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SOFA 2021

SOFA picks ten participants for its eighth edition


- For the first time, industry professionals from Azerbaijan and Armenia will take part in the School of Film Advancement workshops, starting with the first online one 18-28 August

SOFA picks ten participants for its eighth edition
The participants of the 8th of SOFA

UPDATE (21 August): SOFA has announced the experts, tutors and guests for its 8th edition. Each participant has an individually picked mentor that perfectly fits the project’s needs. Another three tutors additionally working with them at budget, presentation and concept papers.

The experts are: Jeffrey Bowers, Senior Curator at vimeo (USA); Silvia Cibien, General Delegate at EUROVOD (France); Jakub Duszyński, Head of Acquisitions and Creative Director at Gutek Film (Poland); Marit van den Elshout, Head of IFFR Pro at International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands); Heike-Melba Fendel, Founder of Barbarella Entertainment (Germany); Jurate Pazikaite, Managing Director at Vilnius Film Office (Lithuania); Jay Rinsky, Founder of Little Cinema (USA); Rasha Salti, independent curator and writer (Lebanon/Germany); and Tamara Tatishvili, Head of Training at MEDICI (Georgia).

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The tutors are: Oliver Baumgarten, Artistic Director at Film Festival Max Ophüls Preis (Germany); Christine von Fragstein, Facilitator/Process Supporter at Change Animal (Germany); and Ewa Puszczyńska, Producer at Extreme Emotions (Poland).

Further guest experts complete this strong selection of professionals who will share their experiences: trainer and consultant Anna Radzikowska (Poland), screenwriter Agnieszka Kruk (Poland) and film director Magnus von Horn (Sweden).

Nine projects represented by ten participants will take part in the 8th edition of SOFA – School of Film Advancement. This edition will send its participating cultural managers on a busy one-year journey towards a precisely developed project that helps to shape a region’s professional film structure or film community. Along the way, they will go through three intense workshops, gathering at film festivals and several e-learning units to exchange with distinguished international experts. The current edition will kickstart on August 18-28, 2020 with its first workshop held online.

For the first time ever, SOFA's selection includes participants from Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"After years of an amazing young new wave coming from Georgia, we have the feeling that now it's their neighbours' turn," says SOFA head Nikolaj Nikitin. "Azerbaijani film In Between Dying [+see also:
film profile
by Hilal Baydarov will compete at Venice, while our selected participant Ru Hasanov will premiere his debut The Island Within [+see also:
film review
interview: Ru Hasanov
film profile
at Sarajevo. So Azeri filmmakers are surely coming — as well as Armenians! We hope especially to support the short film makers of the future with our SOFA project in Armenia, a country which by joining the Eurimages and the MEDIA programme made some very important steps for their film industry.”

"There is a strong cinematic tradition in those countries and outstanding, dedicated talents, and we hope to be able to put many of them on the map and empower them to work in the future on their local productions. We at SOFA want to especially strengthen the film scene in Eastern Partnership countries and are very happy to have this year a local VoD platform from Belorussia, where support for independent culture is very much needed right now."

Here is the complete lineup for the 8th edition of SOFA:

Victoria Aleksanyan (Armenia) – Shortwave Lab
A development and funding platform for short films.

Elkjana Gjipali (Albania) – Tirana Film Commission
Regional production services.

Stefanie Gödicke and Philipp Maurice Raube (Germany) – NewNarratives
An Arabic-European audiovisual training initiative.

Ru Hasanov (Azerbaijan) – Independent Cinema Fund
An alternative fund for independent Azerbaijani films.

Leonid Kalitenya (Belarus) – Svajo Kino
A VoD platform for Belarusian independent cinema.

Igor Mašera (Slovenia) – BSF-LUX
A VoD platform for Slovenian cinema.

Janka Pozsonyi (Hungary) – Kontra Film
An initiative to promote, distribute, and empower Hungary’s independent filmmaker scene.

Willy Rollé (Germany/France) – Tavma Pop-Up
A digital distribution on-demand platform for non-theatrical screening.

Rita Stanelytė (Lithuania) – Mata Hari Communication
Boutique film marketing and promotion consultancy.

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