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SOFIA 2017 Industry

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First Films First wraps its first edition by handing out the goEast award

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- The training programme for young directors held its final module at Sofia Meetings, with the Pitching Award from goEast Wiesbaden going to Ana Jakimska

First Films First wraps its first edition by handing out the goEast award
Director Ana Jakimska (left) and goEast Film Festival's Andrea Wink

The Goethe-Institut's First Films First, a ten-month training programme for young directors from Southeast Europe, realised in partnership with national film centres, agencies and festivals from 14 countries in the region, has come to the end of its first edition at the Sofia Meetings.

Bulgaria's biggest industry event served as a platform for the final stage of the programme, where the eight first-time directors learned how to pack and pitch their projects from tutors including Gabriele Brunnenmeyer, Manfred Schmidt and Mira Staleva

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Macedonian director Ana Jakimska and her project Midnight Train received the Award for Best Pitch from goEast Film Festival's Andrea Wink, which will take the young filmmaker and her film as a special guest to the festival's East-West Talent Lab, taking place at the end of April and beginning of May.

“I was very impressed by First Films First, and especially with the last module in Sofia,” Wink told Cineuropa. “Listening to all of these very well-prepared projects shows what a great idea there is behind this programme, and of course how important it is for filmmakers in Southeast Europe to realise a first feature film. Midnight Train by Ana Jakimska has a great potential for co-production, and the topic is unfortunately still very important – the struggles of women in the very patriarchal Balkans.”

Before Sofia, Jakimska, Serbia's Ognjen Isailović, Turkey's Derya Durmaz, Macedonia's Tamara Kotevska, Slovenia's Dominik Mencej, Albania's Florenc Papas, and Greece's Nikos Labot and Asimina Proedrou developed their projects through three intensive workshops. At Cluj's Transilvania International Film Festival, they started by working on their screenplays with Brunnenmeyer and Srdjan Koljević, then at the Brothers Manaki International Cinematographers' Film Festival in Bitola they developed their visual style with legendary DoP Karpo Godina and Oscar-winning production designer Allan Starski, and at Belgrade's Auteur Film Festival they worked with actors, with guidance from Andreas Dresen and Milcho Manchevski.

The second edition of the programme is currently being prepared, and will follow the same route. The organisers have received 121 applications, and the selection will be announced by the end of April. 

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