REPORT: Docs in Progress @ Karlovy Vary 2019
by Martin Kudláč
- Intriguing, socially conscious and personal documentary projects at the post-production stage have been showcased at Karlovy Vary
Docs in Progress saw producers and directors from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa introduce their latest documentary projects, which are slated to premiere after the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The members of the 2019 Docs in Progress jury were Pierre-Alexis Chevit, who runs the Doc Corner and Doc Day industry programme at the Marché du Film; Lejla Dedić, who has been working in the Programme department of Al Jazeera Balkans; and creative producer and film development consultant Patricia Drati. The jury decided to hand the main prize to the project The Silhouettes, an Iranian-Filipino co-production directed by Afsaneh Salari (see the news).
Below we outline the projects that were presented at the event, starting with the winner:
The Silhouettes - Afsaneh Salari (Iran/Philippines)
“It's probably the only film that opens up the taboo subject of the plight of Afghanis in Iran, from a very intimate observation of a family. It tells the complex story of an Afghan family in Iran, yet it shares universal themes, such as the senses of security and belonging, parenthood and rites of passage, which we all experience as human beings in our homes together with our family,” producer-director Afsaneh Salari revealed to Cineuropa about her upcoming project The Silhouettes. The film is being produced by a collective of young filmmakers in Iran, Docmaniacs, which Salari is also a member of. Jewel Maranan, of Cinema Is Incomplete, is acting as a joint producer. “Jewel is our classmate from our documentary master’s course in Doc Nomads,” adds Salari. The Sundance Institute and Asian Cinema Fund have supported the project, and the film was developed at the Berlinale’s Doc Station and ZagrebDox Pro. The producer-director revealed that The Silhouettes is currently in the editing room in France, and she is hoping for a release in late autumn. At the same time, she is still looking for additional funding to finish the post-production, and seeking sales agents and distributors.
Caught in the Net - Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák (Czech Republic/Slovakia)
“Three 12-year-old girls, ten days, 2,458 different men” goes the summary of the “psychosocial experiment” Caught in the Net by Czech documentarians Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák. Said 12-year-old girls were actually actresses aged 18 or older, and the filmmakers managed to unveil the tactics employed by online predators in order to raise awareness of the dangers. Caught in the Net is being produced by Klusák and Filip Remunda, of Hypermarket Film, and Peter Kerekes is co-producing on the Slovakian side. The film is expected to be ready in October 2019. Click here to read more about the project.
Invisible to the Eye - Zenyep Dadak (Turkey/Germany)
“The film is an urban symphony, where Istanbul’s multi-layered fabric is orchestrated through the merger of multiple visual and textual materials. Negative films, miniatures, engravings, digital images and fictive stories are edited together. Drone shots, tracking shots, slow zooms and stationary shots with a 16 mm camera reflect different angles and points of view as well as the different paces of experiencing the modern-day city,” says producer Asli Dadak Yikilmaz as he describes Zenyep Dadak’s sophomore feature-length project, Invisible to the Eye. The creative documentary following the life of Ottoman-Armenian intellectual Eremya Celebi Komurciyan is a Turkish-German co-production between Fenafilm and Elemag Pictures GmbH, and was supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg Experimentalfilm. The producers are looking for financial support to finish the movie while also seeking international distributors and sales agents. Asli Dadak Yikilmaz expects Invisible to the Eye to be completed by September 2019.
