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February 14, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: The Latest from Berlin -- Greenaway, Short Films and The Market

DAILY NEWS: The Latest from Berlin -- Greenaway, Short Films and The Market



by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE with a report by Mark Rabinowitz



>> BERLINALE 2002: Peter Greenaway Unveils Ambitious Project; Panorama Short Film Winners Announced; Kamera Prizes Awarded


(indieWIRE: 02.14.02) -- Four more days of screenings and parties are in
store for festival-goers here in Berlin. Competition films on tap over the
next few days include Ramon Salazar's "Piedras," Otar Iosseliani's "Lundi Matin," and the anticipated German entry directed by Christopher Roth, "Baader." The Forum, Panorama, Kinderfilm Fest, european 60's retrospective
and German film program screenings are offering attendees the balance of
screening opportunities.


Greenaway's Latest


Filmmaker Peter Greenaway is using the Berlinale and the European Film Market as the place to unveil details on his ambitious new project.
Greenaway is set to begin production late next month on the first movie in
"The Tulse Luper Suitcases" trilogy. According to an announcement, the
nine-week shoot will include visits to the UK, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy and
Hungary. Longtime Greenaway producer Kees Kasander is on board, with
international sales being handles by Fortissimo Film Sales. The company is
securing distribution deals for the project here in Berlin.


The trilogy is structured as a series of two-hour feature films, according
to the announcement. It covers sixteen episodes in the life of "professional
prisoner" Tulse Luper. According to the announcement, "'The Tulse Luper
Suitcases
' reconstructs the story of his life from the evidence of 92
suitcases found around the world between 1928 and 1989."


JJ Field ("Last Orders") is set to star as Tulse Luper, while other cast
members will include Don Johnson ("Nash Bridges," "Miami Vice"), Debbie Harry of Blondie, Rossy de Palma ("Pret-a-Porter"), Franka Potente ("Run Lola Run"), and Isabella Rossellini ("Blue Velvet").


According to the announcement, the project, pegged as Greenaway's most
ambitious, will encompass multiple media forms. Feature films will be
accompanied by a DVD with additional material and interactivity, while a 16
episode television series is planned, along with a four-year Internet
project. Summarizing, the announcement indicated, "The encyclopaedic size,
scope and length of the 'The Tulse Luper Suitcases' project is intended as a
response to the vibrancy of new visual languages."


Panorama Party and Short Film Winners


Tuesday night's big bash here in Berlin was a celebration at the Barenclub
in Adagio (on the lower level of the Berlinale Palast), celebrating the
Panorama section. Hosted by section chief Wieland Speck, the event offered
the presentation of short film awards, juried by Nicole Guillemet from the
United States, Margit Eschenbach from Switzerland and Fred Kelemen from
Germany.


The prize for best short film went to Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund from Brazil for "Golden Gate," while the jury gave a special mention to Safoura
Ahmadi
from Iran for "Jazireh." The New York Film Academy Scholarship was awarded to Garine Torossian for "Babies on the Sun" and the Prix UIP Berlin award went to Virginia Heath from Great Britain for "Relativity." The PRIX UIP award gives Heath 2,000 euros and places her in competition for the sort
film award at the 2002 European Film Awards, to be held in Rome on December
7, 2002.


Berlinale Kamera Prizes


Yesterday, Dieter Kosslick presented a special Berlinale Kamera prize to
director Constanin Costa-Gavras at the Berlinale Palast screening of his
competition film, "Amen." Joining Kosslick and Costa-Gavras (who was
celebrating his birthday) at the presentation was actor Armin Mueller-Stahl
(star of Costa-Gavras' "Music Box").


Earlier in the week, a Berlinale Kamera was presented to Dr. Volker
Hassemer
. He is a a former Senator of Culture for the City of Berlin and the
departing CEO of the city's promotion agency, Partner fur Berlin.


