PLZEN: Matthieu Darras of TorinoFilmLab was in Plzen to participate in the Finale Plzen’s industry section. FNE asked Darras about the position of CEE filmmakers at the TorinoFilmLab.
FNE: How many films from CEE have participated overall in the TorinoFilmLab?
Matthieu Darras: I would say that about 25 feature film projects from CEE have attended our workshops so far. This being said, TorinoFilmLab is a place where not only film projects are being developed, but also various film professions are trained, such as scriptwriters, story editors, or audience designers. We have had many participants from CEE since TorinoFilmLab was launched in 2008.
If we only take into account the films already released, we are about to reach the symbolic milestone of 50 films at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, and six of them were from CEE, which is a significant proportion keeping in mind that TorinoFilmLab welcomes filmmakers from all over the world. Besides, these six films were very diverse, and all produced in different countries: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
We expect six new films from CEE to premiere before the end of 2016, again from many different countries. The first one will be Bogdan Mirică’s Dogs (produced by France's EZ Films in coproduction with Romania's 42 Km Film and Bulgaria's Argo Film) at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. It’s interesting to notice that the five upcoming ones were all directed by female directors.
FNE: Which countries from CEE are the most active participants?
Matthieu Darras: It has varied over the years, but each year we receive projects from all countries. Romania and Hungary provide a steady number of strong applicants. Poland has opened up significantly in recent years, especially since we established a long-term collaboration with the Polish Film Institute. The same can be said of Croatia and Slovenia, thanks to our collaboration with the RE-ACT Initiative. And we hope to reach similar results with Lithuania beginning in 2017.
FNE: Which films from CEE have had the biggest successes?
Matthieu Darras: This is a difficult question to answer, but we are for example very happy with the recent success of Marko Skop’s Eva Nova (produced by Artileria, coproduced by Sirius Films) at the Slovak Sun in a Net Awards, and especially of having accompanied him in the artistic challenge that his transition from documentary to fiction constituted.
FNE: Is there any trend that you can point to for CEE films at TFL?
Matthieu Darras: There are definitely more CEE applicants, but similarly to the overall number of applications, which has not ceased to increase year after year. Yet, the proportion of CEE projects selected is still very important. We, for example, welcome this year the new projects by Andrey Paounov, Vuk Rsumovic and Tudor Cristian Jurgiu.
FNE: Are there any producers or directors from CEE who have had more than one project at TFL?
Matthieu Darras: We aim at giving opportunities to newcomers, so we rarely have the same scriptwriter or director returning at TFL, but it may happen. When it comes to producers, Kinorama’s Ankica Jurić Tilić has had two projects at our Lab, from talented first-time directors Hana Jusić and Sonja Tarokić.
FNE: How are you working to encourage CEE participation at TFL?
Matthieu Darras: We are in constant contact with film institutions and active producers of the region, also making presentations, small workshops and lectures at various film festivals and film schools, or attending film industry platforms. This week for example, we made a presentation at the Finale Plzen Film Festival and we are running a pitching training at Prishtina Film Festival. We also have an important presence at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which hosts our Alumni Meeting every year.