WARSAW: The Warsaw Industry Days, an industry event held at Warsaw Film Festival, showcased 10 upcoming projects including international coproductions and new films from Emir Baigazin, Mateusz Rakowicz and Maryna Vroda.
Among this year's projects are new titles from Polish directors such as Mateusz Rakowicz, whose short film Romantik was officially selected for many foreign and Polish film festivals, as well as debut feature films by foreign directors but developed in co-operation with Poland.
Below we present the full list of projects pitched during Warsaw Industry Days 2017.
The Bus to America (Turkey, Poland, Germany, France)
Derya Dumaz’s drama follows 10-year-old Yazidi boy Sefran, who lives in a refugee camp in Turkey. His favourite thing is to watch the suburban bus he calls “The Bus to Amerika” pass by the camp every day and dream about taking off on it to America with his family, to become a pop star. But accidentally eating the forbidden vegetable of his religion one day he turns his daydreams of America into nightmares, where he is chased by a monster vegetable that leads him into the grown-up world, where he faces his fears and finds his place in life. The drama includes also five scenes which are a combination of live action and animation.
“Through this story inspired by my experience of working with children in refugee camps, I will explore how society, taboos and exclusion work, and on the other hand, through the perspective of a child, how understanding, respecting each other, therefore living together in peace can work”, the director told FNE.
The project is produced by Nefes Polat through Mars Production in coproduction with Melanie Blocksdorf (Propellerfilm), Antoine Simkine (Les Films D `Antoine). The budget is 1 m EUR. The Bus to Amerika is now in its financing stage and early development. The world premiere is set for February 2019.
The producers are looking for the sales agent, broadcasters and festivals.
Cranley Gardens (UK, Poland)
Rafael Kapeliński, director of Butterfly Kisses, Crystal Bear winner at Berlinale 2017, is developing the drama Cranley Gardens. The feature follows Tom, who is an estate agent. Tom is given a new flat to sell. The offers come in thick and fast. But one by one they angrily withdraw and no matter what he does, Tom can’t seem to sell it. Soon he learns that the flat he’s trying to sell used to belong to Dennis Nilsen - one of the most notorious serial killers in English history.
“We are pitching it as a horror film with a dark comedy undertone. Cranley Gardens is ultimately about loneliness. We wanted to show London in a different way, in a way it hasn't been seen before. It is a big city, London isn’t he house of parliament, it’s everything behind it”, the producer Merlin Merton told FNE.
The feature is produced by Merlin Merton, Samm Haillay (Blue Shadows Films), Klaudia Śmieja and Beata Rzeźniczek (Madants). The project is in development and 50% of the 1.3 m EUR budget is in place.
The Hole in the Fence (Mexico, Denmark, Poland)
Joaquin del Paso’s thriller/drama tells the story of the first-year students of a Mexican elitist religious school, who attend a faith and integration camp outside the city. The tranquillity is soon dissolved, when a violent hole is found in the perimeter fence. This event creates a chain of mysterious incidents that reveal a system created by the tutors to inject a fundamentalist view in the teenagers' minds.
“I wish to explore how young minds are subjected to collective religious indoctrination, as well as reconsidering the idea of mass hysteria from a new angle (also a key theme of my previous feature). I would also like to explore the structure and function of the education system that serves to form the future economic elite in Mexico”, the director Joaquin del Paso told FNE.
The feature is produced by Amondo Cine and Paweł Tarasiewicz. The planned budget is 960,500 EUR. The project is in its early financing stage. The shooting is planned for December 2018.
The producers are looking for the sales agent and distribution.
JOAQUÍN DEL PASO +49 176 773 006 44 PAWEL TARASIEWICZ +48 501 209 172
People I’m Not (Switzerland, Poland)
The feature debut of Swiss filmmaker Francesco Rizzi is a drama about a mysterious travelling man and a young female struggling with a complicated grief, who confront each other in a psychological drama about loss and identity suspension.
“I had my personal experience as a mystery shopper and this topic is of interest to me because of the times in which we live. The problem of wearing multiple masks depending on the situation, while losing one’s own identity, seems to me very up to date and universal.”, the director Francesco Rizzi told FNE.
The Polish/Swiss project is produced by Artcore, Big Wave Films (Poland) and Imago Film (Switzerland) with a planned budget of 1.5 m EUR. The project is in preproduction and the shooting starts on 28 October 2017. The world premiere is set for the summer of 2018.
The River: Aslan and his Brothers (Kazakhstan, Poland, France)
The third part of Emir Baigazin’s trilogy drama tells the story about a family that lives in a tiny Kazakh village. The oldest child Aslan is 13. His four brothers grow up regarding him with admiration. Kind and empathic, Aslan asks the strict father to show mercy towards his brothers. Aslan takes them to a river, their secret paradise. There, Kanat disappears. Each brother has his own way of dealing with the tragedy, and family ties are tested.
