REPORT: Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Agora 2020
- We present an overview of the winning European projects from Agora, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival's industry section, which was held online this year
We bring you an overview of the winning European projects from Agora, the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival's industry section, which was held online for the first time owing to the coronavirus outbreak. You can read the news about the winners here.
Pitching Forum award winners
Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award and MFI Doc Lab Script 2 Film Workshop Award
A Steady Job (Italy/France)
Co-directed by Italian filmmakers Mattia Colombo (I Wanna Sleep With You) and Gianluca Matarrese (Fuori Tutto, winner of Best Italian Documentary at Turin in 2019) and produced by Giovanni Donfrancesco, of Florence- and Paris-based Altara Films (The Resolute [+see also:
interview: Giovanni Donfrancesco
film profile]), follows a bus full of nurses from the South of Italy who travel to try their luck in a competition for a job in the great hospitals of the North, where there are just a handful of positions for thousands of candidates. The screenplay for the film was awarded Scam’s Brouillon d'un rêve, and Jasmina Sijercic, of French company Bocalupo Films (Merry Christmas, Yiwu [+see also:
interview: Mladen Kovačević
film profile], Dead Slow Ahead [+see also:
interview: Mauro Herce
film profile]), is on board as co-producer.
ERT – Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award
Mighty Afrin (Greece/France)
Greek director-producer Angelos Rallis and producer Maria del Mar Rodriguez, of Athens-based AR Productions, who previously worked on the Iraqi-set Yezidi documentary Shingal, Where Are You? [+see also:
film profile], now head to Bangladesh for this coming-of-age story about Afrin, a 12-year-old motherless orphan, who faces an uncertain future along the flood-prone Brahmaputra river in Bangladesh. When her house is submerged due to massive flooding, she embarks on a journey to meet the father she’s never known. The project, currently in early production, is being co-produced by Birgit Kemner, of France's Manny Films (The Endless Trench [+see also:
interview: Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño an…
film profile]), and New York-based Cargo Film and Releasing is on board as the international sales agent.
Beldocs Networking Award
Expedition 49 (Ukraine/France)
Home Games [+see also:
film profile] director Alisa Kovalenko and producer Stephane Siohan, of French outfit East Roads Films, re-team for an adventure documentary in which Valentyn Scherbatchev, a legend of Ukrainian mountaineering, wants to leave a legacy with his last expedition, so he enlists five teenagers who live on the immediate front line of the Donbas war to climb the Himalayas, hoping to give them a chance for a future. Currently in development, the project has secured 40% of its budget from the Ukrainian State Film Agency, and has been selected for Eurodoc (which has meanwhile been postponed). Valery Kalmikov, of Ukrainian company Trueman Productions, is on board as a co-producer.
Aylon Production Digital Award
Directed by Luca Lancise (Moravia off), and produced by Simone Catania and Michele Fornasero, of Turin-based Indyca (Butterfly [+see also:
film profile]), LP is a biopic about Luca Prodan, an Italian who became a national idol in Argentina during the dictatorship, with his punk band Sumo. Before arriving there, he studied in England together with Prince Charles, worked with Richard Branson in the first-ever Virgin store, hosted members of The Police in his flat and kept an audio diary, which the film will draw on heavily.
DAE (Documentary Association of Europe) Award
Bark of a Starving Dog (working title) (Georgia)
Billed as a city symphony with a strong visual approach and a tentative soundscape, the second feature-length documentary by director Ketevani Kapanadze (whose debut, with the working title Lana, Anuka and the Whole Football Team, is in post-production) is set in Tskaltubo, a former Soviet spa resort with 22 now-defunct sanatoriums. As billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili announces a surreal plan to buy and renovate the whole city, the film follows a train conductor, a fisherman and a refugee family in anticipation of the changes. Currently in development, the picture is being produced by Ana Tsimintia and Esma Berikishvili, of recently established Georgian company This Street Hurts Me.
Docs in Progress award winners
Music and Sound Services Award by MuSou Music Group
Epic of a Stone (Netherlands/China/France/Greece)
The second feature-length documentary by Chinese director Sean Wang (IDFA 2017 entry Lady of the Harbour) investigates global consumption and reflects on how Western cultures are being admired and copied by the Chinese through several individual stories related to the marble mined in Greece and shipped to China, where it is turned into Western-style products. Currently in late production, Epic of a Stone is being co-produced by Jia Zhao, of Dutch company Muyi Film; Zijian Wang, of China's Black Fin; Valérie Montmartin, of France's Little Big Story; and Rea Apostolides and Yuri Averof, of Greece's Anemon Productions. It is being made in partnership with ARTE, ERT, NHK and RTS. Beijing-based Rediance has the international rights.
Greek Film Centre Award
Land of Milk and Honey (Spain)
Three filmmakers with extensive TV experience with companies such as Netflix and HBO, director Gonzalo Recio and co-directors Héctor Domínguez-Viguera and Carlos Mora, focus on characters who are suffering the consequences of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Abkhazia, and the recent situation of Syrian refugees in Greece. This intimate, observational documentary produced by Andrés Díaz, of Madrid-based Zerkalo Films, is currently in post-production, with contributions from the Madrid City Council, the Government of Cantabria and the Friendship Association with Kurdistan.
Neaniko Plano Subtitling Award
Displaced in Heaven (working title) (Palestine/Germany/Qatar)
In his second feature-length documentary, Palestinian director Khaled Jarrar (The Infiltrators) follows 76-year-old Syrian refugee Nadira and her family, starting from Lesbos and travelling through the Balkans, getting more and more involved in their struggle. Currently at the rough-cut stage, Displaced in Heaven is being co-produced by Jarrar through his company Jenin Films and by Germany's Thomas Kaske through his company Kaske Films, with the main partners listed being the Doha Film Institute, AFAC and Altercine.
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