FNE ScripTeast at Berlinale Session: Red Dot by Michal Samir (Czech Republic), The Empty House by Rati Tsiteladze and Nino Varsimashvili (Georgia), The Last Train by Matej Mináč and David Mináč (Czech Republic)

By ScripTeast

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. Red Dot by Michal Samir (Czech Republic), The Empty House by Rati Tsiteladze & Nino Varsimashvili (Georgia) and The Last Train by Matej Mináč & David Mináč (Czech Republic) are among the 11 best scripts from Eastern Europe developed within the 12th ScripTeast.

Red Dot by Michal Samir (Czech Republic)

The perfect life of an ambitious university professor is threatened when a dark event from his past comes calling.

Jon Campbell, a professor at a top university, has a thriving career, a beautiful wife and a gifted daughter. Only the mental illness of his troubled brother Ethan interrupts his perfect existence. 

This changes when Billy Donoghue, a strange, aggressive young man, becomes a student in Jon’s class. Establishing himself as a disruptive influence, Donoghue intimidates his fellow classmates as well as Jon himself. 

Problems escalate when Billy starts to pursue Jon’s family, even entering his home uninvited. Feeling that the safety of his loved ones is compromised, Jon is forced to act.

He uncovers powerful information about Donoghue’s past. It dates back to a traumatic incident in his childhood and Jon devises a plan to protect himself and his family.

Dureing lecture, Jon baits Donoghue into a psychotic rage. The violent outburst leads to Jon being attacked in full view of his students. Badly injured, he achieves his aim: Billy is imprisoned and out of his life.

Recovering from the attack and seemingly free from Donoghue’s harassment, Jon concentrates on gaining his promotion.

It is then when Ethan’s condition drastically declines and we realise it is connected to an event he and Jon shared but never discuss. Ethan demands that they both come finally clean. 

The pressure from all directions manifests itself in the form of a tiny red dot, which begins to haunt Jon. Feeling as if pursued by a sniper, Jon begins to believe that he is succumbing to the same paranoia as his brother.

After blowing the promotion and feeling constantly unsafe, he admits himself to the same institution his brother resides in. Just when it seems like it is all over, the final secret is revealed and it is now clear that the red dot might not have been a figment of his imagination after all…

Michal Samir

An award-winning director, screenwriter and producer. As managing director of Room One Films, he specialises in feature films, commercials and VR content.

His debut film Hany received nationwide cinema release in the Czech Republic in 2014, and was honoured withmany awards, including the Oldenburg IFF, Golden Eye IFF Grand Prix and the Best Camera award at the 2014 Czech Critics Choice Awards.

In 2015, his screenplay for the feature film Polednice (The Noonday Witch) was picked up by both Barletta and HBO Europe. Polednice went on to win the Motel X in Lisbon and was featured as part of the BFI London Film Festival in 2016.

His VR comedy The Committee, one of the first of its kind, was showcased at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2017.

He is a graduate of Drama Centre London, a school responsible for honing such talent as Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and Paul Bettany amongst others. Michal is currently overseeing the development of numerous projects including feature films, VR films and an animated series for TV. 

The Empty House by Rati Tsiteladze (Georgia)

A 12-year-old girl finds herself caught in a whirlpool of conflicting emotions when, after seven years of absence, her father – the one man she considers a hero – returns from prison.

12-year-old Nino lives with her mother in a mountainous village of post-Soviet Georgia during the civil war in the early ’90s. She is a sensitive girl who still wets the bed and plays with her doll. For her, reality and dreams are merged into a world full of expectations. But she is also an unpredictable character with a curious mind. She has a rather profound love for writing. Her poetic inspiration began with her deep longing for her father.

After 7 years of absence, her father, an influential figure in the criminal world, returns from prison and together with her mother, she moves to his family house in Tbilisi. Finally, her family, representing three generations, is complete. Nino’s mother is a very caring figure; however, having been married at age 14, more than anything she wants to enjoy her freedom. Nino’s brother is considered cute, but he wants to be a “real man”. Her grandfather is a family man who provides for his household, and her grandmother of Romani origin, is a fortune-teller. Soon, however, Nino’s romantic view of the family is increasingly challenged – her father becomes violent, while her grandmother tries to turn her against her own mother. The family house gradually turns into a battlefield and begins to crumble around her. During one of the family arguments, her grandfather dies from a heart attack. Caught up in the middle of the chaos, Nino is forced to examine her internalized notions of family, fatherhood and love. The family reunion becomes the backdrop for self-discovery and the disruption of deeply rooted emotions.

Ultimately, her mother is forced to abandon Nino and soon her father’s behavior towards her becomes suspicious, but Nino is unable to tell anyone about it. Instead, she writes. Eventually, she finds the courage to break the silence and tells her grandmother about the incident with her father. But the controlling grandmother, who is more concerned with protecting the family’s honor, reacts negatively. Nino realizes that she has to endure a war with her own father and a war for survival – survival at any cost.

Faced with a reality, bitter beyond her imagination, Nino slowly leaves her childhood behind and prematurely becomes a woman.

