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Female documentarians and Ukraine in the spotlight of the 2023 East Doc Forum and Market


- The most prominent topics within the carefully curated project selection are the war in Ukraine, environmental issues, and the trauma and abuse inflicted on females

Female documentarians and Ukraine in the spotlight of the 2023 East Doc Forum and Market
Sisters by Tereza Bernátková

The East Doc Platform is set to take place in Prague from 24-30 March (see the news). One of its components, the East Doc Forum, which is the largest co-production, funding and distribution platform for Central and Eastern European documentaries, has now selected the projects partaking in its 2023 edition. During the 12th edition of the East Doc Forum, filmmakers and decision makers will discover works made entirely by female filmmakers, with one exception – a male director's work which does, however, focus on two female protagonists. Besides highlighting projects by female filmmakers, the East Doc Forum and the accompanying Market feature a carefully curated selection focused on the war in Ukraine, environmental issues, and the trauma and abuse suffered by females.

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East Doc Forum will present Sisters, a Czech project directed by Tereza Bernátková and produced by Czech outfit MasterFilm, which focuses on footage found at an institution for the intellectually disabled. The recovered material can now be considered as the first social documentary in Czechoslovakia. Moreover, as it was shot by Sister Imelda in the institution, its very existence rewrites the canon of male filmmaking in such a traditionally male-dominated field. Slovak filmmaker Lucia Kašová (The Sailor [+see also:
film review
film profile
) has also been selected for the line-up with her project World of Walls. With this work, produced by guča films and co-produced by Claw AV, Kašová is set to explore the escalating climate crisis as it fuels social division in South Africa. Ukrainian filmmaker Yegor Troyanovsky, the only male helmer in the selection, observes two paramedic girls, Cuba and Alaska, in war-torn Kharkiv in his project Cuba & Alaska, produced by Olga Beskhmelnytsina. Meanwhile, Anna Artemyava’s Girl Sometimes, produced by Ksenia Gapchenko, revisits her time spent at “the best school” in 1994, only to uncover a system of harassment, abuse and assault.

Olga Chernykh dives into a kaleidoscope of memories, and chronicles both her personal and collective family search for something to hold on to amid being exiled first from her hometown of Donetsk in 2014 and then from Kyiv in 2022, in A Picture to Remember, which has been selected for the East Doc Market. The Ukrainian-French project currently in post-production is being staged by Real Pictures and co-produced by LuFilms. More projects in East Doc Market this year reflect on the realities of the war in Ukraine. Adelina Borets follows 67-year-old Natalia, “the rebel of the neighbourhood” in Kyiv, who stays in the city after the war breaks out and decides to liberate it. Borets’ documentary Flowers for Ukraine is in production and is being produced by Gogol Film. Filmmaker Vladlena Sandu, born in Crimea, spent some time in Chechnya and received the status of a displaced person in Russia, and she is now readying the autobiographical film Memory, produced by Mimesis.

Twelve Ex Oriente 2022 projects also made it into the 2023 East Doc Forum selection, including Grzegorz Paprzycki’s December, a creative documentary composed of mini-stories shown across 31 scenes and set in different European countries, which see their humanity put to the test when faced with an influx of unwelcome people. Bara Jichova Tyson’s investigative documentary Love and Capitalism, which explores how children growing up in different places express a different understanding of our world and the future, is also an Ex Oriente alumnus, along with Ana Vijdea’s project. Vijdea’s film Mothership explores the different forms of abuse experienced by the protagonist, a young girl from Romania, by blending the sense of intimacy of the epistolary form, austere urban-exploration images and raw, direct cinematic footage.

