Works in Development – Feature Launch 2018

Balaur
Balaur


Countries:
Romania
Directed by:
Octav Chelaru
Scriptwriter:
Octav Chelaru
Producer:
Radu Stancu, Livia Rădulescu (delegate producer)
Language:
Romanian
Genre:
drama
Estimated budget:
700,000 Euro
Release date:
2020
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

Mrs. Ivanovici, 35-years old, lives in a small, traditional Romanian town. She has a monotonous marriage with an older priest and teaches religious studies at high school. One day, Mrs. Ivanovici challenges Iuliu, an audacious 16-year-old student, to the point of insulting him. When Iuliu confronts her, she is surprised, but she apologizes and gives him a lift home. This ride proves to be the start of a sexual relationship between Mrs. Ivanovici and Iuliu. After Mrs. Ivanovici starts building barriers, Iuliu fights back using the weapon she knows best – religion. He starts confessing to her husband, the town priest, and he calls Mrs. Ivanovici so she can hear the confessions live. Scared, Mrs. Ivanovici fights back as Iuliu’s tactics become obsessive. With all her certainties questioned, Mrs. Ivanovici confronts Iuliu and finds out that behind this evil mask is a lonely and scared person, just like her.

Company profile

deFilm was conceived as an independent production company in 2009, gathering a group of young filmmakers that share common passions and values. We engage all types of cinematic productions with diverse approaches and styles. Films such as Ramona by Andrei Crețulescu, Horizon by Paul Negoescu, Black Clothes by Octav Chelaru, The World is Mine by Nicolae Constantin Tănase, or Marița by Cristi Iftime were presented and awarded at prestigious international film festivals such as Cannes, Locarno, Karlovy Vary, AFI, Chicago, Busan, Transilvania IFF, and many more. More recently, the stop motion animation The Best Customer by Serghei Chiviriga was selected in 11 major international festivals dedicated to the genre. We are currently in different stages of production with two feature films, To The North by Mihai Mincan, and Balaur by Octav Chelaru, five shorts, one feature animation, and three documentaries.

Author’s statement

I have always been interested in how set beliefs seem to offer valid explanations for everything. When I read a story from my hometown about a high school student committing suicide after a relationship with his religious studies teacher, I considered it a tragedy and that was it. Yet the story kept coming up in conversations with my parents who still live there. I found out that the whole community was supporting the teacher during her trial. Then it hit me: everybody knew. As I went further and started to research this type of relationship, I understood that there is a pattern. Teachers who do this usually do it many times and with multiple students. But this particular case from my hometown was very different from the pattern, because the traditional values of the society added a special ingredient to the whole story: the feeling that beneath the seemingly in-control surface are many questions that need to be answered.

Producer’s statement

From the very beginning, there were several facts that compelled us to make this film but also struck us personally. Balaur tells the intriguing story of a woman whose core values become subject to transformation when her unquestioned traditional setting is challenged by a forceful encounter. For her, this provokes surprising actions that borderline on illegality. For us, a series of larger questions are raised. Can one’s faith resist a dramatic blow to core beliefs? This question can be even more arduous when posed from a women’s perspective in a traditional setting. Further questions refer to dysfunctional familial dynamics, twisted aggressor-victim roles, and the division between opposing values in society. In addition to these subjects, which are at the forefront of worldwide discussions today, Balaur addresses central human needs: love, acceptance, and defining one’s place in society and in life.

Contact / Presenters

Octav Chelaru | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +40 749 344 173

Livia Rădulescu | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +40 755 991 199

Brazil
Vrazilía


Countries:
Greece
Directed by:
Thelyia Petraki
Scriptwriter:
Thelyia Petraki
Producer:
Kostas Tagalakis
Language:
Greek, French, Brazilian Portuguese, English
Genre:
tragicomedy
Estimated budget:
880,000 Euro
Release date:
2020
Runtime:
0 min

This is the film’s working title and may change.
This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

Christos, a headstrong rationalist – is diagnosed with ALS. The disease is always fatal for all patients. Desperate, he decides to travel to Brazil and look for the renowned healer João de Deus. However, the disease has already paralyzed his legs and Christos needs the assistance of an escort. Friends and relatives are not willing to follow him in this adventure, but Christos finds the solution he needs in Alexis, his son’s best friend, an artist who leads an aimless life with no responsibilities or plans for the future. The personalities of the two men are radically different and their trip is full of tension and confrontations. When they arrive to João’s reservation – a unique place full of rituals and mysteries – Christos strives to find the miracle he so desperately needs. His struggle will eventually force him to confront his very self: his prejudices and fears, which have defined his life thus far.

