FEBIOFEST BRATISLAVA 2022 Febiofest Industry Days
REPORT: Work in Progress @ Febiofest Bratislava Industry Days 2022
- The industry panel showcased a selection of promising Slovak projects in development, production or post-production by newcomers and established filmmakers, spanning various genres and cinematic forms
The 7th edition of the IFF Febiofest Bratislava Industry Days, co-organised by the Slovak Film Institute, showcased Slovak projects in the making to domestic and international film professionals. The Best Pitch Award was handed out for the second time, by an international jury consisting of Daniela Cölle from Pluto Films, the director of Doclisboa Festival Joana de Sousa, and programmer Rohan Berry Crickmar (Edinburgh International Film Festival). The jury picked the project Fakir, a psychological documentary by Roman Ďuriš, for the award. Moreover, a new award was inaugurated this year: the Cineuropa Work in Progress Award was awarded to the project Lover, Not a Fighter, the feature-length debut from upcoming Slovak director Martina Buchelová and the film’s producer Michaela Kaliská. Another interesting project, Twentyseven directed by promising newcomer Gregor Valentovič won the Pop Up Film Residency.
We outline all of the presented projects below:
Ema and the Death’s Head – Iveta Grófová
Iveta Grófová is working on a new feature-length film called Ema and the Death’s Head, slated for spring 2023, which comes on the heels of her Crystal Bear-winning Little Harbour [+see also:
interview: Iveta Grófová
film profile]. The film is led by On Body and Soul [+see also:
interview: Ildiko Enyedi
interview: Ildiko Enyedi
interview: Réka Tenki
film profile]’s Alexandra Borbély as Marika Sándorfi, who hides a Jewish boy during the First Slovak State era when the country was a partially-recognised client state of Nazi Germany. The boy has a special ability to survive thanks to his dreaming and fantasy. The Slovak-Czech-Hungarian project is in production (read the news).
The Bird Hill – Eva Križková
Film publicist, documentary film distributor and executive director of the International Festival of Documentary Films One World in Bratislava, Eva Križková is readying her feature-length documentary debut, titled The Bird Hill. The project is based on her short film of the same name which won the national My Street Films competition. The director mixes stories of residents in the Bird Hill district of the Slovak capital city with current ornithological research and proceeding real estate development and urbanism, to create a film essay with a social impact. The project, supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, is currently in production and bracing for shooting in April with two directors of photography: Martin Jurči (The Sailor [+see also:
film profile]) and Tomáš Hulík (filmmaker and photographer who publishes in magazines such as National Geographic, Wildlife, Universum). Silvia Panáková, of Dayhey, produces the film with Jarmila Poláková of the Czech outfit Film & Sociologie (How I Became a Partisan [+see also:
interview: Vera Lacková
film profile]). The release is expected in April 2023.
Gritty Eyes - Juraj Janiš
An award-winning commercials director, Juraj Janiš is switching to a longer narrative format with his first short fiction film, Gritty Eyes. The director calls the film a coming-of-age drama in a dysfunctional family. The story revolves around a fifteen-year-old boy who participates in a burglary that goes wrong. Janis was on set filming, during the presentation conducted by the film’s producer Barbara Janiš Feglová of Hitchhiker Cinema, noting that they planned to have the film completed by the end of August 2022. Gritty Eyes is a Slovak-Czech co-production made in collaboration with Júlie Žáčková of Czech production company Unit+Sofa and Zuzana Balkóová of Radio and Television Slovakia. Both national funding bodies, Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Czech Film Fund, support the project. Feglová added that they are currently looking for sales agents and a partner for the post-production.
We Have to Survive – Tomáš Krúpa
Documentarian Tomáš Krúpa continues to work on his ambitious globe-trotting project We Have to Survive, which tracks environmental changes and the process of mankind’s adaptation. Krúpa is putting together authentic stories of climate change for the film coming from four corners of the world: the U.K., Australia, Mongolia and Greenland. Production is expected to last until 2024 with a premiere dated for February 2025. Krúpa, who also produces for his own company Hailstone, said that 50% of the €713,000 budget is secured. Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Creative Europe – Media supported the project. Read our interview with Krúpa to learn more about the project.
Lover, Not a Fighter – Martina Buchelová
Emerging talent Martina Buchelová, who premiered her graduation short film Magic Moments at the Toronto International Film Festival and co-directed youth-focused documentaries in Slovakia, the U.K., and Turkey, is working on her feature-length debut, titled Lover, Not a Fighter. The film is billed as a tragicomedy about a melodramatic love between young people in a chaotic reality. The story is poised to be a generational statement touching upon motifs such as disinformation, manipulation, and toxic masculinity. The project is a Slovak-Czech co-production between domestic company Ninja Film (Michaela Kaliská, Erika Paulinská) and Czech company Unit+Sofa (Julie Žáčková). Slovak Audiovisual Fund already supported the project which is currently in the pre-production stage, with principal photography planned for March-April 2023. Producer Michaela Kaliská said they are looking for distributors, film festivals, and sales agents.
