FEBIOFEST BRATISLAVA 2023 Febiofest Industry Days
REPORT: Work in Progress @ Febiofest Bratislava Industry Days 2023
- The industry panel showcased an eclectic selection of Slovak projects in development, production or post-production by the younger generation of domestic filmmakers
The eighth edition of the IFF Febiofest Bratislava Industry Days, co-organised by the Slovak Film Institute, brought along an eclectic selection of intriguing domestic projects in the making. The Best Febio Pitch Award was handed to Period Drama by Michaela Mihalyi, a short, animated dramedy inspired by menstruation. The Pop Up Film Residency Visegrad Award ended up in the hands of Daniel Rihák for his coming-of-age comedy of errors My World Upside Down, while the period war drama The House in the Middle received the Cineuropa Work in Progress Award.
We outline some of the presented projects, including the award winners, below:
The House in the Middle - Dominik György
In this movie, directed by Dominik György and produced by Lívia Filusová's Furia Film, a young, deaf boy named Samuel and his family are preparing for Christmas in 1944 in Slovakia. A nearby German unit uses their house as a refuge, turning them into unwitting bait for the Russians. Sam initially relies on his supposed supernatural abilities. The story delves into local historical events and explores the themes of family, mysticism and war. The House in the Middle is the feature-length debut by György and is inspired by true events. The project is on the verge of pre-production, as the development is currently wrapping up. Principal photography is planned to start in January 2024, with 40 shooting days. The cast for the main roles and the shooting locations have already been decided upon. According to the film’s producer, The House in the Middle is a European co-production between Slovakia and the Czech Republic (via 8Heads Productions), with ongoing negotiations concerning other countries. Filusová noted that they remain open to other countries boarding the project. The first release is planned for spring 2025. Judging by the clip revealed at the event, The House in the Middle is an ambitious period war drama shot in black and white in a 1:1 and 1:2 aspect ratio. Vladimír Smutný, of The Painted Bird [+see also:
interview: Václav Marhoul
film profile], will serve as the DoP.
My World Upside Down - Daniel Rihák
The feature-length debut by Daniel Rihák follows a 12-year-old altar boy, Miško, from a small, conservative village in Slovakia. He wants to be like his older brother, Lukáš, but he is small, naive and in love with his brother's girlfriend, Linda. When a misunderstanding leads the village to believe that he is gay, he tries to demonstrate otherwise. My World Upside Down aims to address the serious topic of tolerance through comedy, showcasing how prejudice works in a conservative community, but also how tolerance can be achieved. Martina Saková, of What If Films, is producing this coming-of-age comedy of errors aimed at teenagers and young adults. Shooting is planned for summer 2024, while the producer is eyeing summer 2025 for the premiere. The Slovak Audiovisual Fund has supported the project, and ITAFilm will handle the domestic theatrical release. The producer is looking for co-production partners, streaming platforms, distributors and a sales agent. The director revealed that they want to approach the LGBTQ topic from the point of view of “the majority society”.
Period Drama - Michaela Mihalyi
This short, animated dramedy is inspired by menstruation and aimed at adults. Using contemporary language and a comical perspective, the film delves into adolescence, gender politics, sexuality, motherhood and more. The washed-out pastel colour palette used throughout the film, inspired by menstrual-product brochures and adverts, acts as a narrative tool. The film's writer-director, Michaela Mihalyi, and producer Jakub Rálek are graduates of FAMU in Prague and have worked on several award-winning animated films, including Sh_t Happens, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019. The movie will predominantly use 2D, hand-drawn, digital animation in addition to stop motion, embroidery, airbrush and 3D animation. Rálek is producing for Czech outfit BFILM.cz and Mihalyi for Slovak company Worst Films. They are looking for co-producers and distribution partners. The project is in development.
The Editorial Office - Roman Bondarchuk (listen to our podcast)
Yura, who works at a local nature museum, witnesses someone committing arson while he is out searching for rare species in the forest. He takes the photos to a local newspaper, which offers him a job. However, Yura soon realises that the reality he experiences is different from that depicted in the newspaper. Director Roman Bondarchuk explores two parallel realities in Ukraine in his absurd comedy The Editorial Office: the “façade” of democracy, and the harsher and more dangerous reality in the shadows. The film is a Slovak minority co-production being staged by Moon Man and South Films, and is co-produced by Elemag Pictures (Germany), MasterFilm (Czech Republic) and Silverart (Slovakia). The film was shot in Kherson and depicts the microcosm of a provincial Ukrainian town during the elections, showing the mechanisms and consequences of post-truth. The movie is close to the final edit, while an epilogue still needs to be shot in Slovakia. The film will be ready by summer/autumn 2023, and the producers are looking for a sales agent, festivals and distribution.
The Singing House - Andrej Kolenčík
A well-known Slovak case of “neighbourhood conflict” is the subject of Andrej Kolenčík’s feature-length fiction film: a woman played the same opera aria from a loudspeaker installed on her house from 6 am until 10 pm every single day for 15 years. The film is a metaphor for society's lack of preparedness for new challenges and the radicalisation of ordinary people in the face of failed systems. Jakub Medvecký, of Victim [+see also:
interview: Michal Blaško
film profile] and By a Sharp Knife [+see also:
film profile] fame, penned the script. The Singing House is being produced by the director (for Admiral Films) and co-produced by i/o post (Czech Republic), Water Color Studio (Poland) and Futurizmus Kft – Stranger Films Budapest (Hungary). The producers are looking for funding, sales agents and distribution. The story will be told from the point of view of the “terrorised” neighbours.
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