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FEST ESPINHO 2019 FEST Espinho Industry

FEST’s Pitching Forum supports 12 projects


- Three documentaries, three short films and six fiction features were awarded at the seventh edition of FEST’s Pitching Forum

FEST’s Pitching Forum supports 12 projects
One of the pitches in progress at the FEST Pitching Forum

FEST is a festival where people watch and discuss films, learn and network with industry professionals, and also present their future projects. For the latter group, FEST has the Pitching Forum, an event where filmmakers are able to pitch ongoing projects – at different stages – to a panel of jurors and experts (comprising producers, agents and financiers, amongst other industry professionals).

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Twenty-eight projects were selected for this year’s edition of the Pitching Forum. They were divided into three different categories – fiction features, short films and documentaries – with three different awards being handed out in each category: the Mentorship Award, which consists of three months of project tutoring and development with an industry expert; the Fest Film Lab Award, which allows the winner to choose a weekend training session at a FEST Film Lab workshop; and the Postproduction Award, which provides post-production services courtesy of one of FEST’s partners (Goldcrest Films, ENVY Post Production and Halo Post Production).

Within each strand, there was a vast array of themes and approaches on offer, and the selection even boasted a broad geographic spread. Three Portuguese projects received the FEST Film Lab Award, in all three categories. In the documentary category, the winner was Promised Land (Portugal) by Margarida Gramaxo, which explores (using visual anthropology) the idea of prosperity on the island of Príncipe, as a result of a €200 million investment made by Mark Shuttleworth. The Brave (Portugal), a project written (and soon to be directed) by Joana Vieira da Costa, tells a story in which dreams – or nightmares – and reality combine in a young girl’s life, enabling her to understand the social universe that surrounds her (and, mainly, the psychological demons that affect her father’s life and health). This project was the winner in the short-film category. Laura Seixas and Renata Pereira won the FEST Film Lab Award in the fiction feature category for The Van (Brazil/Portugal/UK), a feel-good fictional road trip through various remote areas of Portugal. In the movie, Ana, who has lived in Brazil for 15 years, returns to her home country to fulfil the last wishes of her grandfather.

But in fact, in the fiction feature category, the panel decided to give the FEST Film Lab Award to more than one project: besides The Van, Goodbye Julia (Sudan) by Mohamed Kordofani and Amjad Abu Alala, Hazel Eyes (Azerbaijan/Turkey) by Maria Ibrahimova, and Tenebris Vulnus (Peru/USA) by Anais Blondet were also crowned as winners.

In the documentary category, The Red House (Italy/Germany) by Gianluca De Angelis was the winner of the Mentorship Award. The Postproduction Award was given to Bigger than Trauma (Croatia), a documentary essay directed by Vedrana Pribačić that portrays a group of women who were tortured and raped during the Croatian war and who stayed silent for more than 20 years. Bigger than Trauma is a way for them to express themselves and have their voices heard, as they recover together on a specially designed strengthening programme (a process that the director followed for two years).

The Postproduction Award in the short-film category was given to Alia (France), a project written by Zahra Berrada, which explores the complicated dynamic in the relationship between a young Moroccan man, Ali, who is a baker during the day and a transvestite at night, and his father, Lahcen. The Custodian (Ireland/UK), David Tallon’s project about the potentially dangerous consequences of the traumatic experiences that content moderators go through, was the winner of the Mentorship Award.

In the fiction feature category, the Mentorship Award winner was Just (Poland/USA), directed by Jack Turits and Katarzyna Dorda, and the Postproduction Award laureate was The Chuck Band Show (Estonia), directed by Aet Laigu.

Here is the complete list of award winners:

Fiction features

Mentorship Award
Just - Jack Turits and Katarzyna Dorda (Poland/USA)

Postproduction Award (offered by Halo)
The Chuck Band Show - Aet Laigu (Estonia)

FEST Film Lab Awards
Goodbye Julia - Mohamed Kordofani and Amjad Abu Alala (Sudan)
Hazel Eyes - Maria Ibrahimova (Azerbaijan/Turkey)
Tenebris Vulnus - Anais Blondet (Peru/USA)
The Van - Laura Seixas and Renata Pereira (Brazil/Portugal/UK)


Mentorship Award
The Red House - Gianluca De Angelis (Italy/Germany)

Postproduction Award (offered by Envy)
Bigger than Trauma - Vedrana Pribačić (Croatia)

FEST Film Lab Award
Promised Land - Margarida Gramaxo (Portugal)

Short films

Mentorship Award
The Custodian - David Tallon (Ireland/UK)

Postproduction Award (offered by Goldcrest)
Alia - Zahra Berrada (France)

FEST Film Lab Award
The Brave - Joana Vieira da Costa (Portugal)

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