Match Me, Locarno 2021: Players, Highlights
Art and Experience:
24 companies, all but five launched last decade, descend on Locarno from Aug. 6, mostly in person, to present their production slates.
Every market in international is its own story. So the projects they bring run a huge gamut. Following, a quick drill down on the companies and their banner titles. A second article, published later at Locarno, will look at some of the young indie sector’s major concerns and growth areas.
Kafka Films, Karolina Veetamm
Tallinn-based, focused on narrative and doc features, at Match Me with a slate led by a trio of socially-relevant titles: “Tell Me,” a “poetical documentary,” says producer Veetamm; women’s emancipation tale “Aurora,” from Andres Maimik and Rain Tolk; and “The Last Five,” a dark comedy about Tallinn homeless from Triin Ruumet director of 2016 dark comedy, “The Days That Confused,” a Karlovy Vary East of the West Special Jury Prize winner.
Alexandra Film, Marianne Ostrat
Straddling art-house and mainstream entertainment with its features to date – “The End of The Chain” (2017) and “Kids of the Night” (2021), both directed by Priit Pääsuke. Alexandra Films key play at Match Me will be Anna Hints’ debut feature docu “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,” which snagged Sundance Institute Documentary Fund production support this Spring. Overseas co-production helps to ensure international theatrical distribution and is one way to go, says producer Marianne Ostrat.
Controra Film, Alessandra Grilli
Launched by Alessandra Grilli in 2012, producing contempo, social-issue doc and fiction features, its credits take in Ivan Silvestrini’s Israeli redo “2night,” produced with RAI Cinema, and the Intramovies-sold “Alice della Città.” At Match Me with “The T Factor,” charting a Trieste-set journey of self-liberation and love between a transgender teacher and young Eastern student.
Kon-Tiki Film, Francesca Zanza
Rome-based, launched in 2020 by Andrea Porporati, Daniele Vicari and Zanza targeting a new generation of creators such as Pietro Porporati. His “Afa,” in development, looks like a kind of Rome-set “Short Cuts” but where family, not work, impacts lives.
Matrioska, Costanza Coldagelli
“We develop and produce projects that strike us by their vision and that reflect the complexity of human beings,” Coldagelli says. A full Locarno slate of three features and a series led in budgetary terms by the latter, “Fireworks,” from Susanna Nicchiarelli. An eight-hour fiction take on the final stretches of WWII, it is told from the imaginative and hopeful POV of a young protagonist, Marta.
Cardinal Productions, Reinis Kalvins
After “The Shift,” a tale of racketeering and taxi turf wars in post-Soviet Latvia, Cardinal founder Kalvins hails into Locarno with his second feature project as a director-producer, “Mine,” a “psychological horror mystery film,” he says, about a man attempting to find gold in his hometown’s reopened mine as he loses his sanity. The latest from Riga-based auteur producer Cardinal.
Tritone Studio, Raitis Ābele
“What if Richard Wagner met ‘Trainspotting’?” “Wagner and Satan,” the latest from Tritone, imagines the results depicting a modern-day Wagner aimed at presenting “a new look at the controversial composer.” Directed by Lauris and Raitis Ābele the movie’s the banner project at Locarno for the Riga-based outfit spearheaded by the three Ābele brothers, with Mārcis Ābele serving as DP on projects. Also in development is “Revolution,” made in lockdown and directed by Mārcis Lācis, the lead actor on the Ābele brothers’ most recent feature, “Troubled Minds.”
Afterschool, Klementina Remeikaite
Set-up in 2014 by director-cinematographer Laurynas Bareisa and producer Klementina Remeikaite, a co-producer on Toronto selected “Summer Survivor.” Now with three features in various stages of development or pre-production, headed by Titas Laucius’ relationship drama “Parade,” which charts a couple’s reconciliation as they go through divorce proceeding 26 years after separation.
Filmai iš toli, Marija Fridinovaite
A fledgling Vilnius-based production house focusing on the work of promising, young filmmakers. At Match Me, producer Marija Fridinovaite is moving its first feature film, “Opus No 1,” a narrative drama from Kamilė Milašiūtė. It turns on a 28-year-old youth center worker who crosses red lines when she connects with one of its teenagers. “Opus No 1” is scheduled for release in 2023.
Lava Films, Marta Gmosińska
A class act, producer of Malgorzata Szumowska’s Venice competition entry “Never Gonna Snow Again,”– “a career high” – and Magnus von Horn’s “Sweat,” “a poised, impressive drama,” according to Variety reviews. Given that C.V, at Match Me with one of its most anticipated dramas, “Wet Monday,” by first-time female director Justyna Mytnik, about a teen in denial of severe sexual abuse who is looking for liberation from trauma. Lava will be looking at Match Me for a second international co-producer and a sales agent, says producer Marta Gmosińska.
Silver Frame, Stanisław Zaborowski
Its key offering at the Swiss fest is “Trust Me,” Joanna Ratajczak’s doc feature on Alicja and Sebastian, a perfect couple, until Sebastian proposes an open relationship. The film asks “what challenges does a long-term and stable relationship have to face in the world of individualism, where we value personal development so much?” says producer Stanisław Zaborowski Grzybow who adds that co-operation with foreign partners is one of Silver Frame’s priorities.
Square Film Studio, Magdalena Borowiec
Lodz-based, launched in 2013. Producer Magdalena Borowiec will be at Match Me with “Bardo,” a free-wheeling paternity drama where a man sets out to find a mother for his future first child.
