Panorama of Mediterranean cinema, the Cinemed festival in Montpellier, whose 45th edition ended on Saturday, is also a crucible where young talents take their first steps before returning to the top of the bill for the luckiest or persevering .
Saturday October 28, the film “Dark Night in Anatolia” by Turkish director Özcan Alper won the Golden Antigone on Saturday for best fiction feature film. It tells the story of Ishak, a man who receives a call from his village where he has not been for a long time, because his mother is ill and wants to see him before she dies. The film was in competition with eight Tunisian, Moroccan, Israeli, French or Italian productions, four of which had been presented in recent years at the Cinemed “Development Aid Grant”. The latter made it possible to support 109 film projects, 50 of which actually saw the light of day on all shores of the Mediterranean. “It’s a function that festivals did not originally have, to be an intermediary and to encourage the emergence of films,” explained Cinemed director Christophe Leparc. “We realized that what was important was that the authors of film projects which were not necessarily completed had to have money to allow themselves to continue writing and to complete the script,” he added. In his early days, Marseille filmmaker Robert Guédiguian defended a project in Montpellier, well before being received as guest of honor during the 40th edition in 2018, also underlines Christophe Leparc.
Also read: Cinémed Festival: Tunisian thriller Ashkal wins the Golden Antigone
In 2019, French director Karim Bensalah won a grant for his first feature film “Six Pieds on Earth”. “It’s something to come back to this festival that saw me born,” he said on Wednesday October 25 in front of a packed house during the official competition presentation of the film. Then he added, “This scholarship was decisive because it allowed me to work on the script, but also to do scouting and find actors, from Roubaix to Nice.”
The three other films supported this year were “Excursion”, by the Bosnian Una Gunjak, “Anna” by the Italian Marco Amenta and “Backstage”, by the Moroccan Khalil Benkirane and the Tunisian Afef Ben Mahmoud. The authors of 14 still unfinished feature film projects had paraded in recent days one after the other in front of a sometimes harsh jury in a meeting room of a hotel near the festival. They had half an hour to convince the four professionals, producers or distributors, of the benefit of giving them a helping hand. “Wouldn’t you put the immolation scene first rather than at the end? And why don’t your two characters sleep together?”, asked a member of the jury to Algerian director Amel Blidi, who is defending a road movie bearing the name of her heroine in search of freedom, “Mimouna”. “For Algeria, my film goes very far, but here perhaps not enough,” argued the young woman, before confiding, as she left the theater: “It’s good to be confronted with this guy reactions, it's interesting. Lebanese director Katia Saleh and her producer Nadine Naous also had the impression of being “shaken” during their grand oral, they said during the scholarship ceremony. The 4,000 euros that they nevertheless received should allow them to complete the script and the dialogues of their black comedy “Death will not have me alive”. “The Hearse of Happiness”, a project by Palestinian director Wisam Al Jafari, received a grant of 8,000 euros from the National Center for Cinema and Animated Images (CNC). He had to defend his project by videoconference, prevented from traveling due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas in Gaza. The Antigone d'Or jury also awarded a mention to the film by Israeli director Dani Rosenberg “The Deserter”, the fictional story of an Israeli soldier “trying to flee the battlefield in Gaza”.