Magazine article Screen International

'Wonderland' Producers in Hot Spot with Oscar Winner

Magazine article Screen International

'Wonderland' Producers in Hot Spot with Oscar Winner

Article excerpt

Contrast Film, the producers of Locarno Swiss competition film Wonderland (Heimatand), are planning the feature debut of Iranian-Swiss director Talkhon Hamzavi, Oscar nominated for Best Live Action Short with Parvaneh.

Stefan Eichenberger, one of the partners in Contrast Film with Ivan Madeo and Urs Frey, produced Parvaneh which received the Silver Medal in the Foreign Film category at the Student Academy Awards in 2013 as well as the First Steps Award for Best Short in Berlin in 2013.

"The collaboration with Talkhon went well and a great friendship developed that we were keen to continue working with her," producer Ivan Madeo told ScreenDaily during this week's Locarno Film Festival.

Her feature-length debut - entitled Hot Spot - is being written together with Lorenz Suter (The Eternal Tourist) and was awarded a development grant worth $25,000 (CHF 25,000) by the Société Suisse des Auteurs (SSA) at its annual funding session this week.

"The story's idea is so original, exciting and important that we had to be part of it," Madeo explained.

Hot Spot centres on a thirtysomething Iranian woman Tiwa who doesn't have any great desires to marry again in a hurry after the sudden death of her husband. She tries to find work in order to become independent and not bound to the demands of her conservative family.

When her new neighbour, the actress Maya, helps her get a job as a hairstylist on her next film, everything seems to be hunky dory. Until Tiwa realises on the first day on set that she is working for a porn movie.

Her initial reaction is to leave the set immediately, but, as her financial problems keep mounting, she comes to see this job as a way to her emancipation - as long as her family doesn't get wind of her new job.

"The grant from SSA was awarded on the basis of a treatment, and the project is at an early stage of development," Madeo noted.

Next year should see production by Contrast Film of Hannes Baumgartner's Waffenläufer, based on real events about one of the most talented sportsmen of his generation who lives a double life, following a routine life by day and preying on young women by night.

"It is a very ambitious project with elements of a biopic and a psychological drama," Madeo said.

The development slate of the Zurich/Berne-based company also includes Stürm - Bis ich tot oder frei bin, inspired by the life of the 'jail break king' Walter Stürm who achieved near cult status in Switzerland for the number of times he managed to escape from prison. …

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