Organized by the Institute of Documentary Film, the EAST DOC PLATFORM – the largest event for documentary filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe – took place for the seventh time. From March 3 to 9, Prague hosted 350 film professionals from around the world. This unique event allows filmmakers to pitch their documentary projects in early stages to renowned experts, get valuable experience and establish important contacts and partnerships for a future career. Nearly fifty documentary projects were presented to several juries and competed for one of several awards and cash prizes in the amount of EUR 35,000.
For the first time this year, the EDP in partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute introduced a new competition for short documentary projects, the first of its kind in Central Europe. The best short project award went to Blackandwhite (dir. Eluned Zoe Aiano, Anna Benner; prod. Linda Dedkova and Martin Hůlovec). Against the backdrop of Czech-German relations, this documentary uses a local urban legend about a WWII nurse to challenge our perception of heroism, revenge and the role of women during the war. The project won USD 20,000 to complete the film and the IF/Then support for multi-platform distribution.
The week-long event culminated in the East Doc Forum, a pitching competition for projects in development and early production. An international jury saw projects on a wide array of subjects – history, science, love, war conflicts and creative animal stories. The best project award was presented to the Estonian-Polish The Last Relic by director Marianna Kaat. The jury commented on the winner: “For a strong trailer and a well-written treatment, for a clear point of departure and thereafter different alleys to be pursued, and for telling of a young person searching for a future in their past, and for role models, we award the East Doc Forum Award to
Marianna Kaat and her project THE LAST RELIC." The award comes with a cash prize of EUR 7,500 for project development.
The Polish-German Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis – 21st Century Genocide by the award-winning director Hanna Polak (producer Simone Baumann) proved successful with two broadcasters handing out awards. Capturing their strength and determination not to be mere victims, the documentary tells the story of three sisters as they are trying to free their other sisters from ISIS captivity. The Czech TV Co-production Award that comes with CZK 150,000 and the HBO Europe Award worth EUR 2,000 will go toward project development.
This year, a jury made up of Current Time TV representatives decided to recognize the best director and their work. Due to the high quality of projects, they picked two outstanding filmmakers. The Russian filmmaker Ksenia Gapchenko received the award for her Holy Culture!, a film capturing the peculiar atmosphere of village community centers that are the venue for self-defense, twerking or singing classes. The Belarusian filmmaker Liuba Ziamtsova was awarded for her notable film The Place of Love that celebrates the remarkable esprit of patients living in a center for people with mental disabilities. This film is also the first Belarusian film at the EDP. Each director received a cash prize of EUR 1,500.
The East Doc Platform also hosts the final leg of the year-long Ex Oriente Film workshop for directors and producers. The Golden Funnel Award is designed for a director-producer team whose project makes the greatest progress over the course of the workshop. The jury gave the award to the irreverent Amoosed! by director Hana Nováková and producer Kateřina Traburová who received EUR 1,000 for the development and international promotion of their project, a moose odyssey across Europe.
The East Doc Platform welcomed representatives of major European festivals we have partnered with, who selected several projects to attend their home events. Participation at the prestigious IDFA Forum goes to Journey to the End of the Night (d. Ksenia Elyan, p. Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Alexander Rastorguev); Speed Meetings at DocsBarcelona will include Wishing on a Star by the Slovak filmmaker Peter Kerekes (p. Erica Barbiani, Ralph Weiser, Peter Kerekes, Petra Oplatková), and an invitation to DOK Leipzig was granted to the projects Lessons of Love (d. Malgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja, p. Anna Stylinska) and Hacking Friendship (d. Oleksiy Radynski, p. Lyuba Knorozok). A Sheffield Doc/Fest representative picked Francesco Montagner’s In the Name of Allah (p. Pavla Janoušková Kubečková) as the best Czech project.
The East Doc Platform is organized by the Institute of Documentary Film in partnership with the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.