people have been crushed to pulp and we don’t want Kashmir to go that way. I am sure art can heal.

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India Pavilion at Toronto International Film Market 2019

admin   August 20, 2019

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is taking a delegation to the Toronto International Film Festival beginning September 5, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. The film festival will also see an India Pavilion which will provide a platform to popularize Indian cinema in the overseas market and facilitate new business opportunities.

The Indian Media & Entertainment industry delegation to TIFF 2019 comprises of filmmakers, directors and producers, service providers among others.

This year four Indian films are being screened at TIFF, including The Sky is Pink directed by Shonali Bose (Galas 2019), Moothon (The Elder One) directed by Geetu Mohandas (Special Presentations 2019), Jallikattu directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery (Contemporary World Cinema) and Bombay Rose directed by Gitanjali Rao (Contemporary World Cinema).

The objective behind the participation is to promote Indian films across linguistic cultural and regional diversity so as to forge an increasing number of international partnerships in the realms of distribution, production, filming in India, script development and technology, thereby accelerating the growth of film sector in India.

The Indian delegation, through various interactions, will promote ease of shooting films in India through Film Facilitation Office (FFO) that facilitates Single Window Clearance for film-makers and provides the platform for ‘film tourism’ in India. The delegation will showcase India as a post-production hub, promote collaborations for films with international production houses and encourage Indian Panorama Films for sales and syndication.

India has its advantage at every filmmaking process. It has a strong domestic film industry across the country. More than anything else, India has access to world class technicians and equipment; amazing choice of locations to shoot any type of film. Skilled professionals are available across the country. India is gearing up for the 50th edition of International Film Festival Of India, Goa from 20 November to 28 November 2019.

The market potential for Indian content in Toronto is huge because of the strong presence of the Indian diaspora and great interest in Indian Cinema. India-Canada are in a co-production treaty and the delegation will explore opportunities to work on co-producing films with Canada.

With 1800 feature films produced in the country, more than 900 television channels, 600 million internet users, 4000 million smart phone users, India’s vibrant media and entertainment (M&E) industry provides attractive growth opportunities for global corporations.

India-Canada Audio Visual Agreement

admin   July 28, 2019

The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Canada (the “parties”),

Recognizing that quality audiovisual co-productions contribute to the vitality of the audiovisual industries of the Parties and to the development of their economic and cultural exchanges;

Appreciating that cultural diversity is nurtured by ongoing exchanges and interaction between cultures and that it is strengthened by the free flow of ideas;

Recalling that, in pursuit of international cooperation, the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions, done at Paris on October 20, 2005, encourages the conclusion of co-production agreements as a means to promote international cooperation;

Agreeing that these exchanges will enhance relations between the Parties;

Recognizing that these objectives may be achieved by granting domestic benefits to qualified audiovisual co-productions;

Have agreed as follows:


For the purposes of this Agreement:

(a) “administrative authority” means, for each Party, the authority which administers the application of this Agreement;

(b) “audiovisual” means film, television, and video projects made on any production support, existing or future, for any distribution platform intended for viewing;

(c) “Canadian elements” are expenditures made in Canada by the Canadian producer or expenditures on Canadian creative and technical personnel made in other States by the Canadian producer in the course of the production of a work;

(d) “competent authority” means, for each Party, the delegated authority responsible for the negotiation and implementation of this Agreement;

(e) “distribution or broadcasting” means the public exhibition or showing of an audiovisual work;

(f) “Indian elements” are expenditures made in India by the Indian producer or expenditures on Indian creative and technical personnel made in other States by the Indian producer in the course of the production of a work;

(g) “national” means a natural or legal person having a legal relationship which connects that person to a State and which confers to that person, under the law of that State, the right to benefit from the application of the relevant provisions of this Agreement;

(h) “non-party” means a State which does not have a coproduction Agreement or memorandum of Understanding with either Party;

(i) “producer” means a national managing the production of a work;

(j) “third-country” means a State which has a co-production Agreement or memorandum of Understanding with at least one of the Parties;

(k) “work” means an eligible audiovisual work to be subsequently recognized as an official co-production by each Party and includes every version thereof.


A Party shall treat every work as its own production, and to that extent, make it eligible for the same benefits as those available to its audiovisual industries.

  • Each Party shall grant the benefits referred to in paragraph 1 to the producers of a work who are its own nationals.
  • Each Party shall strive to achieve overall balance on the financing of works co-produced over a period of five years.


A work shall be jointly produced by producers of both Parties.

In addition to producers of Canada and India, third-country producers may also participate in a work.


The share of work expenditures spent on Canadian elements and on Indian elements respectively shall be in reasonable proportion to the producers’ respective financial contribution.

