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TURIN 2021 Torino Film Industry / TorinoFilmLab

30 projects took to the stage at the 14th TFL Meeting Event

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- Between 29 November and 1 December, over 200 professionals came together to lay the groundwork for future films, ahead of the event’s online format running 6 to 10 December

30 projects took to the stage at the 14th TFL Meeting Event
Producer Alex Lafuente and director Andrea Jaurrieta presenting their project Nina at the 14th TFL Meeting Event

Julia Ducournau (the winner of the 2021 Palme D’Or for Titane [+see also:
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interview: Julia Ducournau, Vincent Li…
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]
) took part in the TorinoFilmLab with her first film Raw [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Julia Ducournau
film profile
]
, and Michelangelo Frammartino (awarded the Special Jury Prize in Venice this year for Il buco [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
film profile
]
) also kicked off his debut feature film Le quattro volte [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
interview: Savina Neirotti
film profile
]
here: these are just two out of a long list of promising filmmakers who took their first film steps at the Turin-based lab before winning acclaim all over the world. “The TFL’s objective has always been to be a hotbed, not only for projects but also for talent, a place where filmmakers can launch their careers”: these were the words of Mercedes Fernandez Alonso, managing director for the international training, development and funding lab headquartered in the Piedmontese capital, which just celebrated its 14th edition and which, in 2021 alone, saw 23 feature films bearing its stamp making their debuts in major international festivals; works such as Natural Light [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Dénes Nagy
film profile
]
by Dénes Nagy, which won Berlin’s Silver Bear for Best Direction, and Pilgrims [+see also:
film review
interview: Laurynas Bareisa
film profile
]
by Laurynas Bareiša, which was named Best Film in Venice’s Orizzonti line-up.

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Since it foundation in 2008, 144 TFL films have been completed, with upwards of 1,500 authors and professionals taking part in its training and development programmes. And it’s full steam ahead this year, too, regardless of the difficulties posed by the pandemic. From 29 November to 1 December, the Meeting Event which unspooled in person (following last year’s online edition) at Turin’s Scuola Holden, saw 55 screenwriters, directors and producers from 36 countries presenting their projects to audiences of 50 professionals who were looking for new authors and films to pin their hopes on. The 20 projects linked to ScritpLab, a programme focused on screenplay development, and the 10 projects produced via FeatureLab, which is dedicated to first and second works at an advanced phase of development, whether fictional or documentary, were, as always, at the heart of the various activities and one-to-one meetings unfolding at the event.

As TFL’s Head of Operations Agata Czerner explained to us, “It wasn’t possible to organise the Meeting Event as we have in the past, with 300-350 people, on account of capacity constraints and other issues. But, for us, it was important that our participants could meet one another in person, so we opted for a reduced version, a bit like it was at the beginning (…) And going by the reactions of our guests and staff, this more intimate format turned out to be a hit. What’s more, despite having one hundred people less than usual, the number of individual meetings we’ve had hasn’t been any lower than before: we’ve counted 450 over these two days”. And this year, the TFL Meeting Event isn’t ending here: there will be a second online instalment from 6 to 10 December. “The projects on the agenda will also be available by appointment for those who can’t come to Turin”, Czerner continues; “there will also be ad hoc panel discussions, a section dedicated to interviews with our alumni whose films were released this year, and the projects which won our funds will likewise be presented”.

With respect to this year’s projects, Violeta Bava and Vincenzo Bugno, respectively head of studies and curator for FeatureLab, observed the following: “The pandemic wasn’t (and isn’t) simply a time of danger and fear, but also of introspective creativity. These projects are very close to the worlds of their respective directors”. They start with the Israeli title Home by Or Sinai (developed in last year’s ScriptLab), in which 50-year-old Bella decides to return home to the Ukraine to re-connect with her family and herself, after working as a housekeeper for a family in Israel for 15 years, only to discover that her family no longer needs her; there’s also an exploration of the joys of rural life in Dayao Swims Against The Flow by Chinese director Thao Zang (produced by French firm House of Fire); Mongolian director Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir’s offering Ze is also a French production (via Aurora Films), following a young shaman who falls in love with a complicated girl who subsequently turns his fragile world upside down. A modern-day western with great commercial potential comes courtesy of Spain: directed by Andrea Jaurrieta (nominated for the 2019 Goya Award for his debut film Ana By Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Nina sees the tough titular woman returning to the village of her birth after a thirty-year absence in order to take revenge on the man who abused her. From Finland we find Tia Kuovo’s Family Time, produced by Jussi Rantamäki (who previously produced The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Mäki [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
and Compartment No.6 [+see also:
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interview: Juho Kuosmanen
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]
, both of which won awards in Cannes), which humorously examines the dynamics of a Finnish family and leads us to ask why it’s so hard to be a happy family.

