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REPORT: When East Meets West 2017

by Vladan Petkovic

The seventh edition of the When East Meets West co-production market took place from 22-24 January; here Cineuropa outlines the most interesting projects

REPORT: When East Meets West 2017

The seventh edition of the Trieste Film Festival's When East Meets West co-production market took place from 22-24 January. Cineuropa profiles the most interesting projects, in addition to the award winners, described in our news story

About the End (documentary)
Writer/director: Christina Picchi
Producers: Emily Morgan, Simone Catania, Annick Blanc, Cristina Rajola
Companies: Soda Pictures (UK), Indyca (Italy), Annick Blanc (Canada)
The first feature-length documentary by Christina Picchi, known for her award-winning short films Zima and Champ des Possibles, aims to explore the concept of the apocalypse through a highly visual and immersive sensory style. It will connect three narratives, respectively set at a Cold War-era radar station in Northern Quebec, on the Mount Merapi volcano in Indonesia, and in Italy. It follows a "prepper", a person who is preparing for the end of the world.

Alfa (fiction)
Writer/director: Una Gunjak
Producers: Amra Bakšić Čamo, Cecilia Frugiele, Siniša Juričić
Companies: SCCA/ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nukleus Film (Croatia)
The first feature film by Una Gunjak, director of the 2014 EFA winner for Best Short Film, The Chicken, follows a middle-aged Bosnian mother and her 18-year-old daughter, who live in the titular Catholic drug rehab commune in Calabria. As they are waiting for the daughter to reach the appropriate age for a pro basketball contract that they came to Italy for, the Pandora's box of their mutual resentments finally springs open.

Before Father Is Back (documentary)
Writer/director: Marine Gulbiani
Producers: Tekla Machavariani, Laurence Ubersfeld, Stefan Tolz
Companies: Nushi Films (Georgia), LuFilms (France), Filmpunkt (Germany)
Two Muslim girls, aged 12 and 13, in rural Georgia, whose fathers are away for a long period of time, share their secrets, fears and passions. As they are attending weekly cinema classes as part of the 'Cinema in Schools' project, they are inspired to start filming each other and the world around them. 

© Katja Goljat, Matjaz Rust

Dead Woman (fiction)
Director: Kadri Kõusaar
Writers: Kadri Kõusaar, Leana Jalukse, Al Wallcat
Producer: Aet Laigu
Company: Meteoriit (Estonia)
Prolific Estonian novelist and filmmaker Kadri Kõusaar's third feature film is a drama about a 40-year-old Western journalist who, while dispatched on a task in Sinai, gets kidnapped by two Palestinians and falls in love with one of them.

I Will Cross Tomorrow (fiction)
Writer/director: Sepideh Farsi
Producer: Thierry Lenouvel
Company: Ciné-Sud Promotion (France)
Acclaimed Iranian director Sepideh Farsi's second fiction feature connects a Greek policewoman who is assigned to a station in Lesbos as her life is falling apart, and a young Syrian activist who, after killing a man in support of the anti-Bashar movement, ends up on the same island. The two start an unexpected sexual relationship. 

Montaigne (fiction)
Director: Luca Ferri
Writers: Luca Ferri, Sofia Petraroia, Alessandro Rota
Company: Effendemfilm (Italy)
Set in the 1970s, Montaigne is about a fugitive from the law, a 50-year-old man who is fleeing into the Alps despite his wounded leg. With two policemen on his trail, he stumbles across a hut inhabited by a hermit writer. First-time feature director Luca Ferri, whose last short, colombi, screened in Venice’s Horizons section in 2016, intends to use three different "codes" for three parts of the film: cinema, theatre and radio.

© Katja Goljat, Matjaz Rust

The Pass (fiction)
Directors: Siddiq Barmak, George Ovashvili
Writers: Guram Odisharia, Siddiq Barmak
Producers: George Ovashvili, Guillaume de Seille
Companies: Wagonnet (Georgia), Arizona Productions (France)
One of Georgia's best-known filmmakers, George Ovashvili, invited acclaimed Afghani director Siddiq Barmak (Opium War) to co-direct this story about Georgian refugees fleeing Abkhazia across the Caucasus during the 1990s war. The film focuses on a Georgian soldier who is taking an Abkhaz prisoner to exchange for his brother. 

Solving My Mother (documentary)
Writer/director: Ieva Ozolina
Producer: Madara Melberga
Company: FA Filma (Latvia)
After the acclaimed 2015 documentary My Six Million Dollar Father, Latvian filmmaker Ieva Ozolina continues the theme of family relationships with this film about a 32-year-old mathematician who starts acknowledging his psychological dependence on his mother. The director says she will go for a mix of a "fly on the wall" approach and interviews.

The Users (fiction)
Writer/director: Ivan Ikić
Producer: Milan Stojanović
Company: Sense Production (Serbia)
The second feature by Barbarians director Ivan Ikić is set in a home for children with special needs, where three teenagers fall into a tragic love triangle. The protagonists will be played by real residents of such an institution. 

The Wind. A Documentary Thriller (documentary)
Writer/director: Michał Bielawski
Producers: Maciej Kubicki, Anna Kepinska
Company: Telemark (Poland)
A documentary about the Halny wind that blows in southern Poland. Before the wind even arrives at Zakopane, in the region of Podhale, where director Michał Bielawski intends to set the film, inhabitants begin to feel its effects, which results in an increased number of heart attacks, suicides and acts of violence. When the wind actually hits, it can damage hundreds of trees, roofs and power lines.