108 Media, Micah Tadena
The biggest company by a large head presenting at Match Me, a self-described fast-growing global content, financing and rights management company with a key focus on emerging markets and mergers & acquisitions and offices in Singapore, Toronto, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London (HQ), Manila and Kuala Lumpur. Behind 2018 Filipino shockfest “Eerie,” a box office chart topper in the Philippines and Netflix hit in international, Micah Tadena, will introduce online another Filipino chiller, “Inherit,” from vet J.A. Taken (“Banal”).
Epicmedia Productions, Patti Lapus
First presented at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival’s NAFF It Project, and now getting a second unveil online at Match Me, “Goliath,” an eight-hour horror series leads Epicmedia’s slate. It turns on an ad team on the verge of losing their jobs, burning the midnight oil at their office where they are haunted by malevolent and hungry thick black mist. The series attempts to capture the fear of unemployment, says director Dodo Dayao. “People are beginning to appreciate genre films of different kinds. One of the goals of our company is to provide alternative content for audience education,” producer Lapus adds.
HBE Philippines, Sarah Brakensiek
Producer of Loy Arcenas’ musical “The Portrait” – “a class act,” said Variety – Heaven’s Best Entertainment, which aims to inspire the public’s moral and spiritual values, will present at Match Me “Letter to Nancy,” a Thailand-set narrative, LGBTQ+ road movie to be directed by Paolo Martin Valconcha and Joris Fernandez. HBE’s Sarah Brakensiek will attend online.
BAP-Animation Studios, David Doutel
An Oporto-based animation studio, in Locarno with Doutel and Vasco Sá’s animated feature “Una,” charting a teen’s big city alienation.
Matiné, Luis Campos
A startup established by Campos, head of development at Portugal’s Bro Cinema, to produce his own projects as a filmmaker. His flagship Locarno project is his feature debut, a Matiné/Bro co-pro, “Dirty Land,” set on riverbanks in northern Portugal, where a boy follows in his father’s machista footsteps to impress the girl-next-door. The project was selected for 2020’s EAVE Producers Workshop 2020 and this year’s Sofia Meetings, Digital Production Challenge, Málaga MAFF Co-Prod Event and Brussels Co-Production Forum.
Persona Non Grata Pictures, Tathiani Sacilotto
Based out of Portugal and Brazil, and often working the Europa-Latin America axis, says producer Sacilotto. One case in point: “That Weekend,” Argentine screenwriter Mara Pescio’s awaited first feature as a director which debuts at San Sebastián’s New Directors this September. Also upcoming: Antonio Ferreira’s “Terra Firme” and Portugal’s first co-production with Georgia, “Guria,” from Levan Koguashvili whose “Brighton 4th” won best international narrative feature film at Tribeca this year.
Dvein Films, Carlos Pardo Ros
Madrid-based, the shingle behind María Antón Cabot’s “<3,” about a girl discovering love and sex in Madrid parks over summer, and Óscar Vincentelli’s experimental doc short “La sangre es blanca,” filming a bull fight with a thermal camera. Founded in 2017 as a collective, Match Me! titles take in Cabot’s sci-fi drama “The Sky on the Earth” and Gabriel Azorín’s buzzy “Last Night I Conquered the City of Thebes.”
Garde, Cristina Hergueta
Set up in 2017 by Hergueta, a production co-ordinator on “The Hanged Man,” by Manuel Gómez Pereira (“Between Your Legs”) and line-producer of “Los mundos sutiles,” from Eduardo Chapero-Jackson (“Sky Rojo”). Hergueta hits Locarno with two singular projects: “Presentes,” a literary, movie mash-up; and “The Horses,” an experimental title from Pedro G. Romero (“Nueve Sevillas”).
Maluta Films, Cristina Fraile
Created in 2008 by Fraile, a production co-ordinator for “Torrente’s” Santiago Segura and now a San Sebastian producer grounded in Basque realities. Her Locarno lineup bears this out with Ainhoa Gutiérrez del Pozo’s “Bones” (“Hezurrak”), about man and wolves and bears in the Basque Country; “Koaxi,” about a widow who takes over the family boat after her husband disappears at sea; and “Karen and Julia,” a “funny and emotional road movie,” says Fraile, directed by Iñaki Sánchez Arrieta (“Zero”).
Cosmik Pictures, Katie Dolan
Founded in 2018 by former Caviar TV and Black Dog Films exec Dolan and writer-director James Gardner. Latter’s first feature, “Jellyfish” premiered at Tribeca in 2018, with Liv Hill nabbing best performance in a British feature at Edinburgh that year. Dolan’s Locarno slate features three projects from Gardner led by body disposal comedy “Execution Dependent.”
Misfits Entertainment, Xenia Glen
Launched by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder and Peter Ettedgui with a high-profile line in doc features such as “Rising Phoenix,” which won two Sports Emmy Awards this year, and the double BAFTA-nominated feature doc “McQueen.” At Match Me with a strong doc lineup such as “Kafala,” about Filipino overseas workers living in London as modern slaves.
Sungazer, Lorine Plagnol
A young U.K. indie, founded by Oskar Pimlott and Lorine Plagnol in 2018 that “develops projects with a keenness for topics related to the variety of identities.” One case in point: “Dalton’s Dream,” the latest doc feature from Kim Longinotto, one of the U.K.’s preeminent documentarians, a 2009 Sundance Grand Jury laureate for “Rough Aunties,” and Franky Murray Brown. It turns on a young, gay man from rural Jamaica searching for love and acceptance after winning “The X-Factor.”
Plagnol will attend Locarno online.