East Silver Market 2024 projects revealed

20. 2. 2024

Author: Barbora Hrubá

This year's East Silver Market will take place on March 26 at the East Doc Platform. This unique film market for finished films and rough cuts consists of pre-scheduled in-person meetings of carefully selected creators and decision-makers. 
The market aims to support the distribution and promotion of projects in post-production, rough cuts and finished films from Central and Eastern Europe. 

This year’s participating projects are:

Blank Page Syndrome (dir. Janis Abele, Toms Skele, LV, 2024, 8’)
The essay documentary visually explores the journey of printing a book in a factory where thousands of books are printed every hour, millions of pages every minute. It is juxtaposed with the inner struggles of a writer’s thoughts who is searching for the first sentence to put on the blank page in front of her.

Dakar Sistaz (dir. Jan Tesitel, CZ, 2023, 3x15’)
Twins Aliyyah and Yasmeen Koloc are race car drivers. Serving as an inspiration for young girls worldwide, the duo trains hard because they intend to participate in one of the toughest races, the Dakar Rally. Yasmeen gets into an accident during an important endurance race in Belgium and injures her hand. She needs to take a break from racing. She is quickly realizing that Aliyyah is becoming a much brighter start than she ever was. 

Do painters die elsewhere? (dir. Michał Pietrak, PL, 2024, 72’)
The film follows the story of an artist, living in a self-built house, enclosed inside his opus. The secret of his art is his ability to transform suffering into beauty, which turns his life into a creative process. On the other hand, he is a local alien, He rides a bike, proposes acts to married women, and occasionally sleeps in the chapel. His house parties are visited by actors, painters, opera and cabaret singers. Still, he couldn't help the feeling of loneliness. When his girlfriend Eva suffers from cancer, Bolko combats the death of his love by recording an audio diary for her, so she can „laugh when it’s all over”, rather than keep her voice with him. When she dies Bolko keeps recording.

Fakir (dir. Roman Ďuriš, CZ, SK, PL, 2024, 83’)
The psychological journey of Dalibor, a young Romani man from a dysfunctional family set against the backdrop of a Slovak slum. With a stolen childhood, Dalibor yearns for a father figure in a world that brings a constant struggle for one‘s place. „Fakir“ vividly explores the raw pain that arises from abuse and trauma.

Flowers of Ukraine (dir. Adelina Borets, PL, UA, 2024, 70’)
Set in the middle of the cement jungle of Kyiv - usually referred to as "sleeping quarters" - where we find 67-year-old Natalia, a rebel of the neighbourhood, the last one refusing to sell her land. On February 24, 2022, Natalia's fight for her tiny plot of land only gains momentum and quickly expands way beyond its borders. Everyone is changing even Natalia. Yet, she prepares for her death, dancing in her funeral dress in the garden among flowers. She will die here and no one can take it away.

Forest (dir. Lidia Duda, CZ, PL, 2024, 84’)
Asia and Marek bought an old house near the eastern border of Poland, in the oldest forest in Europe. This is their paradise – a place where their children can grow up safely, away from the problems of today’s world. Yet, one day refugees appear in their forest. Unwelcome neither in Poland nor in Belarus. The whole family helps refugees, even though it’s against Polish law. 

The Guest (dir. Zvika Gregory Portnoy, Zuzanna Solakiewicz, PL, FR, QA, 2024, 84’)
Maciek lives in a Polish village close to Belarus. In the winter of 2021, the crisis at the border is intensifying and the whole area becomes a military zone. One day Maciek’s mother lets a Syrian refugee, Alhaytham into their home. Day by day the men grow closer, while every day of hiding puts them in danger Maciek could be accused of human trafficking and Alhaytham would be pushed back to Belarus again, which could cost him his life.

Child of Dust (dir. Weronika Mliczewska, PL, VN, SE, 2024, 90’)
One day Sang, a child from the Vietnam War, finds his biological father in the USA. Now Sang's only mission is to meet his dad. He needs to undergo the US program that will grant him a visa, the only rule is that: he needs to leave his daughter behind because she is over 21 years old. Sang's daughter runs away from home, sinks into heroin addiction and abandons her son, leaving him to Sang and his wife. As they cannot leave the grandson alone and leave for America, Sang needs to find his daughter and finally reconcile with her. Sang's reunion with his father is a clash of two worlds that, despite the passage of fifty years since the withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam, are still marked by the stigma of war. Will this journey trigger a new start for both families?

When Harmattan Blows (dir. Edyta Wroblewska, PL, 2024, 80’)
Barbara is 25 years old and lives in Accra, she is charismatic, straightforward and self-confident. However, when Harmattan blows, that suffocating wind from the Sahara makes her courage disappear. Along with the wind, unwanted memories return. As an eight-year-old girl, Barbara shared the fate of thousands of Ghanaian children who were put to slave labour by their parents. For many years she lived in a world full of abuse, violence and fear. With the help of her eldest brother and a good friend, Barbara is gradually overcoming the demons of the past and confronts her parents.

