REPORT: Docu Talents 2017
A look at the Central and Eastern European creative documentary projects participating at the 13th edition of Docu Talents @KVIFF, organised by the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Once again this year, the presentation of Docu Talents took place at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The 13th edition of the initiative, organised by both the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival and the Czech gathering, introduced 12 documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe, still in progress and scheduled for release from August 2017 through to July 2018, to film professionals from all over the world in order to seek co-financiers, sales agents, distributors and so on.
Here are the projects that were presented:
Spoon (Karote) (Latvia/Lithuania)
(Director: Laila Pakalnina) (Producer: Laila Pakalnina, Dagnė Vildžiūnitė)
Acclaimed Latvian director Laila Pakalnina, whose films have been screened in official programmes at Cannes, Venice, Berlin and more, signs a film that, through showing the never-ending work of factories, men and machines, examines what society invests into the creation of a plastic spoon that can be so effortlessly thrown away after. The film, staged by Pakalnina’s own outfit Hargla Company is still in production phase, and a release date is eyed for July 2018.
Laila Pakalnina presents Spoon (© JIDFF)
Merry Christmas, Yiwu (Serbia)
(Director: Mladen Kovačević) (Producer: Iva Plemić Divjak)
Serbian filmmaker Mladen Kovačević (Unplugged, Wall of Death and All That) flies to China to portray the life in the Chinese city of Yiwu, a place where some 60% of all the world’s Christmas decorations are made, but no one celebrates Christmas. A poetic, observational documentary that aims to be a Christmas fairy-tale for grown-ups. Staged by Horopter Film Production, the film is in production and it will have 2 versions (one of 90’, one of 52’ for TV). July 2018 is the tentative release date.
Kiruna 2.0 (Czech Republic)
(Director: Greta Stocklassa) (Producer: Veronika Kührová, Michael Kračmer)
Czech filmmaker Greta Stocklassa tells the story of the northernmost city of Sweden, Kiruna, which will be moved 3 kilometres to the East, through the lives of its inhabitants and the plans for their future and the city’s. Analog Vision is producing the film, in production phase, with a release date scheduled for July 2018.
Central Bus Station (Czech Republic)
(Director: Tomáš Elšík) (Producer: Jitka Kotrlová)
Czech director and DoP Tomáš Elšík (Message from Dement) chooses to get in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, one of the biggest buildings in Israel, which has become the unexpected centre of a ghetto consisting of refugees from around the world. A visually experimental documentary showing its stories and its people, staged by Frame Films, in post-production phase (with a release date for February 2018).
Voices Apart (Atskirti Balsai) (Lithuania/United Kingdom)
(Director: David Heinemann, Elvina Nevardauskaite) (Producer: Elvina Nevardauskaite)
UK director David Heinemann and Lithuanian director and producer Elvina Nevardauskaite (Remember, Thou Art Clay) explore the thin line between the objective world and subjective experience, as four voice-hearers recall critical experiences during the development of their respective psychoses. The medium-length film (40’) is produced by Broken Island Films, is in production phase and is eyeing a release on June 2018.
Dying for Beginners (Umírání Pro Začátečníky) (Czech Republic)
(Director: Bára Kopecká, Marek Bouda) (Producer: Bára Kopecká, Veronika Kührová)
Both teachers at the FAMU school in Prague, Czech directing duo Bára Kopecká and Marek Bouda approach people who, from a very early age, think about death, seen as strange sufferers of melancholia or diagnosed with depression. The film, a short feature film (60’) staged by Kopecká’s own production company alongside with Analog Vision, is already finished and should be released soon, in September 2017.
Crying Will Get You Nowhere (Sírással nem megyünk semmire) (Hungary)
(Director: Réka Szabó) (Producer: Réka Szabó, Sára László, Marcell Gerő)
A dancer as well as a filmmaker, Hungary’s Réka Szabó portrays the birth of a contemporary dance performance originated in the dialogue of a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor, a 32-year-old outstanding dancer and a 47-year-old choreographer - all women with different life experiences. The film, in post-production, is staged by Campfilm, and its estimated date of premiere is November 2017.
Sára László, Réka Szabó and Marcell Gerő present Crying Will Get You Nowhere (© JIDFF)
(Director: Vicki Thornton, Pavel Yurov) (Producer: Marion Guth, Julia Sinkevych, Nadia Parfan, Marianna Kaat)
Visual artists and filmmakers Vicki Thornton and Pavel Yurov film an existential journey from past to present, following a Ukrainian theatre director and a British filmmaker as they travel to different mining communities in Europe seeking stories for a new play, ending up in a former Soviet settlement at the edge of the Arctic Circle. Produced by Luxembourg’s a_BAHN, Ukraine’s Phalanstery Films and Estonia’s Baltic Film Production, the film is still in production phase, and eyes a release in February 2018.
About Life of Planets (Iz Zhizni Planet) (France/Kazakshtan)
(Director: Katarina Suvorova) (Producer: Anna Vilgelmi)
Kazakh filmmaker Katarina Suvorova documents the Tien-Shan Astronomical Observatory, one of the largest research centres in the Soviet Union, now brought back to life by an old professor and a group of enthusiastic astronomers. The film (60’) is produced by France’s Rhizome Production, is in production phase, and is aiming for a release in December 2017.
D is for Division (Muris) (Latvia/Czech Republic)
(Director: Davis Simanis) (Producer: Guntis Trekteris, Radim Procházka)
Latvian filmmaker and theorist Davis Simanis (Escaping Riga) explores the history of the political borders between Latvia and Russia, going back to the Soviet invasion of the Baltic country, crafting an explosive testament about the tension on Europe’s Eastern borders. The film, already in post-production and expecting a release in October 2017, was staged by Latvia’s Ego Media and Czech Republic’s Produkce Radim Procházka.
Earthly Paradise (Ráj na zemi) (Slovakia)
(Director: Jaro Vojtek) (Producer: Mátyás Prikler, Zora Jaurová)
A documentary film by Slovak director Jaro Vojtek about his friend Andrej Ban, a journalist and war photographer who covers painful conflicts around the world, built with the footage of their journeys together. MPhilms Ltd. is staging the film, still in production phase, and eyeing an estimated date of premiere in March 2018.
Occupation 1968 (Okupacia 1968) (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Poland/Bularia/Hungary)
(Director: Evdokia Moskvina, Magdalena Szymkov, Stephan Komandarev, Linda Dombrovszky, Marie Elisa Scheidt) (Producer: Peter Kerekes)
Five documentaries put together to depict occupation as occupants see it. The occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 by five countries from the Warsaw Pact (Russia, Poland, Germany, Hungary and Bulgaria) is the subject of the documentary, which will have two versions: a series of five 26-minute episodes for TV, and a 130-minute feature for theatrical distribution. Slovak producer Peter Kerekes (Peter Kerekes Film) is staging the project, in production and scheduled for a release date in February 2018.
Peter Kerekes presents Occupation 1968 (© JIDFF)