Two International Co-Productions funded by Filmstiftung NRW at Venice Film Festival
- Competition: "Never Gonna Snow Again" by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert
- Giornate degli Autori: "The New Gospel" by Milo Rau
- 77th Venice International Film Festival: first international festival after the lockdown
The 77th Venice International Film Festival is the first 'A' festival after the lockdown – with over 50 films, a red carpet and two outdoor arenas – and two international co-productions funded by Filmstiftung NRW. It has just been announced that the Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska will be participating in this year’s Competition with the Filmstiftung-funded feature film "Never Gonna Snow Again", co-directed by Michał Englert. The film is a co-production by Cologne-based Match Factory Productions with Poland’s Lava Films. The two-time Bear-winner Szumowska has had a long-standing collaboration with the Filmstiftung, which now spans four film projects.
It had already been reported that Milo Rau’s "The New Gospel" (prod co: Fruitmarket) was invited to screen in Giornate degli Autori sidebar. This documentary is already the Filmstiftung’s third collaboration with Milo Rau.
"We are very pleased about the invitation from Venice for two Filmstiftung-funded productions! Congratulations to the teams of 'Never Gonna Snow Again' and 'The New Gospel'," says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. "The fact that Venice is leading the way after the lockdown, with both the film festival and the film market taking place, is a sign of hope for the whole industry!"
"Never Gonna Snow Again" (Competition)
Małgorzata Szumowska, who directed and wrote the screenplay together with Co-Director and DoP Michał Englert, once more delivers an entertaining and profound social satire on today’s Poland in "Śniegu już nigdy nie będzie" (original title). A masseur from the East enters the lives of the rich residents of a bland, walled off community. Despite their wealth, the residents emit an inner sadness, a longing. The mysterious newcomer’s hands heal, his eyes seem to penetrate their souls. To them, his Russian accent sounds like a song from the past, a memory of their seemingly safer childhood. Zhenia, for this is his name, changes their lives. The lead actors Alec Utgoff, Maja Ostaszewska, Agata Kulesza and Weronika Rosati appeared in NRW, among other locations, in front of the camera. The Filmstiftung supported the German-Polish production of the Cologne-based Match Factory Productions and Lava Films in co-production with Kino Świat, the Mazowia Film Fund and Di Factory (all PL), with 400,000 Euros, with additional funding coming from the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), BR/Arte, MBB, Polish-German Film Fund, Polish Film Institute and the CineCoPro Award. World sales are being handled by The Match Factory. Cologne-based Real Fiction distributor will release the social satire in German cinemas.
"The New Gospel" (Giornate degli Autori)
What would Jesus preach in the 21st century? Who would be his disciples? "The New Gospel" sees Milo Rau and his team returning to the origins of the Gospel and staging it as a passion play of a whole population for the 21st century: a manifesto of solidarity for the poorest, a cinematic revolt for a more just and humane world. Numerous refugees, activists and citizens of the European Capital of Culture 2019 in Matera participated in the film, including the actors Yvan Sagnet, Marcello Fonte, Enrique Irazoqui, Maia Morgenstern and Vinicio Capossela. "The New Gospel" was produced by Cologne’s Fruitmarket, the Swiss production house Langfilm and the IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder in co-production with Matera 2019 and ZDF and in cooperation with Arte, Swiss Television SRF / SRG, Consorzio Teatri Uniti di Basilicata and the Teatro di Roma. Milo Rau also wrote the screenplay. The Filmstiftung NRW backed the documentary with 230,000 Euros, with additional funding for "The New Gospel" coming from the Federal Cultural Foundation, the European Cultural Foundation, the Zurich Film Foundation, the Federal Office of Culture (BAK) the Volkart Foundation, the Canton of St. Gallen Cultural Promotion, and the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF).
77th Venice International Film Festival (2-12 September)
The Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia is considered one of the three most important international film festivals alongside Cannes and the Berlinale. This year will see it becoming the first major film festival to take place in physical form again in compliance with the corona-related health and safety measures. New features include two outdoor arenas in the Giardini della Biennale and the Skatinn area at the Lido. Press conferences will be broadcast online, making it possible for those who cannot come to Venice due to the travel restrictions to participate. Director Christian Petzold was named as a member of this year’s competition jury headed by Cate Blanchett. The Chinese director Ann Hui and the British actress Tilda Swinton will be awarded the Golden Lion for their life’s work at the 77th International Film Festival.