REPORT: Works in Progress @ Karlovy Vary 2021
- Karlovy Vary's KVIFF Eastern Promises Works in Progress industry sidebar introduced the latest selection of projects at the late-production stage hailing from Eastern Europe, Russia and Iran
The Karlovy Vary KVIFF Eastern Promises Works in Progress industry sidebar focuses on projects from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North African territories at the late stage of production. As of this year, the separate Docs in Progress section ceased to exist, and fiction and documentary projects have been merged for the first time under the single banner of Works in Progress. The majority of the projects are first features from emerging filmmakers.
Below is an overview of the various projects presented:
And His Brothers - Alexandra Likhacheva (Russia /Germany/Belgium)
Russian director Alexandra Likhacheva introduced her feature-length documentary debut, And His Brothers, set in a small Orthodox enclave surrounded by Muslim republics and the high Caucasus mountains, Ossetia. Likhacheva, who is working also on biopic drama Kretsul (read the interview), received unprecedented access to the small and closed Ossetian community that upholds traditions. The director follows five characters representing the Ossetian people, although she says the film is about “forgiveness, internal and external, humility and repentance.” Likhacheva has one more expedition to Ossetia planned for winter to finish shooting. The film’s producer Anna Shalashina of WISH Media said they are currently looking for partners to help complete post-production, as well as international sales agents and festival representatives. The preliminary release date is set for March 2023.
Lucky Girl [+see also:
interview: Marysia Nikitiuk
film profile] - Marysia Nikitiuk (Ukraine)
When The Trees Fall [+see also:
interview: Marysia Nikitiuk
film profile]’s director Marysia Nikitiuk readies a follow-up film titled Lucky Girl. The story centres on Nina, a successful young woman who is diagnosed with osteosarcoma. She faces a personal crisis, has to fight her deepest fears, and re-evaluate her life. Nikitiuk said she wants to make the film “full of colours, metaphors, and fantasies,” and when asked about references, she named Alejandro González Iñárritu´s Biutiful [+see also:
film profile] (for moods and magical realism), Aleksey German Jr´s Under Electric Clouds (the film’s DoP, Sergey Mikhalchuk, is lensing Lucky Girl) and Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not [+see also:
interview: Adina Pintilie
film profile]. The film’s producer Julia Sinkevych said that they are in the post-production stage as principal photography wrapped in April 2021, and aiming to finish the film by the end of the year to be ready for premiere in early 2022. They are currently looking for funds to finish post-production, mostly VFX and animation, as Sinkevych revealed there will be a lot of animation including dinosaurs. They are also looking for sales agents, distributors and festivals.
Destiny - Yaser Talebi (Iran)
Yaser Talebi, the director of the successful Iranian documentary Beloved, is working on another documentary titled Destiny. Talebi follows 18-year-old Sahar, who lives in a remote village in Northern Iran and takes care of her cognitively impaired father. Sahar faces a dilemma: whether to keep taking care of her father according to traditional social values, or to follow her dream of becoming a doctor. Elaheh Nobakht, the film’s producer who also produced Talebi’s previous effort, said the film is a unique journey into the traditional family relationships of Iranians living in the countryside, while adding that Talebi’s uses an observational approach without judgment. The project is currently in post-production and the producer is looking for support from funds, producers, and broadcasters.
A Long Break [+see also:
film profile] - Davit Pirtskhalava (Georgia)
Davit Pirtskhalava, the emerging Georgian filmmaker who won the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno Film Festival for the short film Mama, presented his feature-length debut, the drama A Long Break. The story revolves around a reunion of former classmates who haven’t seen each other since graduation, with the protagonist, Tsitsi, having an ulterior motive of revenge. A Long Break deals with the subject of physical and mental abuse among school students, of which the director had a personal experience. Producer Tiko Nadirashvili revealed they are currently looking for post-production funding, an international sales agent, and distribution funding. Work on sound, audio post-production and grading is being carried out as they are preparing the film for an early 2022 release.
Aurora - Attila Dávid (Hungary/Romania)
Transylvanian newcomer Attila Dávid has a rough cut of his first feature film Aurora ready and according to the film’s producer Genovéva Petrovits of Kino Alfa, the director is fine-tuning the editing. Dávid, who directs, wrote the script, and produces the film, based the story around the protagonist Eszter and her husband experiencing trauma after child loss. A budding relationship with a younger man, Áron, helps her to overcome the pain and recapture her ideals while undermining her relationship with her husband. Petrovits revealed that sound post-production is yet to be finished while the local distribution of the film is momentarily in negotiation. The release date is set for April 2022 and the film does not yet have an international sales agent.
