FNE at KVIFF 2013 Georgia Wins Works in Progress Award in Strong Field of CEE Films

    Levan Koguashvili and his project "Blind Dates" win Works in Progress Award. Levan Koguashvili and his project "Blind Dates" win Works in Progress Award.

    KARLOVY VARY: Two days of presentations and pitches for upcoming CEE films concluded on 2 July 2013 with a 10,000 EUR in-kind services award from Barrandov film studio going to the Georgian project Blind Dates directed by Levan Koguashvili and presented by producer Olena Yershova of Kinoiberika.

    Nineteen film projects competed for the award, which was presented by Barrandov CEO Petr Tichy and chosen by a three-person jury: Sofia Meetings ( www.siff.bg ) director Mira Staleva, Czech producer Pavel Strnad ( www.negativ.cz ), and Paris sales agent Keiko Funato.

    Slovakia and the Czech Republic hosted a joint Pitch and Feedback Forum consisting of seven projects, nearly all of them involving both Slovak and Czech participation. The Jihlava doc IFF ( www.dokument-festival.com ) director Marek Hovorka moderated the annual Docu Talents from the East, with 13 projects from seven countries in various stages of production.

    The Works in Progress win confirmed Georgia’s position as a rising star within CEE, largely due to the efforts of the Georgian National Film Center (www.gnfc.ge) over the past few years, both in terms of funding films from young Georgian talents and by creating links to the international market for them.

    “The Georgian project was outstanding,” Staleva told FNE. Other industry professionals also pointed to the country’s recent emergence as a place to watch, including French producer Guillaume de Seille of Arizona Productions.

    Decision makers are looking to a range of CEE territories for exciting new films.

    Staleva added, “Poland is coming with interesting projects, and I also liked the Turkish projects.”

    “New talents are coming out of Serbia and Croatia,” Wide Management founder Loic Magneron told FNE. “In Poland there are more and more directors, films and networking. It’s one of the territories where I’m very focused. And I really see some very interesting production companies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It will always depend on national government decisions. Support brings new talents right away.”

    Matthieu Darras of Torino Film Lab and San Sebastian IFF told FNE that audiences can expect to see more films at San Sebastian during the 2013 edition. “When there’s strong and innovative public support, it creates strong results, such as in Croatia and Poland. I appreciate Polish cinema for the diversity of its approaches. It’s the only industry in Central Europe with this diversity,” he said. “In the Czech Republic over the last three years it’s been very rare that there are films that are unique. Paradoxically, you have more interesting projects coming from Slovakia,” Darras added.

    The situation for documentary films paints a brighter picture for the Czech film industry. Hovorka told FNE, “Czech and Slovak production is very strong. I’m also happy with the richness and diversity of the films, some of it very personal and dealing with history. It’s not about talking heads.”

    Berlinale selector Nikolaj Nikotin said, “Romania continues to be very strong. And I’m very much looking forward to what’s happening in Kazakhstan. Central Europe has outstanding young filmmakers.” At least one documentary scheduled to be completed in time for the Berlinale, Jesus Lives in Siberia by Estonian director Jaak Kilmi, looks tailor made for the Berlin festival.