East Doc Forum 2024 selected projects revealed

15. 1. 2024

Author: Barbora Hrubá

The East Doc Forum is the largest and most prestigious pitching forum in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the past 20 years, the Forum has hosted more than 800 filmmakers and producers from Central and Eastern Europe and over 300 commissioning editors, independent producers, distributors, film fund representatives and festival programmers from Europe and North America.

The Forum is also a big finale of the Ex Oriente Film documentary laboratory. The pitching presentations of 25 projects will take place during the East Doc Platform 2024 on March 27.

List of selected projects

Queens of Joy (dir. Olga Gibelinda, prod. Ivana Khitsinska, UA, FR)
For the three drag queens, the struggle for equal rights and freedom of expression has lasted all their lives. But with the beginning of the war, they are facing new challenges. At the risk of their lives, they decided to stay in Ukraine to protect and change a society that had discriminated against them until now. Through service in the army, activism, and volunteering, our protagonists are trying to find beauty in the horrors of the war and are busy preparing a big charity drag show.

Under His Spell (dir. Lukasz Konopa, prod. Daria Maslona, PL)
A surreal journey into the life of Dr Kashpirovsky. A man who at the end of the 80s’ became famous for his remarkable achievements, such as sedating three women through the sheer power of persuasion so they could undergo major surgeries live on television. He also convinced Shamil Basayev, the Chechen terrorist behind the Beslan attack, to release 1,500 hostages. But Kashpirovsky’s current day-to-day life is only a shadow of his past. He, who claims to have cured millions, is now grappling with his health and mortality, but he still plans to revive his stage career with a grand show in the capital of Kazakhstan.

Kaprálová (dir. Petr Záruba, prod. Alice Tabery, CZ, FR)
Vítězslava Kaprálová, a talented Czech composer, left her country in 1937 to study at Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. Despite her premature death a few years later, at the age of 25, Kaprálová's legacy includes numerous scores and compositions. Through her letters, we gain insight into her dynamic personality, from her initial excitement in the bustling city to moments of loneliness, anxiety, gender inequality, and homesickness amplified by historical events.

VOICE/OVER (dir. Bálint Révész, prod. Radovan Síbrt, Viki Réka Kiss, CZ)
VOICE/OVER is a political satire, a playful ride into the inventive and uncanny realm of political manipulation and populism with the help of one politician. With the use of ultra-realistic AI animations, the film explores the way populist leaders engage with the public and show a mirror of the techniques widely abused. This playful distortion of language and image challenges the perception of what reality is, a very timely question of our era.

Practices in Harmony (dir. Anna Kis, prod. Judit Sós, Lili Horvát, HU)
The two young protagonists are outstandingly talented musicians and friends. Domi is an elegant, sophisticated, self-confident violoncellist, while Beni is a pianist and a reckless insecure teenager. Although they are very different, they stubbornly stick together. This is a coming-of-age story of two boys who, besides their excellence in elite classical music, are also ordinary teenagers simply killing time with friends, playing computer games and enjoying jokes.

The Gods Must Be Mistaken WT (dir. Jakob Krese, prod. Annika Mayer, Marina Gumzi, SI, DE, HR) to be confirmed
The film offers an insight into the personal thoughts of a family over half a century of European history, characterised by upheavals, hopes, destruction and new beginnings. It is the story of a family who could never allow themselves to separate the political from their personal lives. The grandmother fought as a partisan in Yugoslavia against fascism and for the revolution. The mother rebelled against this revolution and saw her country go up in flames in a new war. I, her son, am making a film about their stories through a dialogue about gods that do not exist, the end that is not an end, the need to never give up and the price that has to be paid for it.

Escaping Auschwitz (dir. Denis Dobrovoda, prod. Silvia Panakova, CZ, SK)
Escaping Auschwitz tells the story of Alfred Wetzler, a Slovak Jewish hero who warned the world about the Nazi extermination machine, and yet was persecuted and erased from history by his government after the war. He was a valuable witness during the Auschwitz Prozess because he was one of the authors of the Auschwitz Protocol, which broke the story of the Holocaust. After the war, he was proclaimed an enemy of the state and repeatedly faced persecution.

Big in Gazi Baba (dir. Pauline Isabelle Monique Blanchet, prod. Avdi Thachi, Romir Jakupi, MK, UK)
Sadije is a 13-year-old Albanian wrestler defying conventions in North Macedonia's complex societal landscape. As the only girl in a male-dominated wrestling club, she embodies resilience in her neighbourhood community. Against the backdrop of the nation's history, marked by a little-known civil war in 2001, Sadije's story unfolds.

These projects will be pitching alongside 17 Ex Oriente Film projects. 

Feature-length documentaries
Acting Classes (dir. Sasha Shegai, KZ)

Armenia Phantom (dir. Tamara Stepanyan, FR, AM)
Becoming Roosi (dir. Margit Lillak, EE, DE)
Do Magic (dir. Vera Lacková, AT, SK)
Letters (dir. Andrei Kutsila, PL, BY)
Lights (dir. Mila Teshaieva, DE, UA)
Man Under the Ice (dir. Eva Tomanová, CZ)
The Poor Cry Too (dir. Viktorija Mickute, Ieva Balsiunaite, LT, MX)
What About Little Peter? (dir. Martin Trabalík, CZ)
Birdie (dir. Aneta Ptak, PL)
Keepers of the Ruins (dir. Mariia Shevchenko, UA, PL)

Recreate (dir. Timo Novotny, CZ, AT)
She Is Not in the Business of Making Friends (dir. Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, RO)
Tito. The West's Favorite Dictator (dir. Bence Máté, DE, AT, HR, IT)
UNHERO or a Falling Star (dir. Georgi Tenev, BG)
The Murderers of Anna Labancz (dir. Balázs Dudás, HU)

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