“The River closes the trilogy of Aslan and completes the cycle initiated by Harmony Lessons and The Wounded Angel. Whereas the first two films of the trilogy speak of an actual murder, in the final film the protagonist blames himself for the intention to kill. Aslan repents and confesses his sinfulness, which finally frees him, and this is my film’s main theme.”, the director told FNE.
The project is produced by Emir Baigazin through Emir Baigazin Production in coproduction with Matants and Arizona Productions. The budget is 1,060,000 EUR. The projects is in postproduction. The world premiere is set for the autumn of 2018.
Stepne (Germany, Ukraine)
Maryna Vroda’s drama follows Anatoly (age 65) as he travels to a small Ukrainian village to take care of his dying mother. Once he was a talented and aspiring part of the society and of his family, and now he’s tired and disappointed, living by inertia. The trip to the village is overshadowed by the current war situation in Ukraine, and is a long and a complicated road for him.
“As an author, I was always interested in the topic of disappearance, vanishing and parting with something really valuable. Overshadowed by the current war situation in Ukraine, I see the beauty of these elusive things that never come back, as if dissolving all those reasons people lived for, looked forward to and fought for.”, the director and producer Maryna Vroda told FNE.
The new feature is produced by Tandem Production and Vrodastudio with a planned budget of 700,000 EUR. The projects is in preproduction and the shooting is planned for the winter of 2018.
The producers are looking for a sales agent.
The new fantasy/thriller by Marysia Nikitiuk tells the story of Seraphyma, a girl from a depressed seaside town, where she had drowned in the sea but suddenly came to her senses at the age of six. Having drowned and magically awakened to life, Seraphyma finds a new gift of herb reading. Her mother turns her new talent into creating poisons. At the age of 17 she flees to Kyiv in search of a better life together with a drug dealer.
“Seraphyma is the story of a predator that reveals itself by exploring the people and society that awakened it. I want to create a unique visual world, resembling the visuals of Bosch and Bruegel, and insert Botticellian Seraphyma in it, an angel with a demon’s soul.”, the director told FNE.
The feature is produced by Yury Minzyanov, Igor Savychenko, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy through Kristi Films and Directory Films with a budget of 991,668 EUR. Seraphyma is in late development. The world premiere is set for 2019.
The producers are looking for coproducers.
Zero%Proof (UK, Poland)
Zero%Proof is Simon Ellis’s black comedy about a black sheep who returns home for his father’s wake, intent on payback and payment. Alex trades on his reputation as a wastrel by pretending to be drunk so he can appall the mourners and slip unsuspected upstairs, to switch a valuable stamp for a fake. The plan comes together perfectly until he drives away - straight into a fender-bender with his violent brother.
“This story is crafted to exploit what I would consider my strengths in directing: themes of miscommunication, guilt, masculinity and its various handicaps, and an uncomfortable, escalating tension”, the director told FNE.
The feature is produced by Third Films (UK) in coproduction with New Europe Film Sales (PL), Film4 (UK). The sales agent is New Europe Film Sales. The planned budget of Zero%Proof is 599,688 EUR, with 23% of it supported by Poland. The project is in the development and financing stage.
POLISH MAJORITY CO-PRODUCTION, PRESENTATIONS OUT OF THE COMPETITION
Najmro is a period piece about Zdzisław Najmrodzki, the fastest man on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain, the king of the underworld and a legend in his own lifetime. Najmro steals, but he is also a man of honour and principles.
"We were looking for an inspiring character and found one in Zdzisław Najmrodzki, the master of great escapes. We want to create an action film set in the 80s and 90s, when everything changed", director Mateusz Rakowicz told FNE.
The film is the debut feature by Mateusz Rakowicz (highly praised for his recent short film Romantik), produced by Kuba Kosma through Serce Sp. z o.o. in coproduction with Polsat.
The budget is 1.6 m EUR with a coproduction grant of 72,121 EUR / 307,500 PLN from the Mazovia Film Fund. Half of the financing is in place. Shooting is planned for spring 2018.
Pilot 9/11 (Poland)
Experimental filmmaker Norman Leto’s new project tells the story of the events of 11 September 2001 from a unique perspective: the military pilots, who tried to avoid tragedy in a highly dynamic pursuit of passenger planes.
"Pilot 9/11 should lean towards realism but will be edited in a way so as not to be tiring for the viewer. The main character of the film is a former military pilot who took part in the pursuit of the planes that hit the World Trade Center towers on 11 September 2001. After retiring from the military, his normal life has slowly turned into an internalised nightmare. Pilot 9/11 is in some way a record of Tim’s therapy", director Norman Leto told FNE.
The film is in the early stage of development and is produced by Lightcraft with a planned budget of 1,976,000 EUR. Shooting is planned for 2018, with extensive postproduction using CGI effects.
The producers are looking for a sales agent, coproducers and artistic contribution.