No Elements - Barbara Vojtašáková
A student of documentary direction at the Academy of Performing Arts, Barbara Vojtašáková is in post-production with her latest project, a short experimental documentary film titled No Elements. The film, an audiovisual dialogue between two young people, is inspired by the director’s condition called Alexithymia, a personality trait characterised by the inability to identify and describe emotions experienced by oneself. The film is produced by the Film and TV Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts and supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. No Elements will be finished in May 2022. Vojtašáková revealed that they are looking for sales agents and festivals.
Invalid – Jonáš Karásek
Director Jonáš Karásek is behind domestic thriller films with mainstream appeal and political undertexts, titled The Candidate [+see also:
film profile] and Amnesty [+see also:
film profile]. He is fusing the same combination into his latest feature-length project currently in post-production, titled Invalid, albeit repackaged as a black comedy. Set in the retro 90s, the film follows the protagonist Laco, a short-tempered museum janitor who ends up in a wheelchair and cooks up revenge. The story examines the topics of the 90s that have survived until our present day, including corruption, organised crime, generational gaps, racism, and the explosive cocktail of anger and frustration that fuels the protagonist. Karásek revealed that they are finalising the first cut and will be ready to enter into post-production in April 2022. The film is co-produced by domestic company Azyl Production (Maroš Hečko, Peter Veverka) and Czech CinemArt, with Radio and Television Slovakia and HomeMedia serving as co-producers. Slovak Audiovisual Fund supported the project. The director noted that they are looking for a sales agent.
The Cathedral [+see also:
film profile] - Denis Dobrovoda
London-based Slovak director Denis Dobrovoda, who shot projects for ITV2 and Channel4, is finishing an intriguing documentary titled The Cathedral and centred on a monk who single handedly built a cathedral. Dobrovoda worked on the stranger-than-fiction story of Justo Gallego, a former monk who spent decades building a church out of recycled materials on the outskirts of Madrid. The director spent the last four years of Justo’s life (who died in November 2021 at the age of 96) filming him as he continued to work and explained his opinions about religion and the edifice’s future. The director will also use never-before-seen archival footage capturing the process of building the DIY cathedral, and Steadicam and drone shots mapping the spatial splendour of the edifice. The film is almost completed, with the sound mix and colour grading being finalised. Dobrovoda is producing the film with Scottish journalist and producer Matthew Bremmer for the company they both founded, Kolsa Films SK. ScreenCraft Film Fund supported the project. The producers are looking for distributors, sales agents and festivals.
Twentyseven – Gregor Valentovič
Gregor Valentovič is another Slovak newcomer preparing his feature-length debut, titled Twentyseven. Valentovič premiered his short film Kid at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2019 on which he is basing his feature project. The story deals with a quartet of best friends who part on their separate life journey, leaving one of them, David, all alone as he finds out that being an adult queer person, his life will be a bit different from that of his friends. Twentyseven has the contours of a generational statement as it deals with the “early-life crisis of the late twenties” and revolves around characters “who face the finality of having to grow up, understanding that happiness is not to be pursued, and that home is just a state of mind.” The project is currently in early development and supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund. Zora Jaurová of Slovak company MPhilms produces the film, which she envisions as a Central European co-production, considering partners from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary or Austria. Principal photography is preliminary set for 2023.
Fakir - Roman Ďuriš
Roman Ďuriš is in the pre-production stage with his first documentary feature, titled Fakir, about a young Romani boy called Dalibor who wants to become a circus performer. Slovak Audiovisual Fund supported the project, which deals with life in an abusive household within a marginalised community. In order to escape trauma, Dalibor joins a travelling circus. Fakir is designed as a psychological portrait and the project has already participated in Dox in Vitro 2020, goEast East-West Talent Lab 2021, and Ex Oriente Film 2021. Simona Bago Móciková and Radka Babincová are serving as producers from Slovakian company Bright Sight Pictures with Radio and Television Slovakia as co-producer. Principal photography is scheduled to unspool from June to November 2022. The producers are currently looking for co-producers, broadcasters and sales agents.
Hello Summer – Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharová
The director of the short-animated film The Kite, which was selected for the semi-finals of the Student Academy Awards and is included in the Film Collection of MoMa in New York, Martin Smatana wrote, co-produces and co-directs a new short animation film with Veronika Zacharová, titled Hello Summer. The project, which is co-produced with the Czech Republic (Maur Film), is currently in pre-production and has been supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and Czech Film Fund. Hello Summer is a comedy about a family going on a summer vacation where they encounter a series of troubles. The film has a very distinct 2D animation with bright colours. The film will be in production from 2022 until 2023 with an expected release in February 2024. The producers are looking for additional co-producers, distributors, sales agents and festivals.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.