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Holland Film Meeting

HFM 2023, and the winners are…

This year’s Holland Film Meeting Awards were handed out September 23 to the cream of the brilliant crop of projects pitched in the Boost NL, Stories and Beyond and New Dutch categories. Over the course of two full-on days, hundreds of potential co-pro partners, sales agents, distributors, funders and financiers got to grips with the 19 projects, both online and face-to-face. The presentations and pitches came at the end of eight weeks of expert training and top-level preparation, provided by HFM, from both creative and business perspectives.

Global Audience Award

The Global Audience Award was won by Mester Muri by Kristen Dania. The project was presented in the New Dutch section. The in-kind prize offers a promo/trailer and poster created by award-winning international film advertising agency Intermission Film.

Mester Muri synopsis: Railison, a 22-year-old man, feels trapped working in his family's fishing restaurant on the coast of Curaçao, where he struggles to break free from their expectations and find his own independence. But when love and loss enter his life, Railison must navigate the complexities of his emotions and desires while accepting himself and pursuing his dreams.

Jury citation: “The team not only created a slick, professional presentation but ultimately one with substance. Clear targets, comparatives, industry and consumer positioning - a package that could easily show any production, sales, distribution or marketing partner ways of guiding the project to market and audiences globally.”

Kristen Dania and Ralph Winedt: "Being part of the HFM New Dutch program has been a great opportunity for our film Mester Muri. Not only as first time film makers but also for Caribbean Cinema. We have taken this opportunity as one to learn and listen to further position this film as a true contender for a global audience. Being recognised at such an early stage of development at a prestigious film festival as NFF will give us momentum for the next steps forward."

The Jury also made two Special Mentions, for Her Name Was Laboni by Claudio Montesano Casillas (New Dutch) and the Colombian feature animation Mi papá el camion (Boost NL) by María Cristina Pérez, about a clumsy countryman who dreams of being a truck driver. The jury stressed that “both projects showed confidence in what their projects were about and who they were for, identifying specific consumer audience groups, strong marketing visuals and distribution avenues. All three of us can’t wait to see where they go.

Cam-a-lot & Filmmore Beste Live Pitch Award

The Cam-a-lot & Filmmore Best Live Pitch Award, valued at €10,000 in camera and post-production services, was won by Her Name Was Laboni by Claudio Montesano Casillas and Loretta van der Horst (New Dutch).

Her Name Was Laboni synopsis: Set against the tragic backdrop of the Rana Plaza collapse, Her Name Was Laboni intricately connects the paths of Laboni, an aspiring garment factory worker, Nazmul, a deceitful TV reporter, and Himu, a courageous rescue volunteer. Their intertwined stories shed light on hope, dishonesty, and selflessness amidst the catastrophe.

Jury citation: “The award goes to a project that deals with relevant topics, such as exploitation in a patriarcal society and the consequences of the choices we make every day as consumers. The project is still at an early stage, but we are confident in the ambition, motivation and vision of the director, given his journalistic background and the well-structured and clear pitch. This is a story told with empathy and through multiple perspectives - and it has to be told.

Claudio Montesano Casillas: "We have, for the first time since starting this films journey, presented our vision to the induatry at HFM. To get this sign of appreciation during early development makes a world of difference going forward. We are honoured to receive this award and we thank the HFM team for being such an inspiring platform to start to bring this important project to life."

The Jury also reserved a Special Mention for Stairway to Earth by Finn Szumlas, stressing how the project “took our hearts with its sincere, sensitive take on a topic that everybody thinks that they know all about, love.” In the film, when a dreamy literature student from Poland becomes pregnant after a magical, but anonymous night with a Dutch urban gardener, she travels to him full of expectations about the future. However, the reality of their situation forces her to descend from her pink cloud and make a choice that will change their lives forever.

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