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ZAGREBDOX 2020 ZagrebDox Pro / Awards

The online edition of ZagrebDox Pro hands out its awards


- ZagrebDox’s industry section has managed to wrap a successful first digital edition, at which four projects received prizes

The online edition of ZagrebDox Pro hands out its awards
A screenshot from the ZagrebDox Pro online session

The first-ever online edition of ZagrebDox Pro (15-23 March) has come to an end with the announcement of the awards for the best projects from among the 12 that were developed during the four-day online training programme (see the news). The projects were subsequently presented as pitch videos in the online Pitching Forum, watched by the members of the international panel, consisting of Cecilia Lidin (Danish Film Institute), Hanka Kastelicova (HBO Europe), Lejla Dedić (Al Jazeera Balkans), Rada Šešić (Sarajevo Film Festival/IDFA) and Marion Schmidt (DAE/DOX BOX).

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It should be noted that the online edition of ZagrebDox Pro, which ran on the original dates scheduled for its 16th edition, had to change its format owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, in addition to the earthquake that hit Zagreb on Sunday morning, resulted in a challenging but nonetheless successful and exciting experience for participants and organisers alike.

The main HBO Europe Award, consisting of a diploma and €2,000 for further development, was granted to the Hungarian project Queen of Chess, directed by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, which has been written by Gabor Harmit and is being produced by Peter Stern for Queenside Pictures. The film follows the relationship and tournaments between Judit Polgar, the greatest female chess player of all time, and the legendary Garry Kasparov, who believed that a woman and a man couldn’t compete against one another.

Introduced for the first time at ZagrebDox Pro, the Al Jazeera Balkans Award, which comes with €1,000 for further development, was bestowed upon Slovenian director Marko Kumer Murč for his project The Other Side of the Pipe, written and co-produced by Eric Moses along with producer Katja Lihtenvalner for Rusaalka Films. It is being supported by the Slovenian Film Center. The documentary captures the struggles of ordinary people who put their lives on the line to oppose Europe’s most large-scale energy project: the Southern Gas Corridor.

Another new award, courtesy of the newly formed Documentary Association of Europe (DAE), was also given out at this edition. The DAE Mentoring Pitch Award, which comprises a one-year membership of DAE and access to its mentoring sessions, was given to the Romanian project Forbidden by Anelise Salan, produced by Cristina Iordache for East Movies. Presented as a video diary, the film follows the struggles of four same-sex couples, including the director’s, whose requests to register their marriages at Romania's Marital Status Department were rejected by the local authorities. The movie also zooms in on their intention to take the department to court afterwards.

Finally, the Georgian project Ever Since I Know Myself [+see also:
film review
film profile
, directed and produced by Maka Gogaladze for Formo, and currently in pre-production, received the ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award, comprising a diploma and a one-year online mentorship with Cecilia Lidin. The documentary illustrates how Georgians, with their long Soviet past and strongly traditional mindset, are trying to adopt a new, European identity.

Regarding the online version of ZagrebDox Pro, workshop mentors Leena Pasanen (director of the Biografilm Festival in Bologna) and director-producer Stefano Tealdi mentioned: “After ten editions of conducting our pitching lab in Zagreb, we were afraid the human interaction, so important in our work, would be missing. To our surprise, we did not lose the peer-to-peer and group feedback needed to give strength to the pitch of a project and therefore foster its development. This was done through various online discussions between us and the project teams. The fact that the participants were stuck in their homes or offices actually turned into an advantage and maximised their creative potential. They worked intensively with images and graphics in constructing an appealing and attractive pitch. Overwhelmed by the results, we wanted to invite specific partners and potential investors for each single project. Unfortunately, the earthquake in Zagreb did not allow us to do so. This could have given immediate results to the teams, but still, the project teams will connect with decision makers who will see the recording of the pitch.”

Here is the complete list of award winners:

HBO Europe Award
Queen of Chess – Bernadett Tuza-Ritter
Producer: Peter Stern
Production company: Queenside Pictures (Hungary)

Al Jazeera Balkans Award
The Other Side of the Pipe – Marko Kumer Murč
Producers: Eric Moses, Katja Lihtenvalner
Production company: Rusaalka Films (Slovenia)

DEA Mentoring Pitch Award
Forbidden – Anelise Salan
Producer: Cristina Iordache
Production company: East Movies (Romania)

ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award
Ever Since I Know Myself [+see also:
film review
film profile
– Maka Gogaladze
Producer: Maka Gogaladze
Production company: Formo (Georgia)

The ZagrebDox Pro training programme is organised with the support of the Creative Europe – MEDIA programme of the European Union, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the City of Zagreb and the Croatian Film Directors' Guild (DHFR).

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