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Locarno 2023 - Locarno Pro

Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...

REPORT: First Look @ Locarno Pro 2023


We take a closer look at the six British projects in post-production taking part in the industry initiative organised by the Swiss festival

REPORT: First Look @ Locarno Pro 2023
The Lonely Musketeer by Nicolai Schümann

First Look, the work in progress section of Locarno Pro, unspooled from 4-6 August. Cineuropa takes a closer look at the six features in post-production showcased during this year’s edition dedicated to UK cinema. The industry initiative was organised by the Swiss festival in partnership with the BFI International Fund, using funds from the National Lottery.

The Lonely MusketeerNicolai Schümann (UK/Germany)
A co-production between Addy Films (UK), Alice’s Pig (UK), Apiro Entertainment (Germany) and Rights Entertainment (Germany), this “unique and utterly claustrophobic high-concept thriller” follows Rupert, who wakes up in a locked room without any doors or windows. He has no clue how he got there, and all he has is his mobile phone. As he investigates, he is haunted by the past and slowly discovers the horror he has gotten into...

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“We would like to meet sales agents, distributors and festival programmers at Locarno and ultimately hope to find a good home for our movie. Also, we, of course, want to meet fellow filmmakers and movie enthusiasts, because after all The Lonely Musketeer is an audience movie,” the creative team told Cineuropa. Producing are Addy Raja and Marc Schneider along with Schümann himself. Edward Hogg is attached as the lead actor.

No Ifs Or ButsSarah Lewis
Filmed over a 25-year period, No Ifs Or Buts delivers a vital portrait of the low-key, yet world-famous London barbershop ‘Cuts.’ Guided by freewheeling founders James Lebon and Steve Brooks who met when one was a Rockabilly and the other a New Romantic, the salon moved from its early 1980s post-punk roots to become a communal hub for DJs, photographers and style icons. The picture is produced by Lewis for DoBeDo and co-produced by Nic Tuft for Felt Culture.

“I began filming at Cuts hairdressers in Soho, London in 1996 as an observational ‘year in the life’ documentary. Cuts has never been ‘just about the haircut’ but a place where people would go to connect and create – an ‘influencer for the analogue age.’ […] We are looking to meet with sales agents and distributors, and to ultimately plan a strategy to launch this film out into the world,” Lewis said.

7 KeysJoy Wilkinson
The feature follows Daniel, who has kept the keys to all the places he’s ever lived. Lena wants to use them on the ultimate property porn tour of London, a lost weekend of getting to know each other intimately in other people’s homes. But as Lena unlocks her lover’s past, what began as a risky fantasy becomes a deadly threat, and Lena’s attempt to escape her real life leaves her more trapped than ever.

Producing are Cassandra Sigsgaard, of Jeva Films, and Dylan Rees, of 4 8 Fourteen Films. Speaking to Cineuropa, Sigsgaard said: “7 Keys is a smart, sexy thriller with a high-concept premise, a true indie spirit, and an original female-led vision. It has strong potential to attract an audience of independent genre fans and those excited by new talent.” Wilkinson added: “We’d love to meet like-minded pro’s at Locarno who’ll work with us to take 7 Keys to the wider world and unlock all its potential.” The team is looking for sales, distributors, marketing and PR companies.

VanillaJoseph A. Adesunloye
Penned by Adesunloye (also producing for DreamCoat Films) with Gabriel Winter, the film follows Bastien and Matt, an interracial gay couple who celebrate their third anniversary by escaping to Barcelona. With a beautiful house and proximity to the beach, they hope to mend their rocky relationship after Bastien’s recent infidelity with a woman. Matt struggles to move past it, which affects his libido. However, their efforts are disrupted by the arrival of Florent, a Queer Englishman living in Spain, who catches Bastien’s eye and throws a spanner in the works.

Adesunloye described Vanilla as “a very small indie with a strong pan-European ethos.” The team includes French lead actor Yann Gaël, English actor James Smith, Italian DoP Claudio Napoli, Brazilian artist Tamiles Doralício and other crew members from Germany, Turkey, Spain and the UK. “Whilst it would be wonderful to get the post-production prize because we desperately need it, it is beyond a joy for us to have been given a platform like Locarno Pro to showcase Vanilla. It means we are getting exposure to sales agents, distributors and festival programmers from across the world. [...] I am looking to meet other European producers to collaborate with on several projects I have on my slate. I am particularly keen to meet producers from Portugal, Luxembourg and Lithuania,” revealed Adesunloye.

All At Sea Mike Hodges
Directed, penned and narrated by Hodges, this semi-autobiographical documentary explores Mike’s story from his start in the Navy in the 1950s, to his work for Granada in the 1960s, through to his meteoric success with hits such as Get Carter and Flash Gordon in the 1970s onwards. 

“Hurricane Films did a very good film called Of time and The City, about Terence Davies and his childhood in Liverpool. Now I have had the opportunity to make a similar filmic essay of my own life. [...] It is called All At Sea because I got so used to drifting – both going port to port when I was an anonymous naval cadet, and drifting through the film and television industry throughout the years,” said Hodges.

The team is looking for archive houses, funding bodies and distributors. Roy Boulter and Sol Papadopoulos are producing for Hurricane Films.

Mother VeraCécile Embleton and Alys Tomlinson 
From the thick snow of the Belarusian forest to the heat of the reeds in the French Camargue, Mother Vera is the story of a young Orthodox nun; her turbulent past, and fragile future. After 20 years as a monastic, Vera faces deep inner conflict; now, she must confront her past and trust her instincts to find the liberation she desires. 

Laura Shacham, producer at She Makes Productions, told us: “I believe the film Cécile and Alys have created has enormous cinematic presence, European and international potential; and most importantly, the potential to move audiences visually, audially, emotionally. We are looking for partners to help us finalise post-production and make sure the film reaches global theatrical audiences, as well as finding a home on the small screen.”

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