The administrative authorities may, by mutual consent in writing, recommend exemptions from paragraph 1, notably for storyline and creative purposes.


Subject to paragraph 2, a participant in a work shall be a national of one of the Parties.

The administrative authorities may by mutual consent in writing grant exemptions from paragraph 1 notably to allow third-country nationals or non-party nationals to participate in a work for storyline, creative, or production purposes.


Subject to the Parties’ respective legislation and regulations, the Parties shall facilitate the following:

(a) The temporary entry into and residence in their respective territories of the creative and technical personnel and the performers engaged by the producer of the other Party for the purposes of the work;

(b) The temporary entry and re-export of any equipment necessary for the purposes of the work.


The Parties shall ensure that the sharing of copyright and revenues between the producers is, in principle, proportional to their respective financial contribution in accordance with the respective requirements of the Parties.


Each Party shall verify that its producer demonstrates the existence of a distribution or broadcasting commitment in each other’s territory and, if third-country producers are involved in the work, in the territory of each of the third country producers.

The administrative authorities may by mutual consent in writing, accept an alternative distribution commitment in lieu of the commitment described in paragraph 1, provided that the producers of a work demonstrate that this alternative commitment exists.


Each Party shall ensure that its producer promptly advises its administrative authority of any material change to a work that may affect its qualification for benefits under this Agreement.


Each competent authority shall promptly advise the other of any amendment or judicial interpretation of domestic law that may affect benefits available under this Agreement.


The Annex to this Agreement is for administrative purposes and is not part of this Agreement.

The Annex may be modified by the competent authorities by mutual consent in writing, provided that the modifications do not conflict with this Agreement.


Meetings will be held as needed between representatives of the competent authority of each Party, to discuss and review the terms of this Agreement.

The Parties may amend this Agreement by mutual consent in writing. The amendments shall enter into force on the date of the last written notification that domes tic procedures necessary for the entry into force have been completed by the Parties.


A Party shall not discontinue benefits conferred on a work pursuant to this Agreement for a period of two years following the termination of this Agreement.


Any dispute arising out of the interpretation, application or implementation of any provisions of this Agreement shall be settled consensually through consultation and negotiation between the Parties.


Each party shall notify the other Party in writing of the completion of its internal procedures required for the entry into force of this Agreement. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the first month following the later notification.

This Agreement shall remain in force for a period of five years from the date of entry into force.

Subject to paragraph 4, this Agreement shall renew automatically at the end of five years from the date of entry into force and at the end of every subsequent five-year period.

A Party may give notice to the other Party in writing of its intention to terminate this Agreement. This notice shall be given no less than six months before the end of the fifth year following the entry into force, or before the end of any subsequent five-year period, in which case this Agreement shall terminate at the end of that five-year period.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned, being duly authorized by their respective governments, have signed this Agreement.

Done………………..on the………….day of ………. 2014…. ………, in duplicate, in the English, French and Hindi languages, each version being equally authentic.

For and on Behalf of the Government of the Republic of India

For the Government of Canada


This Annex is for administrative purposes and is not part of the Audiovisual Co-production Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of Canada (the “Agreement”).


Unless otherwise specified, the definitions of the Agreement apply.

For the purposes of this Annex:

“dubbing” means the production of any version in a language other than the original language or languages of the work.


(a) The financial contribution of the producers of each Party will be decided by arrangement between the producers, and will be between 20 per cent and 80 per cent of the total production budget of the work.

(b) The third-country producer(s) involved in a multi-party work will contribute a minimum of 10 percent of the total production budget of that work.


(a) The creative and technical contribution of the producers will be in reasonable proportion to their respective financial contribution, and in accordance with the requirements of the respective Parties.

(b) The creative and technical contribution of each thirdcountry producer involved in the work will be in reasonable proportion to their respective financial contribution.

(c) The Parties, through their administrative may by mutual consent in writing exemptions from paragraphs (a) and (b), storyline and creative purposes. authorities, recommend notably for


(a) Subject to paragraph (b), a work will be shot in the territory of either Party and may also be shot in the territory of a third-country producer.

(b) The administrative authorities may, by mutual consent in writing, allow a work to be shot in the territory of a third country or a non-country for a storyline and/or creative reasons.

(c) All or part of the technical services of a work will be provided in the territory of either Party or in the territory of a third-country producer.


(a) Subject to paragraph (b), all dubbing services will be performed in the territory of one of the Parties or of a third-country producer.

(b) Where a producer can reasonably demonstrate that the necessary capacity does not exist in the territory of either Party or of a third-country producer, the administrative authorities may by mutual consent allow the dubbing to be performed elsewhere.


The provisions of this Annex may be modified by mutual consent in writing of the competent authorities provided that these modifications do not conflict with the Agreement.