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TURIN 2020 Torino Film Industry

The TFL powers on, with 30 projects contending awards in its 13th edition


- Running 16 – 20 November, the lab dedicated to film talent hailing from all over the world, moved its Meeting Event online, alongside its pitches for projects developed throughout the year

The TFL powers on, with 30 projects contending awards in its 13th edition
Director Matthias Huser (centre) as he pitches his project The Jungle

In a difficult year shot through with uncertainty, dominated by the ongoing pandemic and punctuated by the opening and closing of cinema doors, one thing is certain: films helps us to contend with the most terrible times; they keep us company, they inspire emotions and they allow us to travel when we’re physically unable to do so. Thus, the storytelling machine shows no sign of stopping, and the TorinoFilmLab is once again at the forefront of supporting new talent from all over the world with its education and development programmes, and its multiple production awards.

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Having opened 2020 with a record number of five TFL films selected for the Berlinale, the Turin-based laboratory successfully adapted itself to the current state of play, transferring all of its activities online, including the annual Meeting Event whose 13th edition (16-20 November) once again provided producers, sales agents and distributors with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with new projects on the prowl for partners. Over 60 titles, both films and TV series, were presented online to accredited professionals, with 30 of these works in the running for production, development and distribution awards: 20 of these are in the writing phase (ScriptLab) while the remaining 10 are at a more advanced stage of development (FeatureLab).

Family, feelings, religion and sexuality, explored within complex socio-political situations, are at the heart of many of the stories presented, which are mostly born out of private, personal experience. In Panopticon by George Sikharulidze, an adolescent embracing his faith begins to feel his first sexual stirrings. Misguided decisions ensue, leading towards far-right environments and deviant behaviour. Likewise investigating the slippery slope towards the far-right, as well as resilience and masculinity, is Karaoke King by Federica Gianni, whereby two brothers who move in with their uncle in a working class suburb of Rome, after their own village is destroyed by an earthquake, don’t find what they were expecting to, and experience their virility in two very different ways.

Immigration and identity split between two countries are at the centre of Home by Or Sinai, whose 50-year-old protagonist decides to return home to her native Ukraine, after working for a family in Israel for 15 years, in order to re-discover her family as well as herself, only to learn that she isn’t the person she was before. In Erenik Beqiri’s curious work After Dark, a man must confess to his father that his girlfriend is a vampire, in the social-conflict-ridden city of Tirana. Meanwhile, the Greek financial crisis is the focus of Stella Kyriakopoulos’ screwball comedy Blue Star, where a mother does everything she can to oppose the sale of the ship on which she and her daughters work as cleaners.

Also worth a mention among the projects presented online are the second works put forward by four interesting directors: God Will Not Help by Hana Jušić (Quit Staring at My Plate [+see also:
film review
interview: Hana Jušić
film profile
), which explores the notion of guilt and unfolds at the beginning of the 20th century, spearheaded by a woman who makes the journey from Chile to Croatia after killing her violent husband in order to meet his family (a family of mountain shepherds) and to understand their dynamics; Los pequeños amores [+see also:
film review
film profile
 by Celia Rico Clavellino (Journey to a Mother’s Room [+see also:
film review
interview: Celia Rico Clavellino
film profile
) examines a mother-daughter relationship and their different ideas on how to live their lives, placing particular focus on a woman’s choice not to have children; Flares by Danielle Lessovitz (Port Authority [+see also:
film review
film profile
) takes a remote village in Alaska as its setting, to tell the story of a woman who does everything she can to conceal the symptoms of the mysterious illness afflicting her, in the hope of hiding her limitations from others and leading a normal life, while Calf’s Head by Rosanne Pel (Light as Feathers [+see also:
film review
interview: Rosanne Pel
film profile
) is based upon a true story about an overweight woman whose family forces her to follow a diet during a holiday abroad.

