email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

THESSALONIKI DOCUMENTARY 2024 Agora

REPORT: Agora Docs in Progress @ Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2024

by 

- We take a closer look at three projects close to completion that have been presented at the 26th edition of the Greek documentary gathering

REPORT: Agora Docs in Progress @ Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2024
Dream Collector by Sonja Djekic

On 12 March, the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival (7-17 March) hosted 12 new feature-length documentary projects close to completion as part of its Docs in Progress showcase. The creative teams presented their latest works to buyers, festival programmers, co-producers, financiers, distributors and sales agents.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)
my-sextortion-diary_Seattle_ringo

Here, we take a closer look at three promising projects presented at the 26th edition of the Greek gathering.

Dream CollectorSonja Djekic (Serbia/Croatia)
Djekic, who is producing this creative documentary for KEVA together with Tamara Babun and Matija Drnikovic, of Wolfgang & Dolly, zooms in on Vladan Radovanović, a famous Yugoslavian avant-garde artist in his late eighties who, since 1953, has tirelessly been trying to complete his “magnum opus”.

“Dreams have always been a significant part of my life,” Djekic said on stage, “and I was wondering [whether] it would be possible to make a documentary based on actual dream notations. So I started looking for them, and soon after that, I was surprised to stumble upon the amazing collection by Radovanović, who lives just a couple of kilometres away from me.”

Since he was two or three years old, the artist has been taking notes about his dreams, clouding his mind with a sense of unworthiness, dissatisfaction and a lack of deeper purpose. His commitment to completing the masterpiece of a lifetime inspires him, and he accompanies the viewer on a journey teetering between reality and the oneiric dimension. The feature’s key partners include Film Center Serbia, Radio Television Serbia and the Serbian Ministry of Culture.

Mailin by Maria Silvia Esteve

MailinMaria Silvia Esteve (Argentina/France/Romania)
Produced by the director herself for HANA Films together with Alejandra Lopez, of IKKI Films, and Radu Stancu and Cristina Hanes, of deFilm, Mailin is a hybrid documentary based on the story of the titular woman who was sexually abused by the priest at her school for 15 years. Today, Mailin is a 36-year-old single mother and is raising her daughter Ona, who struggles to understand her own mum.

“She continues to search for a justice that has been repeatedly denied to her and the 35 other women who were abused by the same man. The film begins with Mailin telling her bedtime story, which feels like a metaphor for her childhood,” said Esteve.

“The first time I saw her was on a news report airing on TV. She was in tears as they asked her for details of her abuse, and I remember my father saying: ‘What a pity; she’s such a beautiful girl. What a waste.’ So that day, I looked for Mailin on Facebook and asked her to have a coffee with me. I met her knowing I didn’t want to make a film about a victim, or about abuse, but I wanted to tell the story of a woman who keeps fighting every day out of love for her daughter, and who struggles to recover the memories of her childhood, which the trauma erased completely. […] Sadly, Mailin’s story is that of many of us women. Herein lies the urge and the necessity to tell these stories, and to [tell them] in a different way.”

Shot over the course of seven years, the first cut of the film is now ready. Delivery is expected in November this year. Some of the project’s partners include the IDFA Bertha Fund, the InMaat Foundation and WomenMakeMovies.

The First Lady by Sagi Bornstein and Udi Nir

The First LadySagi Bornstein, Udi Nir (Israel/Germany)
Produced by the two helmers themselves for udiVisagi production, along with Georg Tschurtschenthaler, of Germany’s Beetz Brothers Production, and shot in Israel, Germany, France, Belgium and Thailand, the feature centres on Israeli trans pioneer Efrat Tilma, who must fight for her rights while the country slips into political and social regression.

Now grappling with loneliness and old age, Efrat is a “larger than life” character who has a remarkable story to tell. “She’s a brave woman who has paved the way for the LGBT community in Israel and who personally inspired us in the past three years,” the directorial duo explained. “In her 75 years, Efrat has lived through a wealth of experiences that could easily fill the lives of several different individuals. She was persecuted by the police when she was just a teenager in Tel Aviv in the 1960s, simply for wearing a dress in the streets. She fled the country to Europe when she was less than 18 and became a lip-sync performer in cabaret bars, way before it became a global trend. She was a British Airways flight attendant and, as far as we know, the first transgender one in the world – we’re talking about the early 1980s.

“She was the wife of a German businessman and lived in Berlin for over 20 years, hiding her full identity from the world as an ordinary woman. She finally returned to Israel in the early 2000s and became the first transgender police woman in the country she once had to flee owing to political persecution.

“As we started filming, an extremist, transphobic government was elected, and so, alongside her past, we’re filming her current personal and public struggles, while Israel is going through unprecedented turmoil – starting with the elections in 2022 until the inevitable, horrific war that followed,” they added, calling for an immediate ceasefire on stage. “It’s also a wider story about the consequences that marginalised communities must face when repressive, populist and violent forces come to power.”

Attached broadcasters are ARTE, NDR and KAN. 85% of the project is already funded, with completion expected by the end of 2024.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

See also

Privacy Policy