Ivan’s Land – Andrii Lysetskyi (Ukraine/Latvia/Germany)
The feature-length project Ivan’s Land is the first directorial work by Ukrainian DoP Andrii Lysetskyi. Lysetskyi captures the simple life of the protagonist, Ivan, in a Ukrainian village – a simple life until Ivan turns out to be “one of the great artists of a dying art form”, that of Polissya folk painting. Ivan’s Land captures the enthusiasm surrounding Ivan’s art but also the “urge of the contemporary art world to intellectualise his art”. Principal photography took place from October 2017 to December 2018, and the project is currently at the rough-cut stage. The editing work should be completed by November 2019 in order to get the film ready for a February 2020 launch. Ivan’s Land is being produced by Olga Beskhmelnytsina and Gennady Kofman, of MaGiKa Film, Uldis Cekulis, of VFS Films, and Dirk Simon (Boxee Media UG). “As became evident during shooting, this documentary is not only about the master painter and the unique tradition of a vanishing art form. Most of all, this documentary is about a happy and well-adjusted human being living in his own harmonious universe,” notes director Lysetskyi. The producers are currently seeking funds or grants to complete post-production, while also looking for sales agents and distributors.
Project C - Alexander Nanau (Romania/Luxembourg)
German-Romanian director Alexander Nanau, whose Toto and His Sisters [+see also:
film profile] had a decent run on the international film festival circuit, is working on the observational documentary Project C. In it, Nanau documents the fallout after a fire in a Bucharest club in 2015 led to the death of 64 young people and left 180 injured. The documentary explores the topics of “human resilience, the relationship of citizens versus the state, the role of the press in society, individual courage, politics and populism”. The producer of Adina Pintilie’s award-festooned Touch Me Not [+see also:
interview: Adina Pintilie
film profile], Bianca Oana, is staging Project C, which is a co-production by Alexander Nanau Production, Luxembourgish outfit Samsa Film and HBO Europe. The preliminary release date is set for September 2019.
Their Algeria - Lina Soualem (France/Algeria)
“An intimate family portrait that promises to shine a light on the distances we carry within ourselves and perpetuate with those we love. While trying to break the silence, the filmmaker unpicks and documents the indelible suffering of exile,” says producer Marie Balducchi about Their Algeria, the first feature-length documentary project by French-Palestinian-Algerian filmmaker Lina Soualem. Soualem is preparing a portrait of her grandparents, who separated after living together for 62 years. “I needed to understand where I come from and understand my family’s place in the history of Algeria and France. Their intimacy becomes a mirror of collective history: their story sheds light on Algerian immigration to France,” notes the director. Their Algeria is being produced by AGAT Films & Cie and co-produced by Karima Chouikh, of Making of. France’s CNC has supported the project along with the Institut Français in Algiers, Takmil (CNCI) and IMS. The final edit and post-production are expected to wrap by autumn 2019. The producers are still looking for co-producers, funds or grants, sales agents, and distributors.
Wolves on the Borders! - Martin Páv (Czech Republic)
Director and scriptwriter at Czech Television Martin Páv is currently hard at work on his sophomore feature-length project, Wolves on the Borders!, which scrutinises a conflict that occurs after wolves have been reintroduced into an area in the Czech Republic after 250 years. “However, the film is not only about the wolf case, but also about the fear of the unknown, a divided society and not being able to reach a compromise,” says producer Zuzana Kučerová, of Frame Films. Kučerová expects the final cut to be ready by the end of 2019 and to have the completed film ready for launch in spring 2020. Frame Films is producing Wolves on the Borders!, with Czech Television acting as a co-producer. The Czech Film Fund has supported the project, which was developed in cooperation with the Ex Oriente workshop. It also received an Honourable Mention at East Doc Platform. The producer is looking for sales agents and distributors.
Women in Kiosk - Daniel Stopa (Poland)
"Women in Kiosk is a story about the emotional journey of two women as well as being a unique picture of the people living in a small Polish town. The camera follows the decisions and emotions of the characters. In poetic images, we discover the people for whom the kiosk is a second home. We are able to draw closer to the souls of individuals who live away from the big wide world,” director Daniel Stopa revealed to Cineuropa about his feature-length debut. Malgorzata Staron, of Staron-Film, is producing the documentary, while Wojciech Staron, the co-founder of Staron-Film, acted as the DoP. The release of Women in Kiosk is preliminarily scheduled for the beginning of 2020. Slingshot Films is handling the sales.
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