ACE Project Spotlight: La Bella Estate

LA BELLA ESTATE by Laura Luchetti will premiere at Locarno International Film Festival 2023 at the Piazza Grande. Producer Giovanni Pompili (ACE Italy) participated with the project in the ACE 30 Annual Programme.

1938. Young Ginia has just moved to Turin from the countryside. Looking for adventure she discovers the dazzling artists’ world and begins an affair with a painter. Amelia, the model who leads her into the bohemian quarters, is sensual, free, and different from anyone she has ever met. During her ‘beautiful summer’, Ginia yields to her first great love, celebrating the courage to be truly herself.

How did the ACE Annual Programme benefit you as a producer, and your ACE project?
Participating in the ACE Annual Programme definitely was a turning point for my education and career, as well as strengthening my industry knowledge and my international network. Meeting and sharing with my peers always brings different points of view on common topics and this is absolutely the greatest value the experience can bring. It helped me a lot to be able to look at myself from the right distance to my professional experience and to the company management.
And: The Annual Programme doesn’t finish with the workshop, but the ACE journey starts with it, being part of the association today is extremely important.

Unfortunately, we experienced it in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and we were still not used to handling this kind of online engagement. I did the first session from a hotel room while we were in Sardinia on the set of a shooting (SILENT LAND, co-produced with Lava Films and I/O Post) with COVID alert and protocol to manage and it was difficult to stay 100% focused. However, the ACE team did a tremendous job of making it as interactive and inspiring as possible. The feedback from my script team was invaluable, it was really the confrontation I needed at that time.

What was the most challenging in getting this film from script to the screen?
Making a film based on a book is always a great challenge. If the book is written by Pavese, a master of Italian literature, the challenge is even greater. With Laura, we talked a lot and the only way to respect such an important author was to make him our own. So, the script itself was the first challenge. In the production build-up, we had another big challenge given the fact that the film was supposed to be a co-production with France but four months before shooting everything fell through.
Thanks to our associate partners Lucky Red, Tapeless and True Colours who are handling international sales, we’ve managed to get to the set without changing or reducing the shooting days.

What’s ahead for you and your company? What are you currently working on?
In San Sebastián we will premiere in competition with PUAN, directed by Maria Alche and Benjamin Naishtat, a film I’m super proud of! It is an Argentinian-Brasilian-Italian-French-German co-production, led by Pasto and Pucara Cine together with Infinity Hill – Pandora Filmproduktion (Germany) – Atelier de Production (France) – Bubbles Project (Brazil)

In post-production, we have currently two films, the second feature by Carlo Sironi starring the French actress Noee Abita and co-produced with Julie Billy at June film in France and a minority co-production with the Netherlands based on the book A Beautiful Imperfection by Arthur Japin. It is produced together with Maarten Swart at Kaap Holland Films and Eye-Works Belgium starring Dar Zuso and Jonah Hauer-King.

In October we will have the principal photography of POLVO SERAN, directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet in co-production with Lastor Media (Spain) and Alina Films (Switzerland).

We are developing more films, both majority and minority co-production, it is in our souls to work on stories regardless of the passport of the authors. But the biggest challenge is to structure the company so that it can be independent of me, that is, to train professionals who can one day carry on what I started ten years ago.

ACE Project Spotlight: Sweet Dreams

SWEET DREAMS by Ena Sendijarević will premiere at Locarno International Film Festival 2023 in Concorso Internazionale. Producer Erik Glijnis (ACE The Netherlands) participated with the project in the ACE 30 Annual Programme.