Company profile

TopSpot is a film production & services company founded by Kostas Tagalakis and Thelyia Petraki. Maintaining a vast film location archive, we specialize in undertaking domestic and international productions eligible to be shot in the territory of Greece. The company’s mission has always been to promote Greece as a film-friendly destination. Among other initiatives, TopSpot is one of the pioneers in consulting government officials to endeavor and establish the National Cash Rebate (25%). The portfolio of the company’s activities now includes high profile TV Commercials, domestic and foreign Feature and Short Films, TV Series from around the world and Celebrity Photo Shoots. Under the umbrella of TopSpot we have been producing projects such as short films and documentaries. Currently we are at the stage of pre-producing our third short film Bella and developing our debut narrative feature film Brazil.

Author’s statement

Brazil aims to dramatize how people react when the certainty of death invades their lives and pushes them to face the harshest dilemma: surrender to the inevitable and accept that life is running short with every passing second or fight to the end and do anything and everything in order to survive? Our protagonist finds himself trapped in this age-old conflict between the human instinct for survival and the inevitability of death. Under these extreme circumstances he must define his own truth and make the most out of the limited time he has left. Our goal is to render Christos’ journey with empathy and passion, and finally allow us to witness a man who – when faced with certain death – chooses to give himself over to the forces of instinct and live free of any qualms or moral and intellectual inhibitions.  


Producer’s statement

We met with the director when we were still working in the advertisement industry. Realizing how well we work together, we established our own production company, TopSpot. Since then we have come to share mutual understanding and trust, which gives us the confidence to continue and evolve as creative partners. Brazil is going to be our first feature film. I am drawn to Brazil because it addresses the issue of terminal illnesses, highlighting their effects on the individual. Through this filmic journey to Brazil we aim to expose all the harsh truths concerning the subject matter and to open up the discussion surrounding the eternal experience of someone facing the certainty of death. I am confident that Brazil can be the ideal project for co-production, because the topics it explores – disability, mortality and the need for hope – even miracles – are concerns that will always have a universal appeal.

Contact / Presenters

Thelyia Petraki | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +30 694 5687 587

Kostas Tagalakis | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +30 693 7121 987

Clouds on Leashes
Clouds on Leashes


Countries:
Azerbaijan
Directed by:
Eva Gunel
Scriptwriter:
Gunel Eva
Producer:
Maria Ibrahimova
Language:
Azeri
Genre:
fantasy, drama
Estimated budget:
650,000 Euro
Release date:
May 2020
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

Set in modern day Azerbaijan, Grace and her mother Sara start the forty-day mourning period, a tradition required for Muslim widows. Nine-year-old Grace is rendered mute by the trauma of losing her father. Retreating to her tree house, she enters a rich imaginative world where the veil between reality and her imagination becomes thinner and thinner as she meets strange and friendly creatures, each representing the stages of grief. Grace is convinced that she can find her father alive if she completes the quest in her fantasy kingdom. Meanwhile, Sara embarks on a parallel journey of coping – therapists, religion, and superstition. Finally, Sara realizes she will lose Grace unless she reveals the truth of her father’s tragic suicide. An intimate, surrealist fable of death, separation, and reunion, Clouds on Leashes explores the real – and fantastical – aspects of death through the eyes of a young girl.

Company profile

Based in Baku, Cinex Productions offers high level professional production services. Facilities include post-production studios, a full range of production equipment, as well as a professional and experienced crew. Cinex is the go-to production company for most international productions wishing to shoot in Azerbaijan. For the last two years Cinex has been developing Night Tide, which was awarded production support by the Russian Ministry of Culture through Non-Stop Production and producer Alexander Rodnyansky (Elena, Leviathan, Loveless). Last year, Night Tide took part in the MIDPOINT Intensive at KVIFF and was selected to pitch at the East/West co-production market coco in Cottbus. Night Tide is currently in production. Cinex is now developing Clouds on Leashes, which was chosen for the MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2018 and Istanbul Film Festival’s Meetings on the Bridge co-production market.

