At this year’s 28th Med Film Festival, which runs November 3-13 in Rome, there are some great films. Films like Syrian director Soudade Kaadan Nezuhwhich is one of our favorites of the year, as well as that of Algeria the last queen (the last queen) by Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri and Tunisian filmmaker Erige Sehiri under the fig trees.
The festival kicks off with The blue caftan by Maryam Touzani who is this year’s Moroccan candidate for the international race for the Oscars for feature films. Opening night will also see lead actress Lubna Azabal receive a special award for her career, which includes films shot with Denis Villeneuve (Fires), Ralph Fiennes (Coriolanus), and Hany Abu Assad (heaven now) as well as his TV work in miniseries like the British spy thriller The honorable woman in 2014.
But there’s another reason to rejoice for filmmakers, like Paolo Bertolin, best known as a programmer at the Venice International Film Festival, as well as a member of Cannes’ Quinzaine des Réalisateurs selection committee — and former artistic adviser at the Locarno Festival. Open Doors Initiative – is in charge of organizing the inaugural MedPitching part of MedMeetings, the latter being the only Italian platform dedicated to the Euro-Mediterranean region. This includes Turkey and the MENA region, as well as all European countries that are affected by the Mediterranean Sea.
Bertolin has worked for several international film festivals and film institutions, including IFFRotterdam, Doha Film Institute, Annecy Italian Cinema, Cannes Critics’ Week, Nyon Visions du Réel, Mumbai IFF, Beijing IFF, IFFBratislava, Hanoi IFF.
As a film critic and journalist, he has written feature articles, reviews and interviews with filmmakers in several Italian and international publications, including Manifest, Cineforum, SegnocinemaMyMovies.it, Ciak, Cinema notebooks, Positive and sense of cinema. He also has production credits on a series of Asian films, including Phan Dang Di’s Grandfather, Grandfather and Other Stories (Vietnam, 2015), Lav Diaz’s A lullaby of painful mystery (Philippines, 2016), short film by Amit Dutta Chitrashala (India, 2015), all entries to the Berlinale Competition, Vorakorn Ruetaivanichkul’s Mother (Thailand, 2012) and Rahi Anil Barve’s Tumbbad (India, 2018).
At this year’s MedPitching, nine projects will be presented and they include Listen to the yellowby Banu Sivaci from Turkey; I’m here but you can’t see mea Spanish-Lebanese co-production directed by Feyrouz Serhal; The Dovecote by Amal Ramsis of Egypt; and Tunis-Djerba by Amel Guellaty from Tunisia.
The MedMeetings will also include the MedWIP or MedFilm Works-in-progress, organized by Azza Chaabouni. The selected projects will compete for two cash prizes and the six films in post-production will be evaluated by an expert jury comprising Khalil Benkirane from the Doha Film Institute, editor Gladys Joujou and Cédric Succivalli from the Giornate degli Autori in Venice. Films include Bassam Mortada Abu Zaabal Prison from Egypt, Dormitory by Nehir Tuna from Turkey and the Franco-Tunisian co-production by Lofti Achour red path.
Paolo Bertolin is a name to be reckoned with in film, both as a programmer and producer, as well as a writer and journalist. About this next edition of the Med Film Festival, he writes: “It’s time for Italy to discover the Mediterranean. And it’s time for the Mediterranean to discover Italy. The historical, economic, political and cultural ties that unite the peninsula located at the center of this sea closed by land – but still open to the world – with all its shores, from north to south, from west to east, is a common heritage of immense value. This common heritage lays the foundations for a new and renewed life. collaborations in an ever-changing filmmaking field, especially in the face of the challenges and complexities that have arisen over the past two years.”
Bertolin added: “The new tools made available to Italian producers through calls for minority co-production have led to a momentum of renewal and a vital opening up of the national production landscape. The desire to collaborate with new partners and the search for stories and talents to support is seen as a renewed urgency to trust in the power of the language of cinema and the big screen.” Adding, “and it is precisely for this reason that the MedFilm Festival, on the occasion of its 28th edition, has decided to expand the range of professional MedMeetings proposals with the launch of MedPitching, a co-production platform intended to connect producers interested in minority co-production with projects in development from the entire Euro-Mediterranean region, potentially interested in collaborating with Italy. Through a rigorous selection of projects, the MedPitching platform aims to build new bridges that connect Italian industry to all its sisters in the Mediterranean basin – and vice versa versa A mission both economic and cultural that we will try to carry out with enthusiasm and scruples also in the years to come.
For all information and to view the full program, go to the Med Film Festival website.