The Princess Spring wins the Arras Days
by Fabien Lemercier
- Cagla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti’s project has taken home the main Development Support Grant from the Arras Film Festival, while Panopticon was singled out with another prize
After an intense day of pitches in front of the jury of the seventh edition of the Arras Days, the Development Support Grant handed out as part of the 19th Arras Film Festival (see the news on the award winners) was bestowed upon the project The Princess Spring by Turkey’s Cagla Zencirci and France’s Guillaume Giovanetti. Extremely popular in competition at Locarno last August with Sibel [+see also:
interview: Çağla Zencirci and Guillaum…
film profile], after they previously helmed Ningen (revealed at Toronto in 2013) and Noor [+see also:
film profile] (unveiled at Cannes in 2012 on the ACID programme), the duo pitched a screenplay still at the writing stage, the plot of which kicks off in Istanbul and revolves around Bahar, a 35-year-old woman who had formed a brilliant duo of architects with her husband Alper. However, the children arrived sooner than she thought, and despite her own expectations, she couldn't cope with career and motherhood. So, encouraged by Alper, she withdrew, for the children's sake, yet with a sense of frustration. But when she realises that Alper somehow planned the children and her withdrawal, she feels deeply betrayed and goes crazy: she decides to divorce him and to refuse custody of the children, to get back her identity as a woman. She first lets go at a hen do, which leads to an unexpected encounter that will see her embark on a journey to South-East Turkey – a trip that will help Bahar to look for the strength to carve out her own way of being a woman and a mother.
Handed out by a jury made up of Freddy Olsson (Göteborg Film Festival), Edvinas Pukšta (Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival) and Dries Phlypo (A Private View), this €8,000 Development Support Grant is provided courtesy of the CNC.
The second grant, worth €5,000 and provided by the City of Arras, went to Panopticon, the feature-debut project by George Sikharulidze. The young Georgian filmmaker made a name for himself with the short films The Fish that Drowned (Clermont-Ferrand 2014), Red Apples (premiered at Toronto in 2016) and A New Year (unveiled at Toronto in September), and also edited Submarine by Lebanon’s Mounia Akl. Currently in residence at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation, the director is developing a project that explores teenage sexuality and Christian fundamentalism in post-Soviet-era Georgia.
Of particular note among the other projects that were pitched is the very positive impression left by Daniel Sandu (who won two awards at the Arras Film Festival proper this year with his feature debut, One Step Behind the Seraphim [+see also:
interview: Daniel Sandu
film profile], which previously scooped eight Gopos, the Romanian national film awards, including Best Film), whose second feature, The Father Who Moves Mountains (produced by Cristian Mungiu for Mobra Films) – which hinges on a young retiree from the secret service who heads off in search of his son from a previous marriage after he is reported missing in the mountains – is nearing the end of the writing phase and is aiming to start production this winter.
(Translated from French)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.