Author’s statement

The idea has developed from both my personal experience and my desire to explore the universal understanding of death. I want to unravel the subject of grief by exploring Azerbaijani cultural traditions around the 40-day mourning period while shedding light on what it’s like to be a woman in a patriarchal society, where certain expectations are placed on women when left without a man.

I am attracted to stories that lend themselves to the philosophical exploration of the human condition. While writing the script, I worked closely with a child psychologist to remain accurate in developing the human psychological condition.

My dual ambition is to create a timeless fable for adults, bringing them in touch with their inner child and depicting a soul-nurturing tale of healing for people who are experiencing or have experienced grief.

Producer’s statement

Ironically, given Gunel’s interest in overcoming grief after death – somebody had to die for us to meet. In Azerbaijan there is something of a cult around death; there are many rules and various events to attend when someone dies. This goes on for 40 days. We were introduced after one such event and she gave me a first draft of her script. The visuals were so unique and the story so moving that I was instantly smitten. I was also attracted to Gunel’s hands-on approach to making her vision into reality. During the filming of the teaser she physically crafted many of the props and did all of the production design herself. It was a level of artistic ability that I hadn’t encountered before in a filmmaker. Even though our film takes place in Azerbaijan, and we will show many of its cultural colors and traditions, at its core it still remains a story that will resonate with all those who have lost a loved one.

Contact / Presenters

Eva Gunel | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +1 215 8808 952

Maria Ibrahimova | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +994 502 188 069

Erasing Frank
Szex, Drót, Rock’n Roll


Countries:
Hungary
Directed by:
Gábor Fabricius
Scriptwriter:
Gábor Fabricius
Producer:
Gábor Ferenczy, András Muhi, Gábor Fabricius, Miklós Havas
Language:
Hungarian
Genre:
drama
Estimated budget:
981,294 Euro
Release date:
Spring 2020
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

1983. Frank, a kid from the streets of Budapest represents a sensitive, talented, but angry generation – a youth with “no future” in a dystopian world. With his punk band he realizes that the state has banned their music because their words are political. The police are after them, so Frank escapes to a psychiatric ward, where he finds not only the disabled, but opposition thinkers, free-spirited artists, and enemies of the system finding safe haven. He meets Hanna, a boyish young patient who has never experienced freedom. They join forces to fight Comrade Erős, the cultural leader of the state. Erős is a skillful match and as sensitive as Frank. Oddly enough, he is the only one Frank can look up to. In a maniacal fight, Frank sacrifices his friends, love, and – due to political psychiatry’s medication – even his own voice in order to get his message across: words of freedom that one day make a rusty empire collapse.

Company profile

FocusFox Studio has effectively and thoroughly served clients for 20 years with continuous technical and infrastructural leadership. Since 2011 FocusFox has acted as a production company marked by Gábor Ferenczy, András Muhi, Attila Tőzsér. Its first independent movie What Ever Happened to Timi became the most successful comedy of 2014 in Hungary. It’s Not the Time of My Life won Crystal Globe for Best Film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2016. András Muhi’s films are participants and often winners of prestigious international film festivals (Just the Wind, On Body and Soul, Genezis).

Otherside Stories was founded by Gábor Fabricius, a London Institute Central Saint-Martins MA Graduate. Fiction, documentary, interactive – the company’s aim is to create a real experience for the viewer. It constantly looks for innovators who redefine storytelling with a strong visual and social approach.

Author’s statement

A political and social drama set in 1983 behind the iron curtain, in a dystopian world, using brutalist architecture. The film guides us through a world where words are weapons of mass destruction. As a kid being around my parents, I recall memories of detecting paranoia in their eyes, as they were involved in different movements. Dystopia was reality; the state destroyed individual voices, so it is a story of an unknown soldier, fighting for freedom of speech, a hero of the ‘1984’ times who reflects the mission of a generation. I emphasize the importance of an individual voice for today’s youth as well, as it is eventually freedom itself. Every generation has the task of looking after freedom during each dystopian time. My goal is to redefine direct cinema in Hungarian film, which had its golden era in the 70’s, in order to present a raw experience of the character. Frank will help new generations to value freedom.