Rati Tsiteladze

Rati Tsiteladze was born in post-Soviet Georgia. He studied filmmaking at the Hybrid Conservatory, Los Angeles. He is an alumnus of Locarno and IDFA Academies and was selected among the 10 producers at the Berlinale Talents 2018.

At age 21, he won the title of World Champion in martial arts, but in 2014, when filmmaking became the overpowering passion in his life, he left his fighting career and founded ArtWay Film production. Rati directed several short films that were awarded internationally. His work DEDA won 23 International prizes and was screened at around 200 film festivals, including Locarno, Guanajuato IFF. His documentary PRISONER OF SOCIETY is selected for the Oscar qualifying Tampere Film Festival. His feature documentary project SHADOWS IN THE SILENCE was part of IDFA and has been selected among six projects at Doc Corner – 70th Festival de Cannes. His first feature film project, THE EMPTY HOUSE was short-listed for Sundance Screenwriters Lab, won the Eurimages Award for Best project at TIFF, Special Mention Prize at Locarno Festival's open doors and was selected at Berlinale Co-Production Market and Cannes Cinéfondation Residence.

Nino Varsimashvili

Nino Varsimashvili was born in Georgia. She is an award-winning screenwriter and producer at ArtWay Film production. She is an alumna of Berlinale Talents. She produced several short films that won numerous international awards and have been screened at around 300 film festivals, including Oscar qualifying Guanajuato, Tampere and Locarno. Nino's feature film project, THE EMPTY HOUSE won the Eurimages Award at TIFF and was selected at the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence and at the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Her feature documentary project SHADOWS IN THE SILENCE won DMZ docs Award and has been selected among six projects at Doc Corner –  70th Festival de Cannes.

The Last Train by Matej Mináč (Czech Republic)

29-year-old British stockbroker Nicholas Winton assembles a team of most unlikely heroes who use any trick, forgery to save 669 children from the hands of the Nazis in Prague in 1939

Fictionalized story based on true events. 29 year-old Nicholas Winton enjoyed easy life of a young successful man working at Stock Exchange in London in 1938. Everything changed when he saw appalling conditions of refugees fleeing from Nazis in Czechoslovakia. He decided to save their children. Everybody told him that it was impossible. But Winton believed there was nothing that couldn´t be done, if it was fundamentally reasonable. He wrote letters to heads of democratic countries to accept thousands of Jewish children. Only British Home Office answered positively. Nicky assembled a team of his collaborators. They organized 7 train transports from Prague to London, got children into British foster families. His right hand was beautiful refugee Helen Epstein, they fell in love. They prepared their biggest train with 251 children. Sturmbannführer Hans from Gestapo hated Jews and Winton. He wanted to terminate his operation. When Winton helped social democrats, Hans decided to arrest him. Winton fled with Helen to airport to fly to Amsterdam. They were followed by Gestapo. There was just one place in plane. Without knowledge of Winton,  Helen sacrificed herself giving Winton her place. Winton was rescued, but Helen together with children from last train didn’t leave and died during war. Winton reproached himself. Only after 50 years Winton’s wife discovered documents. BBC organized a program in which Winton unexpectedly met with rescued children for the first time since war. He was in tears. He understood his mission wasn’t a failure. There’re 6 000 people living in families of his rescued children.

Matej Mináč

The Emmy Award-winning director, producer, writer. Graduated in film directing at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava. Received more than 70 awards; films were theatrically distributed in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, UK, France, Germany, Czech Rep, Slovak Rep; were sold to more than 60 countries including HBO, BBC, ARD, ZDF, FRANCE 2, RAI, CANAL plus, ABC, CBC, RTBF, NHK.

Selected projects:
CHILDREN SAVED FROM THE NAZIS (with BBC 2016); THROUGH THE EYES OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER (2015); NICKY’S FAMILY (2011): Wallenberg Medal; Best Documentary - Montreal World Film Festival ; Audio-Visual Memory Award - Jerusalem Film Festival; Audience Award - Karlovy Vary Int’l Film Festival; PRIX ITALIA´S SPECIAL SIGNIS AWARD; FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievement AWARD, British Film Institute.
ALL MY LOVED ONES (1999): Troia Int‘l Film Festival – Jury Prize; Grand Prix – Int‘l Film Festival Sedona; Czech Lion, Audience Award - Palm Springs Film festival – USA

David Mináč

Graduated from the University of Southampton (Psychology, Film). He cowrote THROUGH THE EYES OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER: main prize of the Festival CAMERA OF DAVID, BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY at 13th Warsaw Jewish Film Festival, Golden Remi Award – Worldfest Houston, nominated for Tobias Spencer Award – Haifa Int’l Film Festival and for Magnolia Award, 23rd Shanghai TV Festival. He co-writes full-length feature comedy screenplay NEVER GIVE UP about filming with Federico Fellini; comedy fairytale with western setting JUST A BIT OF LUCK. He was the first assistant director THROUGH THE EYES OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER. He acted and was head of research and assistant director in NICKY’S FAMILY which was awarded 41 prestigious awards worldwide. Minac is also well-known as an art photographer having two major exhibitions in Prague in 2016 and 2017 (Czech Photo Center, was presented the Discovery of the year award). He also devotes his time to composing film music and painting.