1900. A secluded island full of flora and fauna. Amidst another sugar crisis, Jan — patriarch and head of a sugar factory — dies, leaving his two women to their own devices: Agathe, his wife, and housemaid Siti, the mother to his bastard son. A family reunion follows. When the illegitimate son turns out to be the only heir, it’s every man, woman, child, plant, and animal for themselves…

How did the ACE Annual Programme benefit you as a producer, and your ACE project?
ACE 30 was an extraordinary edition as we started during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had the pleasure of participating in the ACE Annual Programme for over one and a half years. During that time, I developed SWEET DREAMS together with writer/director Ena Sendijarević from the first draft until a shooting script and from the start, it was clear that it was an ambitious project.
My fellow producers within the group helped shape both the content and financial set-up of the film. At the end of my ACE journey, we moved forward to a shooting period in the Summer of 2021. The shoot was bound to take place in Indonesia, however, the Delta COVID variant really hit hard that summer. During our pre-production, we had to stop due to safety reasons. Later, we tried to re-set it up in Indonesia, but also started researching alternatives, and came across the island of La Reunion and eventually moved the production there. We finally shot the film a year later in the summer of 2022. It was an extremely tough period. I’ve learned a lot from this process, from my fellow participants’ input and from being involved in helping them with their projects.

What was the most challenging in getting this film from script to the screen?
On a productional level, it was what I mentioned above, creating a period piece with a small budget amidst COVID-19. The co-production structure was Dutch, Swedish, Indonesian, and French, getting our different cultures and way of working in line and being the first ever international co-production to shoot in La Reunion meant we had to work very structured. I should not forget to thank my dear colleague Leontine Petit (ACE NL) and my producing partners: Erik Hemmendorff (ACE SE), Judy Tossell (ACE DE), Kristina Borjeson (FilmiVast), Mandy Marahimin (Tala Media, Indonesia) and Laurent Medea from (TikTak production, La Réunion). We had just completed the co-production PLEASURE, where Plattform was the majority producer, and it was great to continue our relationship and collaborate on SWEET DREAMS.

What’s ahead for you and your company? What are you currently working on?
We’re happy our different outfits (Lemming Film Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany) have a lot going on in terms of production. In the meantime, we’re working on our development slate and strengthening the organisation and our team. We’re also spending quite some time on the creative alliance we’re part of called The Creatives to further intensify our collaboration.

Regarding the projects: We’re in post-production with Tallulah Schwab’s MR. K, Lucrecia Martel’s CHOCOBAR, Stefanie Kolk’s MELK, Wang Xiaoshuai’s ABOVE THE DUST, Justin Andersons SWIMMING HOME and Isabella Eklöf’s KALAK.

This fall, I’m finally shooting David Verbeek’s feature film THE WOLF, THE FOX & THE LEOPARD, a co-production between The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Croatia, Ireland, and Taiwan. We’re involved as a minority co-producer in VÄRN, directed by John Skoog, and produced by Erik Hemmendorff and Caroline Drab (Plattform), with Denis Lavant as the lead. We’re also working on SKIFF, a feature film by Cecilia Verheyden, produced by Elisa Heene (Mirage Films). In the Spring of 2024, I’m shooting Michiel ten Horn’s ANY OTHER NIGHT with our German (One Two Films) and Canadian (Lithium Studios) partners. We also have two series and a high school comedy going into production in the first half of 2023, so it’s pretty packed until next summer with a wide variety of great projects.

ACE Producers’ Films in Venice 2023


COMANDANTE by Edoardo De Angelis
Produced by Pierpaolo Verga (ACE Italy)
Opening Film Venice 2023

FINALMENTE L’ALBA by Saverio Costanzo
Produced by Mario Gianani (ACE Italy)

THE GREEN BORDER by Agnieszka Holland
Co-produced by Diana Elbaum (ACE Belgium)
and Maria Blicharska (ACE France)

HOLLY by Fien Troch
Co-produced by Frans van Gestel (ACE The Netherlands)
and Laurette Schillings (ACE The Netherlands)

LUBO by Giorgio Diritti
Executive produced by Simone Bachini (ACE Italy)
Co-produced by Christof Neracher (ACE Switzerland)

POOR THINGS by Yorgos Lanthimos
Produced by Ed Guiney (ACE Ireland)
Co-produced by Ildiko Kemeny (ACE Hungary)

THE PROMISED LAND by Nikolaj Arcel
Co-produced by Fabian Gasmia (ACE Germany)

Produced by Rajko Jazbec (ACE Switzerland)


