Newly-Formed Catalyst Studio Shoots Four Female Protagonist Films in Serbia


    BELGRADE: The newly-founded American/Serbian company Catalyst Studio is currently in production with two feature films and is prepping two more titles. All of them are to be entirely shot and postproduced in Serbia, and all are directed by women filmmakers. The production plans to apply for Serbia’s tax rebate scheme.

    Catalyst Studio is led by Holly Levow, Mark Pennell and Paul Kampf, and its current investment in Serbia is over 13 m EUR. The four feature films are planned to be shot by the end of 2022 and will involve more than 800 professionals.

    The projects cover different genres, ranging from action and psychological thrillers to magical realism adventure, with stories centered on female protagonists.

    Switch & Bait, which is based on a script written by Russell Gewirtz (Inside Man), tells the story of a seemingly naïve call girl who escapes the clutches of a notorious gangster with a cell phone containing all his secrets. A tough female cop is given the job to get the witness.

    Switch & Bait is directed by Michelle Salcedo and the key roles are played by Otmara Marrero and Katie Clarkson-Hill. Serbia’s Ivan Kostić is lensing. Switch & Bait is shooting 15 September – 24 October 2022. 

    Connie Nielsen plays the lead role in Follow Me, directed by Siri Rødnes and co-starring Sam Hunt and Stef Dawson. The film written by Catalyst’s Mark Pennell is a psychological thriller and it is lensed by Serbian cinematographer Bojana Andriić, SA. Follow Me is shooting 26 September – 29 October 2022.

    Two more feature films are in advanced preproduction: the psychological suspense thriller Sybil directed by Joanne Mitchell and the action film Hitwoman directed by Mikal P. Lazarev.

    Catalyst is also producing a six-part making of series, which will explore the creative, social and personal journeys undertaken by these female and non-binary filmmakers, also providing a roadmap for how to create more opportunities for women and other underrepresented talent in the film industry.

    The sales of these projects will be handled by Highland Film Group.