Producer’s statement

Erasing Frank will be the debut feature film of Gábor Fabricius, one of Hungary’s most recognized emerging filmmakers, whose award-winning short films have been presented at many festivals such as Toronto International Film Festival. We want to make a film based on an artistic and well developed script with a solid production value and authenticity. The script development was supported by the Hungarian National Film Fund and selected by Sources 2 and MIDPOINT. We aim to have the script ready by June 2018 and apply for pre-production to the Hungarian National Film Fund in October 2018. We plan to apply for production support to the HNFF in January 2019 and start shooting in spring 2019. We are looking for a potential co-producer from Central-Eastern Europe such as Poland, Czech Republic, Romania or Serbia because we believe that our story has a great international potential to appeal to a wider audience. 

Contact / Presenters

Gábor Fabricius | Scriptwriter, Director
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +36 707 713 693

Miklós Havas | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +36 303 754 486

Homeward
Dodomu


Countries:
Ukraine
Directed by:
Nariman Aliev
Scriptwriter:
Marysia Nikitiuk
Producer:
Vladimir Yatsenko
Language:
Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar
Genre:
drama
Estimated budget:
580,000 Euro
Release date:
Winter 2020
Runtime:
0 min

This is the film’s working title and may change.
This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

Crimean Tatar Mustafa (51 y.o.) and his younger son Alim (17 y.o.) come to Kiev to receive the body of dead Nazim (27 y.o.), Mustafa’s elder son. The father wishes to bury him in his native Crimea. On their way to Crimea, they stay in a village where local thieves steal all their money and documents. They have no chance to cross the border, so the men attempt to hide Nazim. They are exposed by Ukrainian soldiers. Alim and his father could escape from the border. Mustafa has an argument with the border guards and drives away. They come to the village where Refat, Mustafa’s younger brother, lives. He has not spoken to his brother for 25 years. Refat helps them to cross the boundary via a bay. On the shore of Sivash Lake, they leave the body on a boat, but the boat begins to leak. At dawn, Mustafa reaches the coast of Crimea alone. He sits on the seashore and looks out over the water.

Company profile

Founded in 2005, Limelite is one of the leading production companies in Ukraine, comprising a full-time staff of 35 audiovisual professionals and producing international co-productions. During its 13 years Limelite has produced more than 600 commercials and several feature films. In 2017 we produced the feature film The Wild Fields by director Yaroslav Lodygin (The Connecting Cottbus Best Pitch Award 2016 and Work In Progress Award 2017) and Nematoma by director Ignas Jonynas in co-production with Lithuania‘s Revoliucijos Ideja. In production: Atlantis by director Valentyn Vasyanovych. His previous film – Black Level was selected for the Oscar races from Ukraine and won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Odessa International Film Festival.​ Glowman by director Bence Fliegauf – co-production between M&M Film (Hungary), Manderley Films (Germany) and Limelite (Ukraine).

Author’s statement

This film is about how to persevere and not to lose self-consciousness and one’s native nationality in troubled times. The relationship between father and son are at the center of the film. Two generations meet: the generation of the father, whose childhood was spent in deportation and who had to sacrifice much to return to his homeland, and the generation of a son who was born in Crimea and does not know what the USSR was. The plot develops on the way from Kyiv to Crimea. The viewer will notice changes in the mentality of Ukrainians living on the road from north to south and feel how their sense of war changes as they approach the front. I want to help viewers experience the story as something personal, but not leave them alone with the tragedy, giving them the opportunity to feel hope in the end. I want this personal story to become a bridge for understanding who Crimean Tatars are and what is happening to them now.

Producer’s statement

Homeward is a very intimate, acute drama that raises timeless questions such as fathers and sons, especially in a Muslim family. It depicts highly topical problems of Crimean Tatars, who formerly lived in the territory of Crimea but have been forced to leave their homeland twice in the last 100 years. It is a road movie, which helps tell this story in an easily understood, engaging and entertaining manner. The director Nariman Aliev is a Crimean Tatar, and it is highly essential for him to tell the story of the tragedy of his nation.

Homeward is the first feature film of Nariman Aliev, yet his last short film Without You was selected for the “Generation 14+“ of Berlinale 2016.

The successful festival story of director’s short films gives us the opportunities to receive participation in the programs of A-class film festivals with his debut feature film as well.

Contact / Presenters

Nariman Aliev | Director
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +380 932 164 321

Marysia Nikitiuk | Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +380 968 092 374

Vladimir Yatsenko | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +380 673 837 508

Leave No Traces
Żeby nie było śladów


Countries:
Poland
Directed by:
Jan P. Matuszyński
Scriptwriter:
Kaja Krawczyk – Wnuk
Producer:
Leszek Bodzak
Language:
Polish
Genre:
drama, historical fiction
Estimated budget:
2,500,000 Euro
Release date:
2020
Runtime:
0 min

This is the film’s working title and may change.


