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Emily Atef, Hafsia Herzi projects among six backed by German-French Funding Commission

Six projects by women filmmakers including Emily Atef, Hafsia Herzi and Lucile Hadzhihalović have received support from the German-French Funding Commission’s Minitraité co-production fund.

The largest single amount of production funding – €450,000 – was awarded to French-Iranian director Emily Atef’s English-language Mercy, an adaptation of Lara Santoro’s eponymous novel. Set in 1997, it is the story of a friendship between a US correspondent in Kenya and a local woman from the slums joining forces to combat the AIDS crisis in the country.

Earlier this year, Atef’s One Day We’ll Tell Each Other Everything world premiered in Competition at the Berlinale. Mercy is Atef’s first English-language feature film, with international sales being handled by Global Screen.

It will be produced by Berlin-based Ringel Film Zweite Produktionen as the majority producer with France’s Les Films Pelléas and the UK’s Cowboy Films and Streetcar Productions.

A total of €330,000 production support was allocated to Lucile Hadzhihalović’s next feature The Ice Tower (La Tour De Glace) which will see the director reunited with actress Marion Cotillard after their collaboration on her 2004 film Innocence.

The screenplay, co-written with Geoff Cox, centres on a teenage girl on the run from her orphanage who is taken under the wing of an actress (played by Cotillard) starring in a new version of the fairytale The Snow Queen being filmed in a warehouse in Paris. 3B is the film’s French majority producer with Cologne-based Sutor Kolonko serving as the German co-producer.

A second French majority production – Hafsia Hersi’s coming of age tale La Petite Dernière (Die jüngste Tochter) – received €285,000 from the fund. The adaptation of Fatima Daas’ 2020 novel of the same name will be produced by June Films with Berlin-based Katuh Studio, producer of Sepideh Farsi’s The Siren which premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section in February. Hafsia Herzi’s Good Mother premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard in 2021.

In addition, development support was allocated to three projects by the fund which is made up of representatives from France’s CNC and Germany’s German Federal Film Fund (FFA).

An award of €40,000 was presented to the co-production between France’s IKKI Films and Germany’s Studio Seufz Enterprise of the animation film Condenaditos, the debut feature by Bolivian-born filmmaker Matisse Gonzalez, who studied at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg. €35,000 was given to Maria Dumora for her documentary Die Blaue Linie about the concentration camp in Stutthof, to be produced by Dulac Productions with Berlin-based Salaud Morisset Deutschland.

In addition, €20,000 was awarded to writer-director Susanne Heinrich for her feminist musical comedy Die Miserable Mutter which is being prepared by Leipzig-based Reynard Films with Parisienne de Production as the minority French partner.


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