Venice MENA WIP Projects; New Canada-UK Immersive Storytelling Initiative; NFTS Expansion Gets $4M Funding; San Seb Start-Up Lab – Global Briefs

Venice Golden Lion
Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Venice Film Festival

The Venice Film Festival’s industry-focused Production Bridge had unveiled the line-up of projects that will take part in its ‘Final Cut In Venice’ workshop this year. The six films all hail from the MENA region. There are three fiction projects: Hadjer (Algeria, France) by Anis Djaad and Alegria Productions; Harvest (France, Lebanon, Belgium, Qatar, USA) by Ely Dagher and Andolfi; and Soula (Algeria, France) by Salah Issaad and Issaad Film Productions. They are joined by three documentaries: Guardian Of The Worlds (France ,Tunisia) by Leïla Chaïbi and L’image d’après; Our Choices (Syria, France, Qatar) by Salah Al Ashkar and Caractères Productions; and The Blue Inmates (Lebanon) by Zeina Daccache and  Catharsis-Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy. Those projects will compete for a variety of awards that will aid them in the post-production process.

The first edition of a new immersive talent development lab and co-production fund for UK and Canadian artists and filmmakers is set to launch with its debut cohort of participants in November 2020. The program is the first of its kind and will have a fund of $400,000 (£300,000) on offer to back new forms of immersive storytelling across mediums including theater, games, TV, film and other forms of digital. The initiative will run for a year, inviting a total of 24 creators from Canada and the UK to collaborate on projects. It is being overseen by StoryFutures Academy (run by the National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway, University of London), Arts Council England, the Canada Media Fund, The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and the Canada Council for the Arts.

The UK’s National Film & TV School has received $4M (£3M) in funding from the government’s Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership for its planned expansion. “This investment will be essential in helping the world leading National Film and TV School grow and support the next generation of iconic film-makers and creative talent,” said David Puttnam, NFTS president. “The NFTS is one of our genuinely world-class creative sector organizations, and the proposed expansion will ensure it continues to provide an unrivalled film education to students from all around the world, and enhance the UK’s reputation for filmmaking from our Buckinghamshire headquarters.” The expansion plans include enhanced teaching facilities and capacity, and a Creative Industries Skills Academy, which is aiming to improve social mobility within the creative industries.

San Sebastian Film Festival has selected five start-up ideas to take part in its  Zinemaldia Startup Challenge lab designed to help business ideas for new technologies in the audiovisual field. The projects, whittled down from 40 entires, hail from Spain, UK, Norway and Germany and will compete for an award of €10,000 and access to a year of incubation space at one of the Business Innovation Centers, plus access to further funding. They are: ‘AI-Driven Video Editing Platform’, a British app using artificial intelligence to automate video creating and editing process; ‘Cinesmart’, a Catalan platform based on advergaming and aimed at cinema exhibitors which uses big data; ‘Compliance Management Solution for the Film and TV Industry’, a Norwegian platform based on artificial intelligence and machine learning intended to enable fulfilment of the regulatory policies in different territories; ‘FilmChain’, an application with blockchain technology by a UK company which facilitates financial transactions between the different players in the audiovisual field; and ‘La Quinta Pared’, a mobile app developed in Germany where the user’s mobile becomes the mobile of the person playing the lead part in a film to encourage the development of interactive transmedia narratives.

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