The 20 projects gracing this year’s ScriptLab selection (overseen by Eva Svenstedt Ward and curated by Amra Bakšić Čamo) hail from 20 different countries, with 14 of them being first works and four directed by women from South or Central America: there’s Contemporary Road by Argentina’s Alessia Chiesa, Cost of Living by Brazil’s Moara Passoni, Deeper by Venezuela’s Virginia Urreiztieta, and The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands by Costa Rica’s Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (selected for Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight this year, thanks to Clara Sola [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nathalie Álvarez Mesén
film profile
]
). Among the various projects in the initial development phase, we find Incandescent by Britain’s Dee Meaden, an “uncomfortable” comedy borne out of reflections on male reactions to the Me Too movement, revolving around a young actor who has an antiquated idea of masculinity; The Future is an Elder Cow, which is the second feature film by Greek director Janis Rafa (Kala Azar [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janis Rafa
film profile
]
, presented in Rotterdam in 2020). Set against the backdrop of a generalised ecological crisis, the film portrays the increasingly problematic co-existence of men and animals in a village devastated by infertility, where pregnant women give birth to calves and wolf pups; and, last but not least, is another second work: The Mountain Bride, by Italy’s Mauro Delpero (Maternal [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Maura Delpero
film profile
]
), which is set in a small mountain community in the Italian Alps at the end of the Second World War, where three sisters’ lives are turned upside down by the arrival of a group of soldiers looking for shelter.

The deadline for the next FeatureLab edition is 17 January 2022.

The projects presented at the 14th TFL Meeting Event were as follows:

FeatureLab

Cuerpo Celeste - Nayra Ilic García (Chile)
Production: Dominga Ortúzar, Oro Films

Dayao Swims Against The Flow - Tao Zhang (France)
Production: Vincent Wang, House of Fire

Family Time - Tia Kouvo (Finland) (first work)
Production: Jussi Rantamäki, Aamu Film Company

Hamlet From The Slum - Ahmed Fawzi-Saleh (Egypt/USA)
Production: Ahmed Amer, A. A. Films

Home - Or Sinai (Israel) (first work)
Production: Adi Bar Yossef

Little Trouble Girls - Urška Djukić (Slovenia) (first work)
Production: Marina Gumzi, Nosorogi

Nina - Andrea Jaurrieta (Spain)
Production: Alex Lafuente, Bteam Pictures, Icónica

The Green Parrot - Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter (Austria)
Production: Lixi Frank, Panama Film

Things That You Kill - Alireza Khatami (France)
Production: Elisa Sepulveda Ruddoff, Fulgurance

Ze - Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (France) (first work)
Production: Katia Khazak, Aurora Films

ScriptLab

Contemporary Road - Alessia Chiesa (Argentina)
Cost of Living - Moara Passoni (Brazil) (first work)
Dead Sheep’s Wool - Rhys Jones (UK) (first work)
Deeper - Virginia Urreiztieta (Venezuela) (first work)
Francis - Ian Barling (USA) (first work)
Incandescent - Dee Meaden (UK) (first work)
Land of Ferns - Ester Martin Bergsmark (Sweden) written by Jessika Jankert (Sweden)
LazarusDeben Van Dam (Belgium) (first work)
Medusas - Ely Chevillot (Belgium) (first work)
Monument - Christoph Rainer (Austria) (first work)
Moseć - Miroslav Sikavica (Croatia) co-written by Marija Šimoković Sikavica (Croatia) (first work)
Resonance - Yordan Petkov (Bulgaria) (first work)
Rubikon - Levente Kölcsey (Hungary) (first work)
Soon We Will All Be History Here - Saeed Taji Farouky (UK/Jordan) (first work of fiction)
The Crux - Ulrike Tony Vahl (Germany) (first work)
The Future Is An Elder Cow - Janis Rafa (the Netherlands/Greece)
The Mountain Bride - Maura Delpero (Italy)
The New Illusion - Jasmin Gordon (Switzerland/USA) co-written by Julien Bouissoux (France/Switzerland) (first work)
The Wolf Will Tear Your Immaculate Hands - Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Sweden/Costa Rica)
Unfinishing Painting - Catarina Vasconcelos (Portugal)

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(Translated from Italian)

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