In other prizes, famed European actress Claudia Cardinale will be awarded a
Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement tomorrow. She will be in Berlin to
present a screening of Federico Fellini's "8 1/2" as part of the European
60's Retrospektive section of the Berlinale. Robert Altman was awarded a
Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement earlier this week when he presented his
latest film, "Gosford Park." [Eugene Hernandez in Berlin]



>> BERLINALE 2002: European Film Market Primer


(indieWIRE: 02.14.02) -- Another year, another European Film Market (EFM),
where hundreds of films and dozens of sales companies work to make the
filmmakers' dreams come true. As the deal making and festival screenings of
market films continue through the weekend, EFM screenings end today here in
Berlin. (A wrap-up of this year's market will be published in indeWIRE next
week.)


History and Logistics


In 1978, new Berlinale director Wolf Donner moved the event to a winter
slot, in which the Film Fair, as the EFM was then called, was born. In 1980,
another first-time director, Moritz de Hadeln, appointed Aina Bellis as the
director of the Film Fair. Eight years later Beki Probst, the market's
current director, took over and developed the event into the European Film
Market. According to the official Berlinale website, the EFM was designed
both to embolden the European film industry and to offset the huge influence
of the American Film Market (AFM), and the event has grown markedly over
the past several years. (Prior to taking over the Film Fair in 1988, Probst
was the Berlinale's delegate for Turkey and Greece, and organized a trade
show at the Locarno International Film Festival, where she remained on the
selection board until 1985.)


The EFM is headquartered in the lobby of the massive DaimlerChrysler Atrium
in Potsdamer Platz (adjacent to the Berlinale Palast). Sales companies are
positioned in booths packed with promotional posters adjacent to several
larger areas for geographic organizations, including Unifrance, Focus Italy,
German Boulevard and the most partying group of all, the Scandinavians (just
make sure you're in the vicinity when they get their yearly Oscar nomination
during the festival). Complete with 2 cafés, and oyster and whiskey bars,
the EFM is a convivial, even raucous place to do business.


Screenings have been held in the state of the art venues in the first-rate
Cinestar and CinemaxX multi-plexes. Ranging in size from 45 to 274 seats,
the theaters offer sellers and buyers a comfortable and professional setting
to exhibit and view potential product. Some of the theaters are also
equipped to screen films on a variety of video formats.


The Market-goers


As far as demographics go at the EFM, buyers and film festival programmers
(many of whom are now heading home as the week winds down) tended towards
European or North American, while the sellers and the films themselves run
the gamut from North Africa to Cuba to Kirghizstan. According to one
prominent European buyer, many of the same films will also travel to the AFM
(running Feb. 20-27 in Santa Monica, CA), but there the buyers shift a bit
to include more Asian and fewer European buyers, while also increasing the
number of American attendees. While some of the smaller companies or film
commissions focus on selling or promoting only a few films from a certain
country, some of the larger sales outfits, like Amsterdam/Hong Kong-based
Fortissimo Films (11 films), France's Wild Bunch (17) and Italy's
Intramovies (13) handle many movies from several territories.


Balancing out the sellers are the buyers and programmers who descend on the
EFM, hoping to find the rare gem to showcase at their festival or acquire
for theatrical release. All of the significant U.S. indies and mini-majors
have been represented here in Berlin, including United Artists, Cowboy
Pictures
, Strand Releasing, Lot 47, Miramax, Magnolia Pictures, Madstone and IDP. Festivals represented include Sundance, Rotterdam, New York, AFI Los Angeles, Seattle, Newport, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Montreal World, Vancouver, Chicago, Mill Valley, San Francisco, Urbanworld, Hamptons, and a wide array of Gay & Lesbian Festivals from around the world (including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and many more from the states).


All in all, the EFM is a massive undertaking. Amazingly enough, screenings
usually run on time and the projection quality is superb. And while the name
of the game at the market is buying, selling and programming, the atmosphere
is largely restrained, with most involved exhibiting polite sensibilities
and a genial willingness to share their champagne when (or if) it flows.
[Mark Rabinowitz]

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