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REPORT: ParisDOC Works-in-Progress 2020


- Eight documentary feature films are waiting to be discovered online by professionals signed up for the 7th Work in Progress event, organised as part of the Cinéma du réel Festival

REPORT: ParisDOC Works-in-Progress 2020
Mother Lode by Matteo Tortone

They were supposed to come together today, in Paris, at the Pompidou Centre, with a view to discovering the films and attending the pitches delivered by the filmmakers and producers of eight documentaries, either in post-production or in production. Alas, the current Coronavirus situation and the lock-down recently implemented in France have dictated otherwise. Nevertheless, in much the same vein as the 42nd Cinéma du réel Festival which is continuing online until 22 March for the juries and badgeholders involved, the professional platform that is ParisDOC has adapted rapidly, and the various distributers (festival programmers, sales agents, distributers, TV channels, online platforms and cinema operators) invited to and signed up for the 7th edition of the Work in Progress event will be able to access the selected documentaries’ film images, alongside a 5-minute video-pitch, online.

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Standing out amongst the projects selected for this Work in Progress session are two films in post-production which were developed by way of the EURODOC programme. The first is Mother Lode by Italy’s Matteo Tortone, a co-production involving French firm Wendigo Films, Italian group Malfé Film and Swiss outfit C-Side Productions (read our interview with director and producer Alexis Taillant). The second title is The Last Hillbilly [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Diane Sara Bouzgarrou and Thomas Jenkoe, produced by French firm Films de Force Majeure.

Another film in post-production and set for a showcasing is the French-German co-production Blind Steps by Christophe Cognet, whose image editing is close to completion, Ancient Soul (Mbah Jhiwo) by Spain’s Alvaro Gurrea (at the rough cut stage), Every Single Minute (Každá Minuta Života) by Czech director Erika Hníková and the French-Brazilian co-production Venice Beach, CA by Marion Naccache (rough cut).

Last but not least, two films still in production and stealing focus are Ghost Town by France’s Nicolas Peduzzi and Sunny (Mziuri) by Georgian director Keti Machavariani.

The full list of projects selected for the WiP session 2020, and their mini-synopses, are as follows:

Blind Steps - Christophe Cognet (France/Germany)
Production: l’atelier documentaire (Raphaël Pillosio), Oval Media
In Dachau, Buchenwald, Mittelbau-Dora, Ravensbrück and Auschwitz-Birkenau, a group of deportees managed to take some clandestine photos. Since these women and men worked hard to get these images to us, the least we can do is look at them.

Every Single Minute (Každá Minuta Života) - Erika Hníková (Czech Republic/Slovakia)
Production: Endorfilm (Jiří Konečný), Punkchart Films (Ivan Ostrochovský)
Married couple Michal and Lenka Hanuliak are subjecting their four-year-old son Miško to a unique parenting experiment: since his birth, they have devoted every second to raising him in the hope that, one day, he will become an accomplished athlete and a “high quality human being”.

Ghost Town - Nicolas Peduzzi (France)
Production: GoGoGo Films (Carine Ruszniewski)
A stroll through the ghost town of Houston, on the heels of four characters who are as chaotic as they are dazzling. Painting a portrait of the town of Houston, the paths of these characters intertwine. Meanwhile, in the distance, a hurricane looms.

Ancient Soul (Mbah Jhiwo) - Alvaro Gurrea (Spain)
Production: My Deer Films (Rocio Mesa)
Looking to win back the love of the woman who abandoned him, Yono (Mbah Jhiwo), a sulphur miner from Kawa Ijen, journeys through the differing beliefs jostling together within the neocolonial context of the South Sea islands.

Mother Lode - Matteo Tortone (France/Italy/Switzerland)
Production: Wendigo Films (Alexis Taillant, Nadège Labé), Malfé Film (Margot Mecca), C-Side Productions (Benjamin Poumey)
Jorge travels to the richest and most dangerous goldmine in Peru, lost beneath a glacier in the Andes. Here, he must contend with a world dominated by the Devil who rules this mine. It’s a fairy tale exploring the dark side of this terrifying Eldorado.

Sunny (Mziuri) - Keti Machavariani (Georgia)
Production: Sunny Films (Keti Machavariani and Tsisana Khundadz), Terra Incognita Films (Nato Sikharulidze, Giorgi Mukhadze and Giorgi Kobalia)
Sunny is a documentary film revolving around an investigator whose work is as exciting as it is demanding. As we familiarise ourselves with the protagonist, we begin to discover the lives, fears, hopes and behaviours of the Georgian people in the face of the country’s severe civic and political problems.

The Last Hillbilly [+see also:
film review
film profile
- Diane Sara Bouzgarrou and Thomas Jenkoe
Production: Films de Force Majeure (France)
"So you wanna know about hillbillies? Well, you do and you don’t..." A portrait of an Appalachian family as painted by one of their own, The Last Hillbilly mixes documentary-style observation with a surprising inner world in order to bear witness to a disappearing world.

Venice Beach, CA - Marion Naccache (France/Brazil)
Production: Marion Naccache and Franck Leibovici, Pikel Productions (Jérôme Czapka), alongside Franco Filmes e produções (Ailton Franco Junior)
Every morning, the homeless folks living by the sea in Venice Beach, California must wake up, pack their things away and move to the other end of the beach. The sun rises, nothing changes, yet their outlook on the world transports us elsewhere.

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(Translated from French)

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