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FNE ScripTeast at Berlinale Session: Afrika, Forest's Edge, Gregorius, the Chosen One Featured

ScripTeast 2018-02-08

WARSAW: Participants of the 12th edition of the ScripTeast scriptwriting workshop are gearing up for the next stage to be held at the Berlin International Film Festival from 17 to 21 February 2018. Afrika by Maya Vitkova (Bulgaria), Forest's Edge by Sasha (Oleksandra) Lavrenchuk (Ukraine) and Gregorius, the Chosen One by Tomasz Mielnik (Poland) are among the 11 best scripts from Eastern Europe developed within the 12th ScripTeast.

The application deadline for the 13th ScripTeast is 31 July 2018.

To date 191 writers with 137 projects have participated in the 12 editions of ScripTeast, a project based training programme designed for the best scriptwriters from Eastern Europe. Thus far, 30 films have been produced, with another 13 in production .

Afrika by Maya Vitkova (Bulgaria)

A year in the life of one family, a magical journey of love and loss, across three generations, celebrating being.

Raya, an artist in her 40s, who wants a child, is left by her partner. She needs to start anew, but the grief is there, beside her - a living African elephant in her flat.

Raya does not notice the Elephant. She does not have a clue that the Elephant takes most of her bedroom while she is asleep, but in her dream…

In her dream Raya calls the Elephant. Her way to move on is by giving the love memories, along with the grief, back to her ex.

Half a year earlier: Raya’s mother has passed away. Taking the ash urn with her remains, her father, Professor Galabov, flees by car.

While picking up hitchhikers on the road, it becomes clear the old Professor has spent his life trying to prove that the Garden of Eden was at a Lake in Bulgaria. His fellow travelers think he is crazy.

The old Professor gets to the lake by sunset. He scatters the ashes of his wife… And there he sees her - a young, beautiful, naked woman in the Garden of Eden.

Another half a year earlier: Raya's nephews Michail and his little brother Bozhidar are locked home in the New Year’s Eve. Michail is bored...

But when a TV presenter announces a number of natural disasters will be happening in the New Year, he gets excited, while Bozhidar starts crying. He calms him down by reminding him how their family rescued them from a flood...

But when the dinner guests – Raya, her partner, grandpa and grandma arrive, the boys’ parents announce their divorce. The big brother breaks down, but the little one is there to save him...

A year in the life of one family passes in three stories of love and loss, where the day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Maya Vitkova

Maya Vitkova’s debut film VIKTORIA was the first Bulgarian feature in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. VIKTORIA was screened at Karlovy Vary, Busan, Göteborg, Munich, Galway, Chicago, Seattle, BFI London and many more. The film had more than 70 international selections and 10 awards, and made it to number 4 of the best films of 2016 according to The New Yorker, whilst Vitkova was pointed one of the five best directors in the world.

Viktoria Films is in development of the feature film AFRIKA, a co-production with Ici et Là Productions, Doppelganger and Mandragora (development support by the Bulgarian National Film Center). AFRIKA was selected for the Holland Film Meetings, Transilvania Pitch Stop, CineLink, XII ScripTeast and the 2018 Sundance Screenwriters Lab.

Forest's Edge by Sasha (Oleksandra) Lavrenchuk (Ukraine)

The life story of the iconic Ukrainian poet, Lesya Ukrainka (1871-1913), - a seemingly fragile woman, who boldly confronts the conservative orthodoxy of her time and political suppression of her nation, along with her own chronic illness, as she searches for true love.

Lesya Ukrainka (1871-1913) is one of the icons of Ukrainian literature.  Her poetical dramas of different historical and cultural patterns always reveal her yearn for the liberated Ukraine. Being disabled all her adult life Lesya is looking for love, but constantly faces disappointments and rejections which she channels into her poetry. And her art matures together with her. 

Born into a wealthy aristocratic family Lesya contracts tuberculosis in her childhood. But she chooses to live, to act and to love - as long and sincerely as she can. And to remain true to herself Lesya has to confront the stuffy moral standards of the time, as well as her meddling and dominating mother.

