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Next Step Volume II

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Next Step Volume II: Konstantina Kotzamani, João Paulo Miranda Maria & Sam Kuhn Selected

Next Step Volume II: Konstantina Kotzamani, João Paulo Miranda Maria & Sam Kuhn Selected

For almost a decade now, the Critics’ Week of the Cannes Film Festival has been nurturing emerging talents as they transition from short to feature films through its Next Step program. Beginning today, we have a five-some of filmmakers that (along with three film composers) will benefit from the coined Next Step Volume II – essentially “directors will spend a week to rework their script and work on score composition with the help of consultants and experts. They will also be encouraged to think about their score very early on, as an integral part of the script, and a rich artistic counterpoint.” On the list, we find the likes of Brazil’s João Paulo Miranda Maria (Memory House filmmaker), Greece’s Konstantina Kotzamani, Spain’s Lucía Aleñar Iglesias, Eygpt’s Nada Riyadh and from the U.S., Sam Kuhn. We are earmarking 2025 for some of these to possibly premiere on the film festival circuit – including Cannes. Here are the five participants.

Forastera – Lucía Aleñar Iglesias
Production: Lastor Media (Spain), Vilaüt Films (Spain), La Perifèrica (Spain), Alpha Violet Production (France), Fox in the Snow (Sweden)
Catalina’s vacation is dramatically disrupted by the absurd and violent death of her grandmother, which only she witnesses. A casual gesture – wearing the clothes of the deceased – will provoke an emotional earthquake among those who love her.

Titanic Ocean – Konstantina Kotzamani
Production: Homemade Films (Greece), Manny Films (France), Frida Films (Spain), Wunderlust (Germany), deFilm (Romania), Happinet Phantom Studios (Japan)
A disconnected Japanese teenager, training to become a professional mermaid, is saved from a near death experience when her coach gives her the kiss of life. Desire awakens, she finds her voice and discovers the devastating effects of her siren song.

In Blue – Sam Kuhn
Production: 2AM (USA), Solab Films (France)
Audrey and Shep arrive as strangers in the South of France to spend the August holidays at a villa with their mythical French ami Felix. Except: Felix doesn’t arrive.

Bandeira – João Paulo Miranda Maria
Production: RT Features (Brazil), Les Valseurs (France)
In the heart of the Amazon, Jonas, a young Indigenous boy with European origins, longs to continue the quest for gold initiated by his ancestors. Torn between two identities and backgrounds, he will sooner or later have to confront his past to understand the true origins of this quest, and discover who he really is.

Moonblind – Nada Riyadh
Production: Felucca Films (Egypt)
Nine-year-old Nour must leave Cairo after stabbing her sexually abusive uncle. Finding refuge on an island upstream of the Nile as the assistant of a mystic healer, she becomes Badr, an androgynous teenager, both feared and mocked.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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