articles | 26 July 2021

Double showing for Cyprus at Cannes

Cyprus’ film industry was pitched to major stakeholders with a double showing at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival of two Cypriot productions with a Hollywood flavour.

Limassol-based film production company Altadium Group, representing the island’s for the second time, scored points with moviemakers with their action-packed “SOS Survive and Sacrifice” and horror film “The Ghosts of Monday”.

Altadium represented Cyprus with their first film, The Portrait of God.

SOS, Survive or Sacrifice, starring Hollywood star William Baldwin, Marianna Rosset, and Jeannine Kaspar, was included in the Market screenings at the 74th Cannes Film Festival.

At the same time, the horror genre ‘Ghosts’ movie was screened to international cinema stakeholders.

Talking to the Financial Mirror, Marianna Rosset, actress in both films and member of the production team, said Altadium’s aim at Cannes was to promote the island’s film industry by making the world aware of its shooting diversity and overall potential.

“SOS had been a major leap for Altadium Group and the island, as it proved. We managed to show that Cyprus can film ‘big’, technically complex movies to a high standard.

“SOS. Survive, or Sacrifice, has been a great success for the Cyprus film industry in general, and for Altadium in particular and, so far, it has been shown both in the US and Canada.

“Furthermore, showing the film at Cannes has given the film an extra push,” said Rosset.

The producer added the film was very well received and attended mainly by film industry professionals such as buyers, distributors, CGI specialists, film directors, and even airline representatives.

The film, written and directed by Roman Doronin, starts with a hot air balloon flight that takes a dangerous turn when it becomes untethered, and the passengers ascend without a pilot.

As they drift far out over the ocean, it’s a desperate fight for their lives where every choice they make could be the difference to their survival.

The younger sister of one of the passengers is their only hope of rescue, but the question is can she get to them in time?

Rosset said the Cannes Film Festival affords the perfect opportunity to establish business links and open communication channels between world cinema professionals.

“Cannes is a mega celebration of cinema. Cannes is like one big movie set with all the gifted professional artists and people, amazing settings, and beautiful clothes.

“It is also the place to be to promote the industry.

“It’s still early days to talk about the film’s performance at the box office as it has only just started its journey around the world, and we are all wishing it the best of luck.”

Rosset said the film had done well in North America, while the team is excited about its Europe debut coming up soon.

“Cyprus is a great place for filming, and we had tremendous support from the government, businesses, and general public.

“Producers admit to being attracted by the island’s 35% rebate incentive scheme launched to attract big-budget films, but it’s much more than that.

“The hospitality, the great food, the talent, and a unique mix of locations that can double for almost anywhere in the world,” said Rosset.

She firmly believes that Cyprus is a “magnificent place” for making movies.

“The government is very supportive, and what we are trying to do here is tell the world that you can film high-quality films on the island just as good as anywhere in Europe.”

On location

The film was shot entirely on location in Limassol in 2019 and premiered in Nicosia in October last year.

Altadium has since ‘crept’ into the business of horror movie making, filming their second Hollywood-style film “, The Ghosts of Monday”, also filmed in Cyprus.

The horror film starring another household name, Julian Sands, wrapped up earlier this summer.

The Ghosts of Monday, boasting an international cast and several Cypriot actors, is the first commercial horror film to be shot on location in Cyprus.

Based on Barry Keating’s script (Nightworld, Hidden in the Woods), the film is a ghost story expected to send chills down the spine.

The story revolves around a group of US filmmakers who travel to Cyprus to shoot a documentary about the tragically infamous Hotel Gula, a once-popular resort where more than 100 people were killed under mysterious circumstances.

The Ghosts of Monday was teased to industry stakeholders at festivals and is Altadium’s third film shot in Cyprus following SOS and the Portrait of God.

“At the after-screening party, the feedback was encouraging, and our guests were very much intrigued by the teaser.

“We are all eagerly looking forward to seeing the final cut of this project soon,” said Rosset.

“We invited buyers and film professionals, and the screening was a good opportunity to discuss filming in Cyprus.

“The Ghosts of Monday received lots of sincere appreciation from our many guests.

“To quote Lise Romanoff, CEO of US distribution company Vision Films. ‘Your film has amazing production value and looks truly scary’,” said Rosset.

“We have also sent the teaser to Voltage Pictures, the very same company that produced films like The Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club.

“They have won 6 Academy awards with those two movies and are offering to distribute our film.

“We got similar, enthusiastic reactions from other companies like Film Mode and WTFilms.

“What we are trying to show the world, with both SOS and the Ghosts of Monday, is that you can produce good quality films in Cyprus without investing a fortune.

“Our two movies rank popular actors, and the production value is just as good as any low-budget film shot in the USA.

“This is what we are trying to convey to the market and the industry.

“That Cyprus is the place to be. The island’s sunlight offers ideal filming conditions, whereas Cyprus is an outdoor studio itself.”

The actress said that filming The Ghosts of Monday proved that Cyprus had more to offer, filmmakers of a spookier genre and that they are pitching the island as more than just a sunny destination with beautiful scenery.

Source: Financial Mirror

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