Not only is the disease Lesya’s fellow traveller from childhood, but also the images of the magic forest with its mythical inhabitants. It’s her escape from reality, a place where everything is the way she sees it.

Her first love is a Georgian student who marries another woman. Shortly after Lesya meets Serhiy, the most painful unrequited love of her life. He dies in her arms in Minsk. Completely ruined, she returns to Kyiv and tries to work. But she can’t. She does, however, connect with a talented and sensual Western-Ukrainian writer, Olha, and they travel to the mountains together, where a new and illicit love blossoms. But again a deep disappointment ensues. Exhausted from the string of broken affairs Lesya unexpectedly finds an honest and peaceful love with Clyment, who has been at her side for many years, patiently waiting for her. He turns out to be the only real human in her magic forest, and he helps her to emerge from it to find the calmness she craves in real life… until she returns to the magic forest for good.

Sasha (Oleksandra) Lavrenchuk

Sasha graduated from the Institute of International Relations at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and attended Advanced Literary Courses at Maksym Gorky Literature Institute. She wrote for various television dramas such as ‘Bessmertnik’ (“Snowdrop” 2014), ‘Ne Zarekaysya’ (“Never say never” 2015), ‘Na Linii Zhyttya’ (“On the Line of Life” 2016), and worked as editor of unscripted television programs. Her first short fiction film ‘Acoustics of Void’ is now in production. Sasha is a poet with three poetry collection books published: ‘1’ (2003), ‘Tourmaline’ (2009), “The Toothless  Goluba’s Getting Her Teeth” (2007, poetry for children).

Gregorius, the Chosen One by Tomasz Mielnik (Poland)

A medieval story of an offspring of a sibling love, who, guided by the firm hand of destiny saves the kingdom, marries his own mother, is shackled to a rock for seventeen years and becomes the first truly forgiving pope. 

A boy and a girl were born to a royal family. They  were beautiful and looked just  like two drops of water. They could not resist the velvety night and they had a child. The fruit of love and sin - little boy was placed in a barrel  that  swayed on the sea until it was washed ashore near a monastery. The monk learned about  the child’s origins from a golden bar that was  in the barrel, but he did not share this knowledge with the public. He  taught  the boy Latin grammar, yet the student would rather read the Song of Roland.  And when the boy found his sinful origin, he  had a great opportunity to go find redemption in the Holy Land,  where proper women hide their beauty. He sailed to a war-engulfed country first and defeated  the Eastern Prince,  earning the hand of the queen and the rule over the  land. This could be a happy end, but the secret was  revealed. He married his own mother. And so he decided to travel to the Holy Land  for a redemption  gain. The journey led him to  a rock in the middle of a lake,  where he was shackled by a jealous fisherman. And he may have lost his life on  that  rock, if only the vote of the new Pope did not happen 17 years later. A  cardinal and his friend had an apparition of a  lamb, who told them the next  pontifex maximus is awaiting them on a rock. And  although  Gregorius looked more like a hedgehog than a man, the signs were clear  and he did become the new Pope. The first  one to forgive sinners and be the  role model of humility.

Tomasz Mielnik

Writer and director. Studied art history at the University in  Wrocław. He then moved to Prague and graduated from the Directing department of the Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with his film JOURNEY TO ROME. The film premiered at the 50th Karlovy Vary IFF as the opening film of the East of the West section and was later screened at more than twenty film festivals around the world. T.M. made several other films during his studies: ON SUNDAY (2008), MEMORY OF MOTHER (2008) and ANONYMOUS (2009). His documentary short DYRYGENT (2009) was published as a supplement to a book about Zygmund Molik. His BA graduation film, GIRL 180 (2010), was also widely recognized and screened for example at the Molodist Film Festival in Kyiv. In 2013 Tomasz Mielnik participated at the International Filmmaking Academy workshop lead by Bernardo Bertolucci, Gian-Vittorio Baldi and Abbas Kiarostami.

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