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INDUSTRY Czech Republic/Slovakia

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MIDPOINT script development workshops now open to professional filmmakers

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- The MIDPOINT platform has dropped its student-only policy and has opened up to professional filmmakers for the first time

MIDPOINT script development workshops now open to professional filmmakers

Launched by Prague’s FAMU, the MIDPOINT script development workshops were designed to support creative collaborations between screenwriters, directors and producers in order to enhance script development for European filmmaking students. In collaboration with other Central European film schools, the project eventually evolved into a platform covering film and TV dramaturgy. As the project approaches its sixth edition, the organisers have decided to enhance the course by making a major change: having previously taken on student-only projects, it will now also accept submissions from professional filmmakers.

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The MIDPOINT programme has two parts: the first workshop will take place at Slovakia’s Art Film Fest (20-26 June) and will continue in the Czech Republic from 22-28 August, concluding with a pitching forum in front of European film-industry representatives. This year’s selection is composed of eight debut and sophomore features. Slovenian filmmaker Sonja Prosenc will be developing her second feature project, History of Love, at the workshops; her feature debut, The Tree [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, had its world premiere last year in the East of the West section of Karlovy Vary. MIDPOINT also includes a short-film category in addition to feature projects, and this year’s selection ranges from graduation works to professional shorts.

During the first part, a special workshop for Slovakian film professionals will be held under the tutorage of Martin Daniel, a screenwriter and screenwriting teacher from the University of Southern California, who the teams of two (comprising writers and producers) will consult with on their projects. Naďa Clontz and producers Biba Bohinská and Silvia Panáková (ARINA Film Production) will participate with The Journey of Blind Birds, based on the book of the same name by Czech sci-fi writer Ludvík Souček. Producer Rastislav Šesták, of DNA Production, and writer Peter Gašparík will bring Emil, a story about someone who speaks at a crematorium, Juraj Šlauka and Sentimentalfilm’s Marek Urban will come along with Lebo medveď, an omnibus film, and writer Roman Valentko is participating with The River, together with Trigon Production. Previous alumni can also return to consult on their projects in development as part of the follow-up platform, an opportunity being seized by Teodor Kuhn with his feature debut, By a Sharp Knife, inspired by the infamous murder of a student by right-wing extremists – the story ponders whether “it is worth fighting for justice in a system that is already corrupt”.

MIDPOINT alumni are on a lucky streak this year. Writer-director Tomasz Mielnik, who participated in 2011, will open the East of the West section at the upcoming Karlovy Vary Film Festival with his feature debut, Journey to Rome [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
; director Jan Těšitel, a 2013 participant, will also compete at KVIFF in the Forum of Independents with his film David [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
; last year’s alumna Martina Buchelová has been chosen for the new Future Frames initiative; and György Kristóf’s project Out was picked for the Cannes Cinéfondation’s L’Atelier, among other developments.

A workshop for Czech professionals will take place later this year, and the application process is open until September 2015.

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