Object 817 (dir. Olga Lucovnicova, BE, 2024, 21’)
Inhabitants of an isolated village in the Urals talk about the USSR’s first nuclear accident. It happened there in 1957 but was concealed because a nearby nuclear plant was producing atomic weapons. So the villagers, living on radioactive land, became prisoners of government secrets. The collective silence created many fantasies, such as a mutated human foetus that became a legend about an alien, to which locals erected a monument. The film transcends one obscure historical moment, becoming a post-apocalyptic parable that allows us to reflect on the harsh realities of our present.

On My Own Terms (dir. Tadeusz Chudy, PL, 2025, 72’)
Paweł (18) and Julka (16) are half-siblings who both live in an orphanage. They are also best friends although they are each other’s opposites. Paweł is a boxer, fiercely fighting in the ring. However, once the fight is over, he proves to be gentle, fragile and vulnerable. Julia on the other hand is fiercely fighting for her independence. She is an incurable optimist, vibrant and lively, curious about the world. Unexpectedly Julka inherits an apartment from her deceased father. However, to become a legal owner of the apartment Julka needs to meet two conditions. First of all, she needs to turn 18. Secondly, which is less obvious, she must pay off her father’s debt. Julka offers to her brother that someday they could live there together. They soon start to share a dream of having their very own home and beginning life on their terms. Upon entering adulthood Paweł and Julia must confront various challenges and handle fundamental dilemmas this time independently.

The Other One (dir. Marie-Magdalena Kochová, CZ, SK, 2024, 84’)
A coming-of-age documentary about responsibility, sisterhood and loving not only others but also yourself.​ Eighteen-year-old Johana is entering a critical year of her teenage life. She wants to leave her small Czech hometown, but there’s more than high school graduation that stands between her and her aspirations. Johana’s life is largely defined by her younger sister’s atypical autism and mental disability, which shape the everyday life of the whole family.

Putin’s Playground (dir. Konrad Szolajski, CZ, PL, DE, NO, LV, BG, 2024, 92’)
A pair of Polish filmmakers travel around Central and Eastern Europe and explore cases of hybrid warfare in this region. They show their investigation and the evidence they managed to produce in Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Moldova and Latvia. They discover that behind-the-scenes activities of Moscow special agents have been carried out regularly since at least 2013.

Revolution 3.0 (dir. Reza Bird, CZ, USA, 2024, 78’)
A filmmaker in exile, Reza supports the Iranian revolution from thousands of miles away in this intimate personal story. This is the journey of a new generation of immigrants who use media and technology to bridge the gap between the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Zero Zone (dir. Mark Hammond, LT, 2024, 92’)
Zero Zone takes us to the Eastern front of the war in Ukraine, where in late 2022, the Ukrainian army bravely liberated villages and cities from Russian occupation. Here, the film delves into the deep wounds left by the Russian occupation in the lives of the Ukrainian people.

The East Silver Market also includes five guest projects selected in collaboration with partner festival One World. These projects will be a part of this year's festival. 

Of Caravan and the Dogs (dir. Askold Kurov et al., RU, 2024, 95´, 52´)

Putin had been preparing his country for the big war long before it started. Since 2012, a series of repressive laws were passed, labelling everyone who publicly disagreed with the official narrative as a „foreign agent“. In these circumstances, a group of independent Russian media and activists are trying to resist and continue their work. Right after the invasion, their work becomes virtually impossible. Shot during one decisive year, before and after the invasion, the film portrays the last defenders of democracy in Russia and gives a glimpse of hope for another future.

The Prison of History (dir. Matěj Hrudička,  Jan Gogola jr., CZ, 2023, 92´)
The former prison in Uherské Hradiště was used by the Gestapo during the Protectorate. After the war, it was a place of people's courts and public executions, and where people inconvenient to the regime were imprisoned and tortured. The prison ceased to function in 1960, but painful memories remain engraved on its walls. Jan Gogola and Matěj Hrudička decided to immortalise the memory of one of the darkest places in Czech history just before the planned reconstruction of the building. They approached members of different generations, some of whom had direct experience with the prison.

A Shaman's Tale (dir. Beata Bashkirova,  Mikhail Bashkirov, FR, US, CZ, 2024, 74´)
In 2019 Alexander Gabyshev, a shaman from Yakutia, sets out to cross Russia on foot to exorcise a demon: Vladimir Putin. Joined on his journey by people who believe in his cause, and pursued by the Russian security services, Alexander becomes the spokesman for the silent and remote Russian provinces. While the beginning of Gabyshev's march promises to be a happy crusade between friends, the shaman is soon confronted by forces beyond his control.

What's to be done? (dir. Goran Devic, HR, 2023, 79´)
Željko is the head of the Union at a rolling stock company. His deputy committed suicide after the large public protest. Željko is torn between the guilt he feels because of his friend’s death and the expectation of his fellow workers to lead a strike that should thwart the government’s plans to send the company to bankruptcy.

Who, If Not Us? Fighting for Democracy in Belarus (dir. Juliane Tutein, DE, 2023, 77´)
The documentary provides a unique glimpse into the struggle for democracy in Belarus and the lives of three women after the major protests of 2020. These protests were the largest in Belarus's history, but the Lukaschenko regime brutally suppressed them. Over an entire year, the film follows these exceptional women from different generations, all of whom continue to tirelessly fight for a democratic Belarus.

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