Recognition by Ondřej Novák is likewise based upon a true, hard-hitting story, which is actually that of its director, whereby a man is reunited with his father from whom he hasn’t heard a word since the latter upped and left twenty years earlier. But on the very evening of their meeting, the father dies in a mysterious accident. Last but not least, a special mention should go to The Jungle by Matthias Huser (They Chased Me Through [+see also:
film review
interview: Matthias Huser
film profile
), which is the story of a woman who returns to the old haunts of her childhood, namely the jungle where her father still lives, a man who is ready and willing to do anything it takes to defend the life he leads in close contact with nature (read our interview with the film’s director and producer): surrounded by producers and in the presence of his real-life father (upon whom the story is based), the director recorded the pitch for his film in a forest, at night-time, while sat around a campfire… A prime example of how to turn (Covid-related) limitations into new opportunities.

The full list of projects presented at the 13th TFL Meeting Event (online) is as follows:


After Dark - Erenik Beqiri (France/Albania)
Production: Origine Films

Blue Star - Stella Kyrialopoulos (Greece)
Co-screenwriter: Margaret Shin

Calf’s Head - Rosanne Pel (The Netherlands)
Production: Family Affair Films

Ciudad sin sueño - Guillermo García López (Spain)
Production: Turanga Films

Elbow - Asli Özarslan (Germany)
Co-screenwriter: Claudia Schaefer
Production: Achtung Panda

Flares - Danielle Lessovitz (US/France)
Production: Virginie Films

Gog Will Not Help - Hana Jušić (Croatia)
Production: Kinorama

Home - Or Sinai (Israel)
Production: BARYO

Insectarium - Hannes Baumgartner (Switzerland) (in partnership with Swiss Films)

Mongrel - Wei Liang Chiang (Singapore)
Production: E&W Films

Nearness - Jorge Thielen Armand (France/Venezuela)
Production: In Vivo Films

Night Butterflies - Marta Prus (Poland)
Production: Extreme Emotions

Pax Europa - Oliver Adam Kusio (Poland/Germany)
Production: Koi Studio, Stein & Kusio Filmproduktion

Recognition - Ondřej Novák (Czech Republic)
Co-screenwriter: Lucia Kajánková
Production: Masterfilm

Skiff - Cecilia Verheyden (Belgium) (in partnership with VAF)
Production: Mirage

Small Country - Pablo Aparo (Argentina)

Spectrum - Philbert Aimé Mbabazi (Switzerland)
Production: GoldenEggProduction

Los pequeños amores [+see also:
film review
film profile
- Celia Rico Clavellino (Spain/France)
Production: Arcadia Motion Pictures

Baan [+see also:
film review
interview: Leonor Teles
film profile
- Leonor Teles (Portugal)
Co-screenwriter: Ágata de Pinho
Production: Uma Pedra no Sapato

Wild Animals - Yona Rozenkier (Israel)


Diaphanous - Dornaz Hajiha (Hong Kong/France)
Production: Isabelle Glachant (Chinese Shadows), Shasha & Co-production

Heartless [+see also:
film review
film profile
- Nara Normande & Tião (France/Brazil/Germany)
Production: Justin Pechberty (Les Valseurs), Emilie Lesclaux (CinemaScópio), Komplizen

Karaoke King - Federica Gianni (Italy/US)
Production: Lara Costa-Calzado (Stayblack), Tatiana Bears (Other Season)

Melting of the Ruler - Ivan Salatić (Montenegro)
Production: Jelena Angelovski (Meander Film)

Michelle Remembers - Pia Borg (Australia/France)
Production: Helen Olive (Ritual Pictures), 5 à 7 Films

Panopticon - George Sikharulidze (Georgia/France/Romania/Germany)
Production: Vladimer Katcharava (20 Steps), Arizona Productions, Tangaj Productions, Rohfilm Factory

That Burning Light - Euhimis Kosemund Sanidis (Greece/Romania)
Production: Yorgos Tsourgiannis (Horsefly Productions), Tangaj Productions

The Caravan - Zuzana Kirchnerová (Czech Republic/Slovakia/Italy)
Production: Jakob Viktorín (nutprodukce), nutprodukcia, Tempesta

The Jungle - Matthias Huser (Switzerland)
Production: Michela Pini, Simon Jaquemet (8horses)

The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo - Diego Céspedes (Chile)
Production: Giancarlo Nasi (Quijote Films)

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(Translated from Italian)

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