Alliance 4 development: Mariko Minoguchi, Mo Harawe, Mo Scarpelli

Alliance 4 Development, a co-development initiative for film projects from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland hosted by Locarno Pro, has announced 11 titles selected for their 7th edition.

The majority of projects are directed by women, from Giorgia Wurth’s Allegra to late-life sexual awakening to Malina Mackiewicz’s Bottom of the Ocean Electric Fish and Mariko Minoguchi’s upcoming Element. The latter will address some environmental concerns as a team of scientists try to make sure the Earth’s water supply doesn’t suddenly disappear.

Minoguchi, who previously co-wrote the screenplay for Tim Fehlbaum’s The Colony, wants to develop a German science fiction film that “doesn’t shy away from great emotions and images,” she says, “that makes you think and think and, above all a moving and impressive cinematic experience.”

Great emotions will also be fueled by Manon Coubia’s “Songs of the Fallen Mountains” with old lovers reuniting on a mythical mountain, and Stéphane Riethauser’s “Orpheus” about a relationship between a young dancer and his choreographer.

“‘There is no love; there are only tokens of love.’ These words from Jean Cocteau will guide me as I direct my first feature film,” he promised, calling it “a film that transcends labels, barriers and genres. A film that reminds us that the freedom to love is the most precious thing.” we have. A film as a token of love.”

In “The Beginning of Gravity, or the Fateful Journey of a Noble Family and Their Servants Across the Mountains,” Thomas Woschitz will address the shifting of societal hierarchies, described as a “baroque road movie,” while exploring questions of “social belonging, identity, and individual Differentness” is the subject of Willy Hans’ “Der Fleck”.

Loosely inspired by Faust and Vampires, Vero Cratzborn will play with genres in Molecules, a thriller about two twin sisters and their complex bond. Anchored in reality and yet slipping into the strange, she delivers “a body horror that comes close to us, brutal and frontal”.

Alliance 4 Development will also show the first film of The Vincents, aka Vincent Veillon and Vincent Kucholl, who will direct and star in A Vampire in Ropraz, beginning in 1903 with a terrifying discovery that a Community shocked to its core.

“This is a strong project, carried out by a team that we know aims to reach a large audience with a sophisticated auteur film,” says producer Jean-Marc Fröhle, praising the international potential.

Mo Harawe will also push boundaries, returning to his Somali roots in The Village Next To Paradise, while Mo Scarpelli will travel to western Kenya for A Song That Slays, where she explores an ancient myth.

“Whatever the subject or context, the potential to forge partnerships across regional borders will be artistically and developmentally fruitful for all those stepping into the feature film director’s chair for the first or second time right now,” teased the organizers of the program.

Finally, for the first time ever, the selected projects will compete for the Alphapanda Market Breakout Award. Alphapanda, a film marketing agency established in 2011, is offering the winner a €3,000 ($3,060) marketing consultation and pitch deck creation.

“Applying a true marketing strategy to a film in development is imperative and often overlooked by producers,” said Mathias Noschis, founder of Alphapanda diversity. The company is also behind the Audience Engagement Award at Les Arcs Industry Village and the Alphapanda Award at Marché du Films Cannes Docs.

“We hope that this award will help the awarded project to find production and distribution partners. We know the quality of the films presented at Alliance 4 Development and we can’t wait to discover the projects this year.”

The Alliance 4 Development program will take place over three days (5-7 August) at the Locarno Film Festival.

Short profiles of the projects:



Dir. Giorgia Würth

A widow in her 60s who has never had an orgasm suddenly discovers her deceased friend’s secret: she used to work as a prostitute. Now, Allegra has a chance to follow in her footsteps, despite everything she used to believe in. “It has long been my dream to tell a story about old age, the most precious phase of life precisely because it is the last. I was specifically looking for a story that would allow me to grapple with a taboo: bodies that decay and weaken, but still pulsate with life and desire,” said Wurth. Nicola Bernasconi produced by Rough Cat.

“A Song That Kills”

Italy, United States

Dir. Mo Scarpelli

Based on a myth about a girl who ate a poisonous flower to escape marriage to an old man, A Song That Slays marks Scarpelli’s feature film debut, following her outstanding documentary El Father Plays Himself. Described as a fable, it will be set in the Pokot community in western Kenya. “[It’s] an ode to girls who choose to face their own destiny by confronting taboos and set narratives about women as eternal victims, while also exploring the violence and bravery within us,” said the Italian-American director. Produced by Luigi Chimienti and Alessandro Amato (Dispàrte), the project is co-produced by Rake Films.

“The Beginning of Gravity, or the Fateful Journey of a Noble Family and Their Servants Across the Mountains”

Austria Switzerland

Dir. Thomas Woschitz

This “baroque road movie”, produced by Gabriele Kranzelbinder and Barbara Pichler (KGP Filmproduktion), Woschitz and in co-production with Katrin Renz (Tellfilm), takes place in the 17thth Century. A noble family sets out with their servants to cross the Alps, but a thunderstorm and the ensuing problems upset the established hierarchy. It will address “power and powerlessness, belief and knowledge, egoism and selflessness,” while including a score by Laibach: “Georg Friedrich Handel translated into a contemporary key,” added its director.

