EXCLUSIVE: First Cut Lab announces its summer workshops
- Four workshops with a regional and national focus are slated to be hosted over the coming months at Karlovy Vary and New Horizons, and in Pristina and Serbia
In a very challenging and demanding period for all of the creative industries, First Cut Lab (FCL), the specialised workshop for feature-length fiction films in the editing phase, has decided to plan ahead and open up ten new slots for its upcoming summer editions. Four workshops are scheduled to take place during that period, including two to be held at festivals (Karlovy Vary and New Horizons), the second year of the collaboration with RE-ACT (Regional Audiovisual Cooperation and Training), and a brand-new workshop focused on the Balkans. The upcoming projects will be added to the FCL line-up. The initiative started earlier this year and has already hosted seven films at the workshops held in Trieste and Vilnius.
As always, the sessions will be headed up by Matthieu Darras, along with consultant editor Benjamin Mirguet, while Wim Vanacker serves as the editorial advisor and Maartje Alders is the programme manager. For each of the forthcoming workshops, as was the case before, a line-up of film-industry experts will attend and consult with the participants.
For the second year running, the first summertime stop for FCL will be at Karlovy Vary, where the workshop is scheduled to run from 7-11 July. Like last year, three films will be selected – one from Central Eastern Europe, one Czech or Slovak, and one hailing from the countries of the Middle East. Regarding the renewal of the partnership, Hugo Rosák, head of KVIFF’s Eastern Promises industry section, stated: “For some time now, we have been looking at ways to support film projects in the fragile stage nearing completion, as this is when they still deserve to get some invaluable insights from industry experts. Both the First Cut Lab and First Cut+ programmes offer this opportunity, and we as a festival are happy to offer our established infrastructure. It’s a win-win.”
A participant in last year’s FCL Karlovy Vary, the Romanian feature And They May Still Be Alive Today (see the news) by Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, was selected for First Cut+ in Trieste this January (see the news). The deadline for applications is 1 May. It should be noted that the second First Cut+ of this year will be held at Karlovy Vary, with eight new projects that will be selected from among the First Cut Lab alumni, as well as former participants in MEDIA-supported partners Less Is More and MIDPOINT Feature Launch.
Last year was also the first time that FCL was organised in Pristina, for a workshop dedicated exclusively to Kosovar films, among which was More Raça’s debut feature, Andromeda Galaxy [+see also:
interview: More Raça
film profile], which subsequently won the Glocal in Progress Award at San Sebastián. This time, the Pristina workshop is being expanded and will become FCL Balkans, where three films from Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia are eligible to take part, with support from the Kosovo Cinematography Center, North Macedonia Film Agency, Albanian National Center of Cinematography and Film Centre of Montenegro.
Regarding this partnership, Arben Zharku, director of the Kosovo Cinematography Center, commented: “Convinced of the success of last year's workshop and believing that this experience will further strengthen our industry, we have expanded our cooperation with neighbouring countries with which we have an excellent history of cooperation.” Potential participants should apply by 15 May.
Remaining in the region but moving a tad further north, FCL RE-ACT is also aiming for neighbourly collaboration. Supported by RE-ACT, the initiative orchestrated by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, Slovenian Film Center and Film Center Serbia is helping regional talents. Last year was the first edition, which was organised in Ljubljana in November, with four films being selected. One of them was Croatian filmmaker Sonja Tarokić’s debut feature, The Staffroom, which was later picked for First Cut+ Trieste.
This year, the FCL RE-ACT workshop will take place in Serbia, and Alessandro Gropplero, head of international relations at the FVG Audiovisual Fund, states: “We are very happy to continue the collaboration with First Cut Lab, as we know how important and precious professional advice and support can be during the editing phase. On top of this, under these surreal and dramatic circumstances we are all facing, we are very keen to react promptly and offer new opportunities to our regional professionals and their films.” Movies from the region are able to apply until 15 May.
Finally, in July, First Cut Lab will return to Poland, thanks to its long-term partnership with the Polish Film Institute, to organise its sixth workshop. This time, though, it will take place for the first time as an integral part of Polish Days, the New Horizons International Film Festival’s industry section, and will run from 24-27 July in Wroclaw, hosting two to three Polish projects.
Weronika Czołnowska, head of industry, commented on this new partnership: “Hosting First Cut Lab is a natural step towards the expansion of our Polish Days industry event, the biggest industry event in Poland, so I am extremely happy to be starting this cooperation. First Cut Lab shares our goals and objectives; therefore, we consider it as a perfect partner for our programme.” Also, Marcin Pieńkowski, the artistic director of the New Horizons IFF, added: “I am very happy that First Cut Lab will be a part of this year’s New Horizons IFF. The First Cut Lab formula is brilliantly refined and unique – I am convinced that participation in these workshops will help Polish filmmakers in making the right editing choices.”
Among the selected Polish projects was last year’s The Getaway King by Mateusz Rakowicz, which also took part in First Cut+ Trieste. Polish films can apply for this workshop until 27 May.
Regarding the current situation, the organisers of the four FCLs also remarked: “We will take care when organising all of these workshops, bearing the current global health crisis in mind and considering all of the necessary steps to keep all participants and collaborators safe. In case there is any change, we will share updates via our website and Facebook page, as well as directly with everyone concerned. Twenty of our First Cut Lab alumni projects are slated to premiere this year. We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed for their premiere spots and encounters with audiences, despite the circumstances. We’re sending everyone love and support!”
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