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Thessaloniki Documentary Festival's Pitching Forum selection revealed


- Twelve projects originating from Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean Basin have been picked by the festival's co-production and co-financing platform, which is also debuting three new awards

Thessaloniki Documentary Festival's Pitching Forum selection revealed
Director Maša Nešković, who is taking part with Kafka in Belgrade

The industry segment of the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, Agora, running from 8-16 March, has chosen 12 projects from 11 countries across Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean region for the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum. Agora, which is affiliated with DAE (Documentary Association of Europe) and is backed by the Creative Europe – MEDIA programme, serves as a pivotal international gathering and networking platform, providing diverse opportunities for collaboration and co-production within the global film industry.

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The revamped Thessaloniki Pitching Forum serves as a financing and co-production platform specifically tailored for documentaries in the development phase, with a focus on Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean region. This includes countries from the Visegrád Group, the Black Sea region, North Africa and the Mediterranean Middle East. The forum has garnered significant attention, attracting numerous ambitious projects and securing support from esteemed sponsors and partners. Among the recently completed films are Boylesque [+see also:
film review
interview: Bogna Kowalczyk
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by Bogna Kowalczyk, which premiered at Hot Docs in 2022; Karaoke Paradise [+see also:
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interview: Einari Paakkanen
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by Einari Paakkanen, premiered at CPH:DOX in 2022; Il posto – A Steady Job [+see also:
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interview: Gianluca Matarrese and Matt…
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by Mattia Colombo and Gianluca Matarrese, premiered at Visions du Réel in 2022; We Will Not Fade Away [+see also:
film review
film profile
by Alisa Kovalenko, premiered at the Berlinale in 2023; and Mighty Afrin by Angelos Rallis, which premiered at Thessaloniki IDF in 2023 and won the WWF Award.

The current selection for this year emphasises a range of narratives that are often sidelined, shining a spotlight on marginalised voices and making use of a variety of themes and genres. Among the 12 chosen projects are explorations of undocumented historical events, women's movements and environmental concerns, alongside investigations into transgenerational trauma, questions of identity, the pressures of success in sports culture, and the complexities inherent in human relationships.

The Thessaloniki Pitching Forum's international jury consists of producer Mario Adamson (Sisyfos Films, Sweden), Sophie Duncan (Marketplace and Talent Programmes producer at Sheffield DocFest) and sales agent Suzanne Nodale (Cinephil, Israel). The forum offers three new awards: the IEFTA Award for Best Documentary in Development, including a €10,000 cash prize; the Eurodoc Award, with €1,000 and a VIP membership; and the Sunny Side of the Doc Prize, providing two industry passes and €500 towards travel expenses. Long-term partnerships include the Onassis Foundation's €5,000 Onassis Film Award for Greek filmmakers, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation’s (ERT) €2,000 ERT Award for a Greek project and a scholarship from the MFI Script2Film Workshop. Other trophies include the DAE Consultancy Award, Aylon Productions' digital transfer service, Beldocs International Documentary Festival’s Networking Award for networking opportunities, and the DOK Leipzig Award, with two industry passes and accommodation.

The selected projects are as follows:

Dark Blue River - Sergej Kreso (Netherlands)
Producer: Harmen Jalvingh (Doxy Films)

If These Stones Could Talk - Hana Elias (Palestine)
Producer: Asmahan Bkerat

Kafka in Belgrade - Maša Nešković (Serbia) - in collaboration with CIRCLE Doc Women Accelerator
Producers: Maja Medić, Ena Bajraktarević (Marienbad film)

Lake - Nikos Ziogas (Greece)
Producers: Konstantina Stavrianou, Rena Vougioukalou (Graal Films), Antigoni Papantoni (rawDOCS)

Mountain Cries - Lavinia Xausa (Netherlands)
Producer: Sam Godfried (Yalla Docs)

Operation "Champion" - Mariam Nikolaishvili (Georgia)
Producer: Irina Gelashvili (Radium Films)

The Secret Hand - Valerio Valente (Italy/Germany/Bulgaria/Poland)
Producer: Paolo Maria Spina (Revolver)
Co-producers: Enrico Cannizzo (Filmine), Boris Despodov (Arthouse Blockbusters), Wojciech Karubin (Movie Mates)

Survivors - Nina-Maria Paschalidou, Maria Louka (Greece)
Producers: Mina Dreki, Iro Aidoni (Marni Films)

While Our Sun Burns - David Krøyer (Denmark/Greece)
Producer: Anna Marina Skouros (Onomamono)
Co-producer: Rea Apostolides (Anemon Productions)

Why the F** Am I So Sad?* - Nela Märki (Italy)
Producer: Martin Rattini (Helios Sustainable Films)

Women of 1922 (working title) - Aris Kaplanidis, Elias Roumeliotis (Greece/Cyprus)
Producer: Ioanna Soultani (Soul Productions)
Co-producer: Tonia Mishiali (Bark Like A Cat)

Women Walk Home - Stephanie Andreou (Cyprus)
Producer: Adrián Gutiérrez (Astarte Films)

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