Here is a list of the projects selected for East Doc Forum 2023:

Brothers in the Hunt - Ieva Ozolina (Latvia)
Producer: Madara Melberga (Fa Filma)

Cuba & Alaska - Yegor Troyanovsk (Ukraine)
Producer: Olga Beskhmelnytsina

Girls Sometimes - Anna Artemyeva (Germany)
Producer: Ksenia Gapchenko

I Made a Mistake Coming Here - Kseniya Halubovich (France)
Producer: Louis Beaudemont (Les Steppes Productions)

Insurance Against Meteorites - Natalia Śliwowska, Jorik Galama (Poland)
Producer: Kasia Kuczyńska (Haka Films)

Sisters - Tereza Bernátková (Czech Republic)
Producers: Natália Pavlove, Dagmar Sedláčková (MasterFilm)

Songs of Sisterhood - Hanka Nobis (Switzerland)
Producer: Esther van Messel (First Hand Films)

The Soldier's Journey - Helena Maksyom (Romania)
Producer: Adrian Pirvu (Pirvu A Adrian PFA)

World of Walls - Lucia Kašová (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Producers: Matej Sotník, Wanda Kaprálová (Guča sro), Claw AV

The Ex Oriente Film 2022 projects that are part of the 2023 East Doc Forum 2023 are as follows:

Basement 341 - Roman Blazhan (Ukraine)
Producer: Roman Blazhan (Minimal Movie)

Beautiful Void - Andris Gauja (Latvia)
Producers: Elza Gauja (Riverbed), Film Tower

Chasing Stumps - Mihai Gavril Dragolea (Romania)
Producer: Elena Martin (Manifest Film)

December - Grzegorz Paprzycki (Poland)
Producer: Piotr Śmiechowski (Telemark)

European Union Wolf - Jadran Boban (Croatia)
Producer: Dana Budisavljević (Hulahop)

Love and Capitalism - Bára Jíchová Tyson (Czech Republic)
Producer: Kristýna Škodová (Cinepoint)

May It Be a Girl - Katerina Suvorova (Kazakhstan/Austria)
Producers: Aruan Anartaev, Mischief Films

Maomi - Larger Than Life - Judit Oláh (Hungary/Germany)
Producers: Inez Mátis (Pi Production), Majmun Film

One Day I Wish to See You Happy - Maryna Nikolcheva (Ukraine)
Producer: Oleksandra Kravchenko

War on Women - Maris Salumets (Estonia)
Producer: Volia Chajkouskaya (Allfilm)

The projects selected for the 2023 East Doc Market are as follows:

A Picture to Remember - Olga Chernykh (Ukraine/France)
Producers: Regina Maryanovska Davidzon (Real Pictures), Laurence Uebersfeld (LuFilms)

Bitter Sugar - Ana Barjadze (Georgia)
Producer: Irina Gelashvili (Radium Films)

Fixing the War - Clare Stronge (Ireland) - Awarded at Docs Ireland 2022
Producer: Gary Lennon (Plainsong Ltd)

Flowers of Ukraine - Adelina Borets (Poland/Ukraine)
Producer: Glib Lukianets (Gogol Film)

Four Winters in Edificio Cuba - Aleksandra Maciuszek (Poland) - Awarded at DocsBarcelona 2022
Producer: Aleksandra Maciuszek (New Plot Films)

Hasan's Joy - Natalia Pietsch, Grzegorz Piekarski (Poland) - Awarded at Krakow Film Festival/Doc Lab Poland 2022
Producer: Katarzyna Kostecka (Larmo)

I Have Never Been on an Airplane - Redon Kikaj (Kosovo/Czech Republic)
Producers: Dardan HotiFarid Eslam (Mind Riot media)

Liberation Diaries - Matteo Parisini (Italy/Germany/France) - Awarded at Sunny Side of the Doc 2022
Producers: Lorenzo Cioffi (Ladoc), Tina Leeb (DOCDAYS Productions), Audrey Ferrarese (Drôle de Trame)

Memory - Vladlena Sandu (France/Netherlands/Kosovo)
Producer: Yanna Buryak (Mimesis)

Souvenirs - Pegah Ahangarani (Czech Republic)
Producers: Gabriela Daniels, Kaveh Farnam (Europe Media Nest)

Until the Wedding - Daniel Stopa (Poland)
Producer: Daniel Stopa (KIOSK FILMS)

Where I End and You Begin - David Power (Romania/Italy)
Producer: Raffaella Pontarelli (Amarena Film)

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