Film synopsis

Leave No Traces is set in 1983 in Warsaw. It tells the true story of Jurek, a 24-year-old young man who witnesses the fatal beating of his friend, Grzegorz, by the communist police. Since Jurek is the only eyewitness to the beating and is very keen on testifying, the entire power of the communist regime, represented by general Kiszczak, the minister of internal affairs, is unleashed on Jurek. His flat is wiretapped, all his conversations are listened to and analyzed by the police and he is followed round the clock by several dozen secret agents wherever he goes. 

His situation is made even more difficult by the fact that he finds himself torn between his loyalty to Barbara, the mother of his late friend and his own parents, who are persecuted by the government. Despite the immense pressure, Jurek finds it in himself to testify but his relationship both with Barbara and his parents is irreparably broken.

Company profile

Aurum Film was founded by Leszek Bodzak, a lawyer by education who has been engaged in raising external funding and investment management for many years. He has also produced a number of documentaries. Aurum Film’s first feature, Carte Blanche, was well-received in Poland and abroad – the film was awarded the Grand Prix at Shanghai IFF. The company was joined by Aneta Hickinbotham, who spent several years in Hollywood collaborating in the production department with such directors as Roman Polanski, Steven Spielberg and Tom Tykwer. The Last Family is Aurum Film’s second feature, achieving an audience of over 500,000 at the Polish box office. The film premiered at Locarno IFF, where it won the Best Actor award. The film has won over 40 awards at film festivals worldwide. Currently, Aurum Film is working on further projects, including a new Borys Lankosz film – Dark, Almost Night and a Jan Komasa film Corpus Christi.

Author’s statement

The adaptation of a story based on true events is like a tennis match with three opponents: as in any script, one has not only to create a convincing on-screen world in which the viewer will want to spend two hours but also remain true to the spirit of the book and historical events. How can these opposing vectors be reconciled? By finding the heart of the story in one special character who will guide the audience through this world. This character is the source of the film’s central conflict. Against common sense and his family’s protests, Jurek, friend of the murdered Grzegorz Przemyk, decides to stand up to the communist regime and do everything he can to “leave his mark.” Jurek’s struggle is symbolic; it will not revive Grzegorz, and it will not make anything better. The futile romanticism of his journey is what first drew me to this amazing story.

Producer’s statement

Leave No Traces is a continuation of the collaboration between the director Jan P. Matuszynski and the production company Aurum Film. During the production of our previous film – The Last Family – we established a great friendship based on mutual trust and a shared artistic vision. At the same time, it is Matuszynski’s second film in which he deals with historical issues, seeking references to contemporary and universal themes in important historical events. Grzegorz Przemyk’s death was one of the key events that led to the fall of the communist regime in Poland. We want to make a film based on an artistic script, solid production value and authenticity of the depicted historical reality. We envision this as an international co-production, because we feel that Przemyk’s story is current and has great potential to appeal to a wider audience.

Contact / Presenters

Jan P. Matuszyński | Director
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +48 502 251 079

Kaja Krawczyk-Wnuk | Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +48 502 353 853

Leszek Bodzak | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +48 504 275 800

The Myth of a Real Man
Mit o pravom čoveku


Countries:
Serbia
Directed by:
Lee Filipovski
Scriptwriter:
Lee Filipovski
Producer:
Adi Dizdarević
Language:
Serbian
Estimated budget:
771,000 Euro
Release date:
beginning of 2021
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

As Vasiliye and Katarina Ostrogorsky wait for a response from the Canadian embassy on the status of their visa, their country comes under attack during the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. Their twelve-year-old son Georgey, who was already grappling with the idea of moving to Canada, now watches his father as he puts on his uniform and answers the call to mobilization to defend a country which he was initially determined to leave. During Vasiliye's absence, the letter from the embassy arrives. As Vasiliye comes back on a day's leave from the military, his wife realizes that his focus has shifted. Instead of taking the chance to escape the country, Vasiliye chooses to return to the army. It will take a heavy air raid on their neighborhood to make Vasiliye realize the gravity of the situation and see the consequence of his decision.

