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Kristína Aschenbrennerová • Programme manager, Pop Up Film Residency

“Pop Up Film Residency Eurimages aims to create more space for women in the industry by providing support to the experienced filmmakers”

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- The programme manager talks about the latest updates of the hub in the European film industry

Kristína Aschenbrennerová • Programme manager, Pop Up Film Residency

Founded in 2018 in Bratislava, Pop Up Film Residency aimed to become a hub and a concept that would travel around the world. Its network of residency programmes continues to expand. We had a chance to chat with Kristína Aschenbrennerová, the programme manager of Pop Up Film Residency, on the latest successes of the residency, the importance of creating more space for women in the industry and also assisting more experienced filmmakers.

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Cineuropa: Pop Up Film Residency has been proved as a successful initiative for the past years, with some of its film projects being already completed. Could you share with us some of those titles that have already their premieres or are expected to, and how did they benefit from the programme?
Kristína Aschenbrennerová
: The Pilot programme brought Jacqueline Lentzou to Bratislava. She was at the time working on her feature-length debut Moon, 66 Questions [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jacqueline Lentzou
film profile
]
that premiered at the Berlinale 2021, in the Encounters competition. This residency took longer than the now established 3 weeks, but already offered mentorship by film professionals to respond to the needs of the project.

This year, we see the films benefiting from the 2020 programmes to make waves: Piggy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carlota Pereda
film profile
]
by Carlota Pereda was selected for the Sundance Midnight, the Venice Film Days picked Ordinary Failures [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristina Grosan
film profile
]
by Cristina Grosan (written by Klára Vlasáková), and there was a Pop Up little finger also in the development of Nightsiren [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tereza Nvotová
film profile
]
by Tereza Nvotová (co-written by Barbora Námerová) that is premiering at Locarno. Their residencies were organised in partnership with Cannes Court Metrage’s FOCUS COPRO’ and WEMW, respectively; while Nightsiren was part of a special programme Slovak Pop Up. I am happy to add that most of them opted for genre films – we talk horror and sci-fi or dystopia. Judging based on the projects we came across, there is more to come.  

Last year, Pop Up Film Residency Eurimages was announced, aiming to support women in the film industry. Could you offer some more details on that?
Looking at the line-up of good 50 projects that have already been part of the Pop Up Film Residency, the programme we organise with the financial support of the Eurimages fund within their gender equality policies just makes sense: there are more women-driven projects in Pop Up than those helmed by men. These films bring women points of view, question the “traditional” patterns, seek to heal their consequences. I am saying that because these days, women empowerment, diversity, and inclusiveness are so easy to become just a buzzword. Statistics is nice but also the content matters.

Do you think that is important to focus also on more experienced filmmakers?
I do. Already the interest in the Pop Up Film Residency On Demand programme for filmmakers developing their 3rd or later film indicates that there is demand. Only this summer, Dutch director Esther Rots and Slovenian director Sonja Prosenc with their feature-length projects Legoland and Redemption that take look into close relationships and family benefit from it. And currently we are setting one such residency with another woman filmmaker. In general, European industry focuses more on spring boarding the commencing professionals. That is good and needed, yet it leaves considerably less opportunities and means for the filmmakers and producers with third or later features - perhaps they want to try something new, something more daring but only have limited points to turn to or just reboot the career after starting a family. Importantly, this is the point when the disparity between men and women becomes obvious and when women need to put extra effort to prove for themselves. The Pop Up Film Residency Eurimages is direct exactly in the goal to create more space for women in the industry by providing support to the experienced filmmakers.

What were the results of this first edition of Pop Up Film Residency Eurimages and what do you expect for the future?
The first participant of the Pop Up Film Residency Eurimages, Finnish scriptwriter, director and producer Jenni Toivoniemi, took her third feature Eve’s Call into the horror waters. On top of that, this will be her first co-production shot abroad, in Latvia this autumn. So, preparations for the shoot with different strategies were part of her consultations with Agnieszka Smoczynska, along with packaging strategies with Juraj Krasnohorský. We have just opened the call for the 2nd edition (read more here), so it is more about curiosity about the projects and challenges they face and that the Pop Up Film Residency might assist with.

Already the selection last year was a hard nut to crack even with the assistance of Cristina Galego and Mattie Do. And while one can say it is a drop of water in the ocean, but I believe and hope it is in the beginning of something exciting. Because with all the undermining speeches and patterns, even a small-scale but addressed action can make difference. Speaking of, again thanks to the financial support of the Eurimages fund, the Pop Up Film Residency will host Maryna Vroda in the program Pop Up Film Residency Ukraine dedicated to Ukrainian women filmmakers and producers.

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