EL PARAISO by Enrico Maria Artale
Produced by Andrea Paris (ACE Italy)

Co-produced by Nadim Cheikhrouha (ACE France)

CITY OF WIND by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
Produced by Charlotte Vincent (ACE France)
Co-produced by Denis Vaslin (ACE The Netherlands)
and Oliver Damian (ACE Germany)

Produced by Ankica Juric Tilic (ACE Croatia)
and Milan Stojanovic (ACE Serbia)

DORMITORY by Nehir Tuna
Produced by Dorothe Beinemeier (ACE Germany)

Horizons Short Film Competition

Produced by Stienette Bosklopper (ACE The Netherlands)


Produced by Marica Stocchi (ACE Italy)


ACE Producers has selected 18 experienced independent producers for the 5th edition of the ACE Series Special.

Nicholas Alavanos – Filmiki – Greece
Writers: Konstantinos Antonopoulos, Yorgos Garefalakis, Panagiotis Melidis

Didar Domehri – Maneki Films – France
“Grey Zone”
Showrunner: Mehdi Ouahab
Writers: Mehdi Ouahab, Céline Bardet

Madeleine Ekman – Nordisk Film – Sweden
“The Making of a Terrorist”
Writers: Leif Edlund, Emelia Hansson

Jessie Fisk – Feline Films – Ireland
“When They All Vanish”
Showrunner: Mark Noonan
Writer & director: Mark Noonan

Dyveke Graver – Eye Eye Pictures – Norway

Matīss Kaža – Trickster Pictures – Latvia
“Arizona Joe”
Showrunner: Matīss Kaža
Writer & director: Matīss Kaža

Jean-Marie Laronze – Special Touch Studios – France
“Kongo, The River’s Kingdom”
Writers: Ori-Huchi Kozia, Jean Bofane, Cyril Tysz
Director: Ori-Huchi Kozia

Vicky Miha – asterisk* – Greece
“Gates of Eden”
Writer: Thomas Tsalapatis

Miriam Nørgaard – Growing Stories – Denmark
Showrunners: Mads Kamp Thulstrup, Christopher Grøndahl
Writer: Christopher Grøndahl
Director: Mads Kamp Thulstrup

Gitte Nuyens – Wilder Content – Belgium
“The Dead Man’s Wife”
Showrunner: Bert Van Dael
Writers: Bert Van Dael, Deben Van Dam, Gitte Nuyens
Directors: Tim Mielants, Deben Van Dam

Tinna Proppe – Sellout – Iceland
Writer & director: Haukur Björgvinsson

Xavier Rombaut – Polar Bear – Belgium
“Bad Blood”
Writers: Bert Lesaffer, Raf Reyntjens
Director: Raf Reyntjens

Laurette Schillings– Topkapi Films – The Netherlands
“The Tata Tragedy”
Showrunners: Anoek Nuyens and Rebekka de Wit
Writers: Anoek Nuyens, Rebekka de Wit and Nathan Vecht

Dmytro Sukhanov – Toy Cinema – Ukraine
Writers: Zhanna Ozirna, Filip Syczynski

John Wallace – Cowtown Pictures – Ireland
Writer: Ger Gleeson

Joram Willink – BIND – The Netherlands
“Dual Use”
Writer: Jan van Dyck
Director: Sander Burger

Anna Zavorszky – Proton Cinema – Hungary
Writers: Agota Benedek, Aniko Mangold

The week-long workshop offers producers the opportunity to expand their understanding of the series production landscape and internationalise their network within the industry. Professionals from companies such as Fremantle, Banijay, and Lionsgate regularly attend as consultants, along with producers and showrunners offering no-holds-barred case studies and discussions.

The ACE Series Special will take place thanks to the support of Creative Europe MEDIA, LIAA – Latvian Investment and Development Agency, and the Netherlands Film Fund. The selected 18 participants represent 12 countries and include a number of highly experienced producers venturing into series production for the first time. Each producer will attend the workshop with a series project in the early stages of development which will serve as a vehicle for their learning.

