Frontières is the premier name in international co-production project markets for genre films around the world. With events in Cannes, Amsterdam, and the flagship operation at Montreal's Fantasia, Frontières has become the place to be to pitch new projects in the hopes of gaining support from the ever growing community of co-production entities, sales agents, and distributors who looks to the market to see what's next in the world of fantastic cinema.
In case you're unaware of how these market events work, as I was for a long time, here is a basic rundown.
A project market, like Frontières, is a place for ideas to find the support they need to become finished products. Filmmakers - most often writers, directors, and producers - submit their projects to the market organizers, in the hope that their ideas are strong enough to convince the market to give them a larger platform on which to pitch their story to people who have the means to help them make it a reality.
The projects at Frontières are at various stages of pro-production. Most have at least a first version of a script and a director and/or producer attached. Some go a step further and have talent, actors/actresses, attached or at least are in the process of negotiating. Some projects have created what are called "mood reels", which are either original visuals shot to impress upon investors the mood the filmmakers hope to evoke, or visuals culled from other films that the projects see as comparable to their own vision.
A few of the projects even have some, or perhaps even all of the funding they seek in place but are lookign for help in making the film viable to outside markets by attaching a sales company or overseas distributor. There is really a wide range of preparation levels at Frontières, but in the end, they all want one thing: to make their movie.
Not all of these films will get made. Of the twenty selected projects in the main section of the Frontières pitches, it's possible that only half, or maybe less, will find their way to cinema screens. However, we chose a few that we think have a good shot of making their way to the big screen. All of these selections stuck out to us for different reasons, but they are all strong enough that we're really pulling for them. Here are our five standout pitches:
The most exciting pitch of the day, for me and several of my Screen Anarchy colleagues, was definitely Nyla Innuksuk's Slash/Back.
Written and to be directed by Innuksuk, Slash/Back is the story of a group of four indigenous teen girls battling aliens in their far north homeland. Innuksuk's vision is clear, and the prospect of giving voice to a woefully underrepresented population of indigenous peoples is very enticing. Not only is Slash/Back a story of strength from a group not normally given that kind of representation on screen, it sounds like a fascinating coming-of-age story in a world that is foreign to most outside eyes.
A native of Nunavut, the farthest northern region of Canada, Innuksuk's memories of a childhood filled adventures like The Goonies and E.T., never had a story to which she could truly relate. The idea of putting Nunavut girls on screen as badass heroes who save their home from aliens intent on destruction is an incredibly starting poit for a new vision. Slash/Back was presented with some test footage of girls from the region just playing around, living their lives on what often looks like alien terrain. This unique landscape, coupled with a story that evokes the same tone as Attack the Block, could be a breath of fresh air in the genre world.