Company profile

Filmbakery was founded in 2018 by two young film professionals, producer Adi Dizdarević and film director/producer Lee Filipovski. After actively working in the film industry, they decided it was time to start their own production company that would focus on their first independent feature film as well as support emerging talents by creating short films, features and documentaries. Filmbakery was awarded by the British Council at the Western Balkans Start-Up workshop. The first project we worked on as a production company is Ours, a hybrid documentary about Sead Sabotić which is currently in postproduction. Previous works by the founders have been screened at some of the most significant festivals in the world and they continue to gain momentum with the project proposal for their feature film The Myth of a Real Man which is set to begin production in 2020.

Author’s statement

The Myth of a Real Man began as a project based on my own memories of growing up in Yugoslavia in the 1990s and subsequently immigrating to my second homeland, Canada. Those of us who immigrated reached the point where we realized that normal life in our country is no longer a viable possibility. This decision is a battleground of the rational and emotional sides within a person. Famous Serbian author Milos Crnjanski described this in a quote that I believe sums up the state of mind of my protagonist: "Patriotism is a form of sadomasochism: it destroys you, tortures you, torments you, brings you to the brink of existence, and yet you remain faithful. Patriotism is the perfect parity where both a lyrist and a village fool are on the same level". The dilemmas which many people in the world face today are not much different than those of the protagonists in The Myth of a Real Man – stay and fight, or leave.

Producer’s statement

We would like to structure this film as a three or four-country co-production. The first major co-production partner we would look to attach is Canada. The director's short film Fluffy, a Serbian-Canadian co-production, has won the highest awards in Canada (including the Best Short Film Award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes and Canadian Screen Award for Best Live Action Short). We have a co-producer in Canada attached – Art & Essai, who focuses on working with indie films. We are also concentrating on France and in the event of French financing we would also focus on attaching a French sales agent. The fourth country in this case would be the Czech Republic, where the director, who studied in Prague, has ties to creative young producers who are very willing to join our project. We would round up the financing process with an application to Eurimages.

Contact / Presenters

Lee Filipovski | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +381 658 784 987

Adi Dizdarević | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +381 658 784 987

Sirin
Sirin


Countries:
Montenegro
Directed by:
Senad Šahmanović
Scriptwriter:
Claudia Bottino, Senad Šahmanović
Producer:
Veliša Popović
Language:
Montenegrin
Genre:
drama
Estimated budget:
788,000 Euro
Release date:
2020
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

After 20 years in France, where she has done everything to build a new identity and erase her origins, Nathalie comes back to Montenegro in her professional outfit in order to help her boss Valérie solve a complex and unusual inheritance case. The deceased, Sanja Djurdjevic, a spinster who came from the Balkans but lived in France, has bequeathed a large sum to the Orthodox Church in her hometown for the construction of a chapel in her name. Once on the ground, the mask that Nathalie has created for herself during all these years abroad begins to crack: the legal investigation shifts to a personal interrogation. The only way to resolve this dilemma is to revisit the small village where she was born and confront the self and the people she left behind: a sister who has made the sacrifice to stay there, taking care of their parents and dealing with a country at war, while Nathalie built up a new life abroad and tried to have it all.

Company profile

Cut-Up is a production company dedicated to filmmakers with daring and authentic visions. Our aim is to gather projects with strong ideas and make them visible on international markets. Cut-Up is a relatively young company. It was established in 2013 by a group of producers who felt the urge to work independently and be creatively involved in the projects from the very start. Since then, Cut-Up has produced the short films “Shelters” (Zakloni, 2014, dir: Ivan Salatić) and A Matter of Will (Biserna obala, 2015, dir: Dušan Kasalica), and the feature film Lowdown (Ispod mosta, među stijenama, 2016, dir: Pavle Simono-vić), which were shown and received awards at numerous prestigious film festivals. In addition to film, we are also experienced in production services, which is a promising and important branch of production for Montenegro.

Author’s statement

Sirin is my first feature-length project. The idea has developed from both my personal experience and my screenwriter’s. We’ve united our common desire to write about the long-term consequences of uprooting and transplanting ourselves, allowing an intimate approach to our protagonist’s story. Our aim is to present a personal drama in a very simple yet emotionally complex way, leading the audience on a journey of personal and universal discovery. The key word for this project is simplicity, both in the narrative and in the directing. We truly believe that minimalism is the best way to raise powerful emotions. Sirin is a project that starts with a personal experience and aims to reach universal understanding and empathy. We believe this topic will speak to a large audience at this time of tension between our global and local identities. The answer to our main question – where do I belong? – is not purely geographical.