An Owl, a Garden and the Writer - Sara Dolatabadi (Iran/France)
Iranian multimedia artist Sara Dolatabadi works on her first feature documentary film An Owl, a Garden and the Writer that she dedicated to her father, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, one of the most prominent Iranian writers. “My film explores reimagining family dynamics, a man admired by his daughter, a public figure who fought for what he believed in, but whose presence was perhaps missing in my life. By doing so, I document the intertwined story of an exceptional public figure through a personal journey of rediscovering family ties through three generations with all its pain, triumph, conflict, sorrow, and revelation,” the director explains. The film should be ready by October 2022.
Unwanted - Lena Lanskih (Russia)
Russian filmmaker Lena Lanskih has already finished her feature debut Unwanted which will have its world premiere in the New Directors international competition at San Sebastian (read the news). The film revolves around 14-year-old Vika who had an unwanted child and faces rejection by her friends and community. “At first glance, our film is about the desperate pursuit of freedom. But below the surface lies another, deeper meaning: all of Vika’s actions are dictated by her desire to feel loved – a desire she cannot fulfil in the world that confines her,” explains the director. The film’s producer Natalia Drozd of CTB Film Company said they are still looking for a sales agent and a place for an international premiere.
Faggots, Friends - Alex Baczyński-Jenkins (Poland)
Artist Alex Baczyński-Jenkins is readying the documentary Faggots, Friends, about four Warsaw-based queer performers and their daily lives while facing an increasingly hostile environment for LGBTQ+ communities in Poland. “I believe this film will be about something essential – interpersonal relations and friendships, as well as documenting the life of the LGBTQ+ community at this particular moment, which is so crucial for the fight against discrimination,” the director notes. He adds that “together with my co-writer and cinematographer, we are developing a sensual visual language that approaches moments of feelings and relationships alongside their political context to give a poetic account of queer life, love, friendship, and persistence”. The producer Ivo Krankowski revealed that about one-third of the film is already shot whole the shooting will continue in Winter and Spring, to finish the film for Fall 2022. The producer is currently seeking post-production facilities, co-production funds, broadcasters, and sales agents.
Boney Piles [+see also:
interview: Taras Tomenko
film profile] - Taras Tomenko (Ukraine)
The award-winning Ukrainian filmmaker Taras Tomenko wrapped shooting on his latest documentary Boney Piles that maps the grim reality of Ukrainian children living in the war zone. “The small mining town of Toretsk has been trembling from shelling for seven years. According to official statistics, about 10,000 children live in the war zone in Ukraine. It is necessary to document the fate of these children, as their example can tell us more about the situation of the children of war in general,” explains the director. They are currently looking for co-producers to help with post-production, and festival distribution, as well as a sales agent.
Victim [+see also:
interview: Michal Blaško
film profile] - Michal Blaško (Slovakia/Czech Republic/Germany)
Slovak director Michal Blaško and Slovak producer Jakub Viktorín of nutprodukcia introduced Blaško’s first feature Victim (read more about the project). Viktorín confirmed that the film is in the stage of advanced rough cut with 2 remaining shooting days planned for early September. They plan to finalise the cut in October and have all the post-production work finished by late this year or January 2022. They are currently seeking a sales agent and a festival for the premiere.
In the Name of the Mother and of the Father - Tudor Platon (Romania)
Romanian filmmaker Tudor Platon continues his series of his personal works related to his won family with his latest project In the Name of the Mother and of the Father. Platon followed the relationship between his mother and father for a year and a half after they decided to separate after almost 30 years together. “In the Name of the Mother and of the Father is about the different shapes love can take and what is left of a family when love is gone,” says the director. Romanian veteran producer Ada Solomon and Carla Fotea, both of whom have been involved with the Golden Bear-winning film Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
interview: Radu Jude
film profile], are producing Platon’s latest documentary. Fotea confirmed that the project is in the editing stage and they are currently looking for sales agents, TV and streaming pre-sales, and post-production support.
Tina & Megi - Ioseb "Soso" Bliadze (Georgia/Germany)
Georgian filmmaker Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze will be premiering his feature film debut Otar’s Death [+see also:
interview: Ioseb 'Soso' Bliadze
film profile] in this year’s East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary (read the news) but he also managed to introduce his sophomore work Tina & Megi at the industry sidebar prior to the festival. This upcoming film focuses on the titular protagonist Tina who learns from Megi to live a self-determined life in patriarchal society after getting dumped by her boyfriend. The film was shot during the COVID-19 pandemic, which informed the process of shooting and the story. Eva Blondiau of Color of May is attached as producer.
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