Since 2014, La Semaine de la Critique has been supporting talented short-film directors who have presented a short film at La Semaine de la Critique towards making their first feature through the Next Step programme. After presenting their short film in Cannes, filmmakers are invited to come to Paris for a workshop. For a whole week, international consultants will advise them on their script, their score, and on how to launch their film on the market. It also entails professional meetings in Paris, which are opportunities to forge new collaborations with potential French coproducers, sellers and distributors. Since 2022, we have taken Morelia Film Festival’s invitation to Cannes a step further by inviting a Mexican filmmaker to participate in the Next Step programme.
Over 9 years, 78 directors from 34 countries have benefitted from the Next Step support programme. We are delighted to see that, to this day, 19 features have been released, the most recent ones being Graham Foy’s The Maiden and Isabella Carbonell’s Dogborn screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2022, Mikko Myllylahti’s The Woodcutter Story (2019 Next Step Prize), Cristèle Alves Meira’s Alma Viva at the 2022 Semaine de la Critique, and Valentina Maurel’s Tengo sueños electricos at the 2022 Locarno International Film Festival.
In 2023, Molly Manning Walker will premiere How to Have Sex (2020 Next Step Prize) at the Cannes Film Festival, as will Felipe Gálvez with his film Los Colonos, both as part of Un Certain regard. Elias Belkeddar will premiere Omar la Fraise at the Midnight Screenings, while Lillah Halla will present Levante at La Semaine de la Critique. This year will also see the release of Johanna Pyykko’s Ebba, Qiu Yang’s Some Rain Must Fall, Laura Ferrés’ The Permanent Picture, Yorgos Zois’ Arcadia, Moin Hussain’s Sky Peals and Adi Voicu’s Capturing Sami. 7 other feature films developed at Next Step will be shot in 2023.
The Next Step Hildgarde Award, with its 2,500€ endowment and an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival for the director with the most promising feature film project, has been awarded to Liar Man by Manolis Mavris, from the 9th Next Step edition, by a jury composed of Marion Delord, Hildegarde’s executive director; Thania Dimitrakopoulou, head of sales and acquisitions at The Match Factory; Martin Jérôme, in charge of acquisitions at Condor; and Olimpia Pont Chàfer, Head of Industry at the Torino Film Lab.
In 2023, the French Union of Film Critics is launching its Critics and Creation Fund to welcome benefactors and donors who wish to encourage younger generations to think critically, and support emerging talents from across the world.
With the support of