Producer’s statement

Sirin is a first feature film by one of the most prominent Montenegrin filmmakers of our generation. The first time Senad and Claudia introduced me to the project, I was moved by their urge to tell this story. The development of the project started in 2016. The script was awarded the Beaumarchais Grant for Script Development and was recently awarded a grant by the Montenegrin Development Fund. The story is very connected to France and the ex-Yugoslavian region, and therefore we have already found a French co-producer (“Alliance de Production Cinématographique”). The plan is to include other countries (Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo and/or Bosnia and Herzegovina) as well. By the end of 2018, the plan is to apply for support to the Montenegrin Production Fund. We’re interested in meeting people who feel the same enthusiasm as we do for this story, which is provocative and intriguing in our country.

Contact / Presenters

Senad Šahmanović | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +382 67 078 870; +382 69 301 998

Claudia Bottino | Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +33 677 312 750

Veliša Popović | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +382 674 80 606

The Ugly Mandarine
The Ugly Mandarine


Countries:
Czech Republic
Directed by:
Piaoyu Xie
Scriptwriter:
Piaoyu Xie, Pepa Lubojacki
Producer:
Veronika Kührová
Language:
English, Chinese, Czech, Slovak
Genre:
drama
Estimated budget:
250,000 Euro
Release date:
May 2020
Runtime:
0 min

This film is director's feature debut.


Film synopsis

Yiou is a young woman from China studying music in Prague. Her graduation concert is approaching, which means her student visa will expire along with it. Yiou realizes she is in a situation which is much more complicated than choosing between two life styles. Being able to stay in Prague also means Yiou could stay with her beloved partner, Greta, a Slovak doctor. The two decide to apply for a spouse visa so Yiou can stay. Later on, however, the rejection on her visa application is turning Yiou’s life into a blur of forms and acronyms. What’s more, her new identity depends on someone else, which inevitably brings imbalance and inequality into their relationship. When all of these difficulties are compounded, petty fights can easily turn into an emotional war that eventually kills their relationship, which ironically was the reason that motivated them to fight for the visa in the first place.

Company profile

Analog Vision is a film production and distribution company based in Prague, Czech Republic, and founded by 2 producers – Veronika Kűhrová and Michal Kráčmer. The fusion has created a company that focuses on creating and distributing films of young authors from Central Europe, developing new audio-visual forms and producing genre films that target the worldwide market. There are currently four projects in production – the feature documentary Kiruna 2.0 about a Swedish town constantly in motion (dir. Greta Stocklassa), a feature experimental archive documentary My Unknown Soldier about the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 (dir. Anna Kryvenko), a short experimental documentary Taurophilia (dir. Francesco Montagner) and a short fictional work Inversion (dir. Lucia Kajánková). Several others such as Bloody Easter (dir. Jan Bušta) are in pre-production and The Ugly Mandarine (dir. Piaoyu Xie) is also in development.

Author’s statement

The Ugly Mandarine goes beyond a fictional story. After years in Prague, I have met people who have significantly shaped me personally and professionally. The idea of leaving my life in Prague, as well as the freedom I have as a filmmaker is intimidating. Meanwhile, I also feel a sense of responsibility towards my family back in China who are hoping for my return. I found myself trapped between two lands and two realities. This experience raised many questions about who I am, where I belong, and how globalization has an impact on one’s cultural identity. By putting all these questions in the context of a relationship between two girls, I want to investigate how one’s identity is not only challenged by external factors but also by something internal. I would like to present a love story which is not only about love, but also about who we are and the extent to which we get to decide for ourselves.

Producer’s statement

The Ugly Mandarine is a very personal project to me. It is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the director, who approached me less than a year ago to cooperate on her debut feature film. That is quite a unique feature and it was the first time we ever met. She trusted me as a producer because she knew my previous work and the work of Analog Vision. We knew her last short film The Nettle, which proved to us her ability to create a great film. We are trying to produce The Ugly Mandarine in a way that is very true to the story and we want to spread its message. Working with an expat director brings challenges, but trusting one another brings successful progress to the film.

Contact / Presenters

Piaoyu Xie | Director, Scriptwriter
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +420 608 059 996

Veronika Kührová | Producer
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +420 724 148 114

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