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FNE Speaks to Danijel Hocevar Head of Studies for MIDPOINT Featured

2018-05-11

Danijel Hocevar, credit: VertigoFNE: What is Midpoint?

Danijel Hocevar: MIDPOINT is a training organisation based in Prague in the Czech Republic. It was established in 2010 first as an initial training organisation for young professionals, basically students who were finishing their studies and wanted to work on graduation films or first professional films and they were in need of some guidance and consultancy.

In the first few years it was focused mainly on script consultancy but later on it evolved into a script and project development workshop. Now it has several programmes, so I can say that it is an international training and networking platform for both film and also for TV development.

There are two main programmes: Feature Launch, which is dedicated to first and second feature films which should be done by young film professionals meaning both the director and the producer should be working on the first or second feature. The second programme is TV Launch, which is dedicated to development from an idea to a TV series.

Another programme is called MIDPOINT Shorts, which is for short films. It is a kind of a bridge between the film school and the first professional film. We are also organising so called Intensive Workshops, which are tailor-made workshops and which we are doing in cooperation with some institutions, film funding bodies or professional associations in certain countries which need really tailor-made workshops for certain areas of expertise. It is always decided with the local partner what they would like to achieve and then we organise the programme for them.

Feature Launch is organised in four modules. The first and second are training modules. The first will be starting from this year in Trieste during the Trieste FF and WEMW Coproduction Market. The second training workshop is around May. This year we are in Serbia, in Belgrade in partnership with Film Centre Serbia. The third module is a project showcase in Karlovy Vary. This is a new thing, which we are starting from this year on in partnership with Karlovy Vary FF. We will present nine projects there. The fourth module call Spotlight, which means that next year the producers of those nine projects will come again to WEMW in Trieste and we will organise a tailor-made programme for the projects according to what stage they are at that point and according to the needs of those projects. Some projects will already be at an advanced stage and they will look for coproducers or maybe only distributors or sales agents.

What we are really trying to do is consider every project a bit differently according to their needs and then we try to have them consult with our experts and partners in the best possible way. Last year we started with this new concept. We had last year only two training workshops but of those nine projects which we developed through the MIDPOINT Feature Launch 2017 two are already in production or just going to start production this year and there are two more, which are quite advanced, which are open for financing, so it seems quite promising also in terms of the films which will be made based on those projects.

The second programme is TV Launch, which is dedicated to TV series. We have three workshop modules. The first one is always in Slovakia in November. The second one is in April during the Plzen FF in the Czech Republic and the third one, when we present those projects, is during the Sarajevo FF Cinelink Industry Programme The participants should be writers and producers.

FNE: Why is Midpoint important for the development of the CEE film industry?

Danijel Hocevar: We try to focus on the target group, which in our opinion needs the help of consultants most to do their projects. Nowadays you have a really big group of young professionals who are trying to finance and develop their projects. We hope that our consultancy could help them to develop their projects much faster than working alone. In our region, we are all facing the same professional challenges and regardless of the countries the participants are coming from. We all face the same difficulties to properly prepare our projects and finance them. We of course cannot decide instead of participant, we are just here to consult with them without tutors and experts trying to suggest to them what would be the best way forward for the project. What we can do is to help them avoid those unnecessary small mistakes, which maybe young professionals are still not aware of and we are trying to give them guidance through the process of development, which can be very long.

FNE: Has Midpoint changed a lot since it was founded eight years ago, why?

Danijel Hocevar: First it was really a programme for graduate students and really young professionals and it was mainly focused on script development with a few more fields of expertise, which were added to that. But through the years we realised that despite the fact that this is maybe the most important part of the development, it is not enough – there are many other challenges which professionals face during the development of first and second feature films. We decided to shift from only script development into script and project development.

In the beginning it was more focused on script consultancy and work with writers and directors and now it is a programme for both the filmmakers and producers, so we are insisting that all of them attend the workshop. Director, producer ad writer should be there and they should understand each other in a way that enables them to know why they are doing what they are doing at a certain stage of the development. That is going be reflected for sure during the work on the project, during the production, the postproduction and during the promotion.

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