The workshop will take place from the 30th of October 2023 until the 4th of November 2023. It will mark the first time that an ACE workshop has taken place in Latvia, offering the producers the opportunity to discover the services and locations available in the country.

A previous version of this post included Dace Siatkovska (Latvia – Trickster Pictures) as a participant. As she was unable to attend the workshop, Matīss Kaža (Latvia – Trickster Pictures) has been selected to attend in her place. Also, Knut Inge Solbu (Norway – Fenomen TV Film & Scene) was initially announced as one of the participants, but had to withdraw from the programme.

ACE Producers’ Films at Locarno 2023

CHICKEN FOR LINDA! by Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach
Produced by Marc Irmer (ACE France)
Opening Film

ANATOMY OF A FALL by Justine Triet
Produced by David Thion (ACE France)

LA BELLA ESTATE by Laura Luchetti
Produced by Giovanni Pompili (ACE Italy)
Developed during the ACE 30 Annual Programme

ANIMAL by Sofia Exarchou
Produced by Maria Drandaki (ACE Greece)
Co-produced by Vicky Miha (ACE Greece)

Produced by Katrin Kissa (ACE Estonia)
Co-produced by Alise Gelze (ACE Latvia)

Co-produced by Ada Solomon (ACE Romania) & Ankica Jurić Tilić (ACE Croatia)

PATAGONIA by Simone Bozzelli
Produced by Mario Gianani (ACE Italy)

ROSSOSPERANZA by Annarita Zambrano
Co-produced by Milena Poylo (ACE France) & Anthony Doncque (ACE France)

SWEET DREAMS by Ena Sendijarević
Produced by Leontine Petit (ACE The Netherlands) & Erik Glijnis (ACE The Netherlands)
Co-produced by Erik Hemmendorff (ACE Sweden) & Dries Phlypo (ACE Belgium)
Developed during the ACE 30 Annual Programme

EXCURSION by Una Gunjak
Produced by Amra Bakšić Čamo (ACE Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Co-produced by Siniša Juričić (ACE Croatia), Jelena Mitrović (ACE Serbia), Gary Craner (ACE Norway)
Opening Film

Co-produced by Stefan Eichenberger (ACE Switzerland)

CONANN by Bertrand Mandico
Produced by Gilles Chanial (ACE Luxemburg)
Co-produced by Oliver Dubois (ACE Belgium)

JILL by Steven Michael Hayes
Produced by Daniel Baur (ACE Germany), Christof Neracher (ACE Switzerland) & Oliver Simon (ACE Germany)

THIS KIND OF HOPE by Paweł Siczek
Produced by Valentin Greutert (ACE Switzerland)

ACE Producers’ films at Karlovy Vary 2023

BLAGA’S LESSON by Stephan Komandarev
Produced by Katya Trichkova (ACE Bulgaria)

CITIZEN SAINT by Tinatin Kajrishvili
Produced by Lasha Khalvashi (ACE Georgia)
Co-produced by Borislav Chouchkov (ACE Bulgaria)
& Denis Vaslin (ACE The Netherlands)

Produced by Ada Solomon (ACE Romania)

EMBRYO LARVA BUTTERFLY by Kyros Papavassiliou
Produced by Janine Teerling (ACE Cyprus)

IMAGO by Olga Chajdas
Produced by Dariusz Jablonski (ACE Poland)
Co-produced by: Laurette Schillings (ACE The Netherlands),
Frans van Gestel (ACE The Netherlands),
Miloš Lochman (ACE Czech Republic)
& Antoine Simkine (ACE France)

SLOW by Marija Kavtaradze
Produced by Marija Razgutė (ACE Lithuania)
Co-produced by Luisa Romeo (ACE Spain) & Anna-Maria Kantarius (ACE Sweden)

SNAKE GAS by David Jařab
Produced by Silvia Panáková (ACE Slovakia)

TEMPORARIES by Pier-Philippe Chevigny
Co-produced by Galilé Marion-Gauvin (ACE Canada) & Milena Poylo (ACE France)

Isabel Allen