FNE at Connecting Cottbus 2023: cocoPITCH and cocoWIP Award Winners

By connecting cottbus

    COTTBUS: While the 25th anniversary edition of connecting cottbus (8-10 Nov 2023), the East-West co-production market at FilmFestival Cottbus, is still underway, the award winners out of the 13 cocoPITCH and 6 cocoWIP projects were already announced during a ceremony on 9 November.

    The cocoPITCH Audience Award went to the best pitch presentation of a project in development, voted for by all industry participants. The audience chose EXCAVATORS, presented by director Argyro Nicolaou and producer Constantinos Nikiforou (Caretta Films, Cyprus), who receive a cash prize of €1,500.
    This year’s cocoPITCH jury was comprised of Laurin Dietrich (WOLF Consultants), Paul Thiltges (Paul Thiltges Distributions) and Olena Yershova (Tato Film), who deliberated on three awards:
    The Avanpost Pitch Packaging Award was handed out to EXCAVATORS, presented by director Argyro Nicolaou and producer Constantinos Nikiforou (Caretta Films) from Cyprus. Romanian post-production outfit Avanpost will provide the project with in-kind services up to €15,000, which may include strategy consulting, the project look-book as well as production/post-production for a proof of concept. The jury decided “to give the award to a team who touched us with a personal, strong pitch that at the same time made clear how relevant and universal their film will be. A story of intergenerational trauma and how to find your own position to tell it.”
    The Croatian Audiovisual Centre presented the HAVC Project Development Award, a €5,000 cash award towards the further development of one project. It went to MY WORLD UPSIDE DOWN by director/producer Daniel Rihák and producer Martina Saková (WHAT IF Films, Slovakia & Projector23, Germany). The jury chose “a project that touched us with its courageous handling of a delicate topic, in a humorous and engaging pitch and teaser. We are convinced that this well-defined story with its heart in the right place will emotionally connect with audiences.”
    The Producers Network Award, consisting of free accreditation to the Producers Network at the Marché du Film in Cannes 2024, went to Victoria Mitreva (Portokal/Garti Films, Bulgaria), the producer of cocoPITCH project RESONANCE, directed by Yordan Petkov. The jury stated: “A Western with an East European sensibility, this project convinced us with a subtle and visually beautiful exploration of life in the tension between community and staying true to your own convictions.”
    The MIDPOINT Consulting Award went to three cocoPITCH projects, each receiving an in-depth script consultancy. The winners, announced by MIDPOINT‘s programme coordinator Soňa Morgenthalová, are AT YOUR SERVICE (presented by director German Golub & producer Evelin Penttilä/Stellar Film, Estonia), PYRRHIC (presented by director Cosmin Nicolae & producer Dana Boghean-Melconian/Icon Production, Romania) and TACTILE UNIVERSE (presented by director Szilárd Bernáth & producer András Muhi/Focus Fox, Hungary).
    The 2023 cocoWIP jury was comprised of Kathrin Kohlstedde (FilmFest Hamburg), Lorena Morín (MECAS Market/Splitscreen), Lukáš Moudrý (Studio Beep) as well as Waheed Zamani and Robert Wunsch of D-Facto Motion. They deliberated on two awards:
    Sponsored by German post-production studio D-Facto Motion, the D-Facto Motion WIP Award of €35,000 in-kind services plus €5,000 for additional expenses went to the work in progress BORDERWALL, presented by director Ignas Jonynas and producer Ruta Adelė Jekentaitė (Baltic Productions, Lithuania).
    BORDERWALL also received the Studio Beep Sound Post-Production Award, consisting of €6.000 in-kind services sponsored by the high-end studios based in the centre of Prague. The jury “are happy to award one movie with powerful cinematography, a mysterious character and a cage of birds. A gripping story that intrigued us in such way that we want to see it finished immediately.”
    Congratulations to all the winners!

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