Biljana Tutorov • Founder and Head of Programme, CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator
"CIRCLE creates a space of trust where you can share your doubts and fears with tutors and participants"
- We met with Biljana Tutorov, founder and head of programme of Women Doc Accelerator, after the vibrant sophomore year of the initiative
Launched in 2018, CIRCLE is a training initiative with the main goal of empowering women working in the film industry through the development of their own projects, as well as through polishing of their professional skills. The initiative introduces participants to current tendencies and tools, and provides them with insights in market positioning and networking, giving them better knowledge of some of the pieces of the puzzle called contemporary filmmaking.
Cineuropa: Why did you decide to create CIRCLE?
Biljana Tutorov: CIRCLE is a filmmakers’ initiative born out of craving to have a platform where we can exchange about our projects in confidence, with the daily help of carefully chosen experts, in order to assume our desires as filmmakers and to work together towards excellence. We are often too impressed by industry expectations and forget that we are artists who think through our films. This space of solidarity is something I missed in my early development.
Sometimes, you have to protect your film during such trainings, but CIRCLE creates this space of trust where you could share your doubts and fears with tutors and participants.
How does the programme work?
The programme runs in three modules. During 2019, the participants were director and producer Alina Gorlova (Between Two Wars, Ukraine), director and producer Andrea Gautier (Celluloid Nymphs, Spain), director Anđelka Vujinović (4 Goodnight Stories, Serbia), director Anna Savchenko, (72 Hours, Belarus), director Asia Dér (I Haven’t Died, Hungary), director Charlie Cauchi (Big Silver, Malta), director Federica Martino (Woolman, Italy), director Joanna Janikowska (Comrades, Poland) and finally director Lee Nechushtan (Two Sisters, Israel). They had a chance to work intensively with numerous experts from the film industry.
How are your tutors chosen?
Since the whole idea of CIRCLE is to promote and equip individual female authors for their careers, the list of professionals responsible for the transfer of knowledge has to be from the top tier. It all started with the first module in Podgorica (Montenegro) with Rada Šešić, director and selector of the fiction and documentary competition programmes at Sarajevo Film Festival and member of selection teams of IDFA and IFFR; director of the DOK Co-Pro Market, DOK Leipzig’s Brigid O'Shea; scriptwriter and story editor Simona Nobile who is MEDIA, Eurimages and MIBACT consultant and EWA representative. Alongside them, the first module was organised with input from Tamara Kotevska, co-director of the film Honeyland [+see also:
interview: Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara K…
interview: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir S…
film profile], this year's triple winner at the Sundance Film Festival; Goran Dević, director of numerous awarded films, professor at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art; and producer, distributor and director of Liburnia Film festival Oliver Sertić.
The second module in Novi Sad was especially productive with Joana Solecka, marketing expert and a great connoisseur of everything that we call "audience design"; film editor and documentary script consultant Phil Jandaly; Aleksandar Govedarica - sales agent for Syndicado, one of the leading documentary distribution companies; Jelena Mišeljić - producer, programmer and professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje; Ivana Mladenović (Serbia, Romania) - director of the award-winning films Soldiers. Story from Ferentari [+see also:
interview: Dawid Ogrodnik
interview: Ivana Mladenovic
film profile] and Ivana The Terrible [+see also:
film profile], which won the Special Jury Prize in Locarno in 2019 and has been analysed through a case study; Maša Marković - Cinelink Coordinator and Selector for the "Dealing With the Past" programme at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
The year-long process of CIRCLE concluded at DOK Leipzig where all the participants had a chance to present their projects and possibly impress their colleagues at the 15th DOK Co-Pro Market. Some of them were better than the others and in the end, EWA – the European Women’s Audiovisual Network awarded the EWA Development Prize for the best project by filmmakers in the Circle Women Dok Accelerator. Their decision was to split the award between two projects. The financial support went to Between Two Wars by Alina Gorlova, while Anna Savchenko received mentorship support to further development of her project 72 Hours for a whole year.
Preparations for the third CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator are underway. The programme is organized by the production company Wake Up Films from Novi Sad, in cooperation with UnderhillFest from Podgorica, DOK Leipzig Festival, European Women's Audiovisual Network (EWA), MEDIA Desk Serbia, MEDIA Desk of Montenegro and with the support of the Film Center of Montenegro, Serbian Film Center, City of Novi Sad and the The Petrović Njegoš Foundation.
A group photo of the 2019 CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator participants (© Aleksandra Ramadanovic)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.