East Europe in Documentary Spotlight

16. 11. 2017

Author: Marta Jallageas

IDFA – International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the much-awaited event in the festival calendar, takes place November 15-26, 2017 this year. The large group of attending East European film professionals is headed by the Institute of Documentary Film. IDF representatives will help filmmakers navigate the event and promote their films among international industry professionals.

Czech Delegation
Czech documentary filmmakers have a lot to celebrate at the 30th IDFA. The IDFA competitions include two Czech documentaries: Nothing Like Before that follows four teenagers in a small border town, and The Russian Job about a Swedish manager trying to salvage the iconic Soviet car manufacturer Lada. The prestigious Masters section will present the controversial The White World According to Daliborek, an incisive portrait of a Czech neo-Nazi. At Docs for Sale, these three films will be introduced to film professionals along with an additional four with Czech involvement – Helena Třeštíková’s A Marriage Story produced by Negative in co-production with Czech TV, the Latvian-Czech documentary film D Is for Division by Davis Simanis (producer Guntis Trekteris, co-producer Radim Procházka), Tereza Nvotová’s creative documentary The Lust for Power produced by PubRes (Slovakia) in co-production with HBO Europe and Negativ (Czech Republic), and Batalives by Karolína Zalabáková and Petr Babinec (producer Lukáš Gargulák, Cinebonbon).

IDFA also hosts a pitching session organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). On November 19, the Czech filmmaker Bohdan Bláhovec and producer Anna Herza Tydlitátová will pitch their project Satanic Girls, developed for Czech TV by Petr Kubica's production team.

East Silver Delegation
Two documentary films awarded at this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF will also be screened in Amsterdam. The winner of the Silver Eye Award for Best Feature Documentary, the Austrian film Sand and Blood (dir. Matthias Krepp) will compete in the student section. The other one is the Russian documentary The Wall (dir. Dmitry Bogolubov). Both films are part of the East Silver Market, focused on Central and East European documentary films. Outstanding documentaries can be picked up by festival programmers, distributors or sales agents. This year’s 14th East Silver Market took place October 24-29 at the Ji.hlava IDFF and the video library included 317 latest documentary films in festival and TV format from nearly thirty countries. IDFA will also present several documentary films that were included in the past editions of the East Silver Market:  
Call Me Tony, Klaudiusz Chrostowski | Poland| 2017 | 64 min
City of the Sun, Rati Oneli | Georgia, USA, Qatar, Netherlands | 2017 | 104 min
The Dead Nation, Radu Jude | Romania | 2017 | 83 min
Gwendolyn, Ruth Kaaserer | Austria | 2017 | 85 min
The Ugliest Car, Grzegorz Szczepaniak | Poland | 2017 | 47 min
Untitled, Michael Glawogger, Monika Willi | Germany, Austria | 2017 | 108 min
Volte, Monika Kotecka, Karolina Poryzala | Poland | 2017 | 14 min

Included in the East Silver delegation are also the following documentaries: the Macedonian film Avec l’Amour (dir. Ilija Cvetkovski, Atanas Georgiev), the Ukrainian-German Delta (dir. Oleksandr Techynskyi), the Georgian-Swiss Didube, The Last Stop (dir. Shorena Tevzadze), and the Russian documentary feature You Rock (dir. Evgeny Grigorev).

Ex Oriente Film Delegation
The IDFA Forum takes place November 20-22 and gives filmmakers a unique opportunity to pitch their projects to distributors, international fund, TV and online platform representatives. Ex Oriente Film provides a stipend for its current and past projects, which allows selected participants to have first-hand experience with such a large international market and Central Pitch, and facilitates their preparation for the East Doc Platform pitch in March next year. They can also arrange meetings with international professionals who can learn about their project, a great first step in establishing valuable contacts for a future partnership.

This year’s IDFA Forum is attended by 58 projects from 23 countries, including three projects from Central and Eastern Europe: the long-awaited documentary film Occupation 1968 co-produced by Peter Kerekes, Hypermarket Film, ELF Pictures, Agitprop, Silver Frame; the Lithuanian project in development Killer, Penguin, Tom, Doll Face by Tomas Tamosaitis, and The Labudovic Reels by the Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlić. Turajlić is a regular participant of IDF’s activities, having attended the East Doc Platform, Ex Oriente Film 2016 and the East Silver Market. Her first documentary feature Cinema Komunisto was part of the East Silver Caravan.

Other Attending Projects
Documentary projects in the late production or post-production stage find a great launchpad in the East Doc Platform where each year over 120 filmmakers and producers present their projects to more than 100 key industry players. Looking to succeed at IDFA this year, the past participants of the East Doc Platform include the already mentioned Czech films The Russian Job (dir. Petr Horký) and Nothing Like Before (dir. Lukáš Kokeš, Klára Tasovská), as well as several others: The Ancient Woods (dir. Mindaugas Survila, Lithuania, 2017), In Praise of Nothing (dir. Boris Mitic, Serbia, Croatia, France, 2017) and The Other Side of Everything (dir. Mila Turajlić, Serbia, France, Qatar, 2017). “The East Doc Platform is the largest documentary market for Central and Eastern Europe and it is the flagship event for filmmakers and producers in the region. Our task is to introduce potential co-producers, TV networks, festivals or distributors to new documentary projects in order to make their future life in the industry circuit easier,” says Tereza Šimíková, East Doc Platform Manager. 

The festival line-up includes two films that attended the Ex Oriente Film workshop. The documentary feature competition will screen Over the Limit by the Polish filmmaker Marta Prus. The Polish filmmaker and cinematographer Piotr Rosolowski also completed the Ex Oriente Film workshop and IDFA’s Best of Fests section will present his documentary film The Prince and the Dybbuk co-directed by the German filmmaker Elwira Niewiera. 

The Institute of Documentary Film also works hard to get creative documentaries closer to viewers. KINEDOK is a unique project focused on the alternative distribution of creative documentaries. Screenings take place in seven European countries and in unconventional venues, such as clubs, coffeehouses, parks, disused plants or chapels. The 2016 selection included Toto and His Sisters (2014) by the Romanian filmmaker Alexander Nanau. His film attends this year’s IDFA as part of The Visual Voice section. The Latvian filmmaker Ieva Ozolina presents her latest documentary film Solving My Mother (2017) in the IDFA Competition for First Appearance. Her previous films include the successful My Father the Banker (2015) that first attended the 2015 East Silver Market and was later selected for the 2016 KineDok.

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