“Electrofish from the Seabed”


Dir. Malina Mackiewicz

On an island in the Pacific Ocean, families are being held cooped up in a refugee camp. Only those in need of urgent medical treatment or pregnant women will be taken to the mainland – that’s what two teenage girls are hoping for. “Despite the real-life circumstances that served as the initial inspiration, this political context is intended to remain in the background of an intimate film about girlhood,” Mackiewicz observed, emphasizing that “the heart of the story lies in the private moments of adolescence.” Andrea Paris (Ascent Film) and Valeria Beraldo are producing.

“The spot”

Germany, Switzerland

Dir. Willi Hans

The project, in its early stages of funding, will see a boy who, after escaping boarding school, find himself on a river bank with a group of strangers. Luckily, he soon meets a girl and the two embark on their own adventure. In search of the boundaries between individuality and community, Hans wants to “explore the boundaries and possibilities of social interaction in a playful and humorous manner”. Produced by Julia Cöllen, Karsten Krause, Frank Scheuffele (five film, also behind Locarno’s “Human Flowers of Flesh”) and co-produced with Michela Pini (8Pferde).



Dir. Mariko Minoguchi

By Minoguchi, who stunned with her time-loop debut “Relativity.” When the waters of the earth threaten to disappear without a trace, a team of scientists is tasked with traveling to the mysterious origin of the natural disaster. Filmed in English and produced by Jorgo Narjes (X Filme Creative Pool), Minoguchi’s sci-fi project is about “telling a story that lives up to the visual demands of the genre and does it with relatively little effort “Our advantage is that we don’t have to create a new CGI alien, we use something we already know,” she said. “Water, an element with great cinematic potential.”

“Songs of the Fallen Mountains”

France, Belgium

Dir. Manon Coubia

In her feature film debut, Manon Coubia will continue her exploration of the mountain “from those who inhabit and haunt it,” focusing on a glaciologist and alpinist surveying a route on a newly collapsed mountain – including her former lover. Produced by Emmanuelle Latourrette (El Film) and co-produced with Coubia, Nicolas Rincon Gille and Jeremy Van der Haegen (The Blue Raincot), it will see “passionate characters moving around this mythical place the moment the building threatens to disappear, ”said the director. Yoann Zimmer is crowned star.

“A Vampire in Ropraz”


Dir. Vincent Veillon and Vincent Kucholl

Borrowing from the work of Jacques Chessex, this “pulp rural” begins in 1903, when the body of a recently buried woman was mutilated. As the investigation continues, it is difficult to identify suspects. “It’s the book that called for the project, not the other way around. But then how do you tell the story of fear? Maybe by looking at it from the side, by examining characters whose lifestyles could be even bloodier than a desecrated grave,” the directors noted. Jean-Marc Fröhle (Point Productions) adds: “‘The Vincents’ will catapult this classic into their cinema galaxy!”



Dir. Vero Kratzborn

To save her sister from a degenerative disease, Diane takes part in the first clinical trials of an experimental molecule. But cutting the umbilical cord with her twin could be dangerous. “I want to address our current fears,” the director explained. “In our society dependent on the powerful pharmaceutical industry, bodies are exploited, borrowed, risked, healed. Bodies speak louder than words in ‘Molecules’.” Touted as a thriller, producer Thomas Lambert (Tomsa Films) says it will also be “a love story of merger and loss, where saving becomes a trap”.


Switzerland, France

Director Stéphane Riethhauser

Produced by Véronique Vergari (Luna Films) with Thomas Lambert as co-producer, this tale of forbidden desire shows a connection between the teenager Leo and the much older Matthias, a choreographer who hires him for the opera. They fall in love, but an argument breaks out – Matthias is accused of having exposed young dancers to pornography. “Music and dance are like love: they travel beyond words and reveal the unconscious and our animality,” Riethauer said. “A contemporary, intimate drama with epic undertones, ‘Orpheus’ offers a critical look at the norms and values ​​that shape us.”

“The Village Next to Paradise”


Dir. Mo Harawe

A highly respected short film director, Somalia-born Mo Harawe – who plans to work with local amateur actors – will follow a Somali family and their daily struggles over the course of a summer in this feature film. “I want to be a part of the growing but still very small film infrastructure in Somalia,” he said, and his producer Oliver Neumann (FreibeuterFilm) added: “The story gives us a glimpse of everyday life in Somalia from the inside. a life that we only know – if at all – from a Western, superficial perspective. We see a great opportunity to place ourselves [Mo Harawe] as the new African voice in the international art house scene.” Alliance 4 development: Mariko Minoguchi, Mo Harawe, Mo Scarpelli

Charles Jones

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