The largest documentary event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe (EDP), organized by Institute of Documentary Film in association with the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, brought more than 400 documentary film industry professionals to Prague from March 2 - March 8, 2015. They came here to network and consult, develop and offer their emerging documentary projects and films to the international festival programmers, commissioning editors, buyers, distributors, sales agents, film fund and organization representatives. Apart from that East Doc Platform offered a rich Open Programme consisting of lectures, screenings, case studies and masterclasses, led by renowned professionals. This year, some of them were for example Gordon Quinn, Adam Sigel, Nuno Bernardo, Victoria Mapplebeck, Domenico La Porta, Helge Albers, William Uricchio, Liz Rosenthal, Robert Kirchhoff, Gitte Hansen, Ben Kempas, Sara Bozanić, Kilian Krug or Dionne Walker. The interest of wider public again confirmed that East Doc Platform has a lot to offer not only to the filmmakers, but to everyone interested in documentary film.
The holder of East Doc Platform Award and HBO Europe Coproduction Award is the upcoming Hungarian documentary Afterglow
The novelty of East Doc Platform 2015 was the EDP Development Award (7500 € financial support) granted by Institute of Documentary Film to the best project in development of all the participating Central and Eastern European documentaries.
The Award was given to the upcoming Hungarian documentary Afterglow (dir. Noemi Veronika Szakonyi, prod. Julianna Ugrin). The director tells a moving story of her brother, who was abducted by his father in 1985 from Budapest and the author of the film managed to find him after six years of searching in Brussels, to find out that he had become a leading figure of one of the most influential anti-terrorist SWAT teams in the world. The film depicts the lives of the directors mother and brother during the last years of communism in Hungary as well as in the present days, when they all have to face the truth about the past events.
“We had a lively discussion and felt that many of the films deserved this generous support. In the end we, after an initial deadlock, we chose a film that we felt had the potential to cross borders and work on many levels. A family drama, a historical thriller and a personal quest for the truth. We'd especially like to mention the trailer. It worked well as a tease and gave a great sense of the director's ambition with real visual flair. I hope that this funding will enable the project to take the next steps towards their ambitious goal and look forward to seeing the results,” said one of the jury members, Jo Lapping, to explain their decision.
HBO Europe’s representative Hanka Kastelicová (Executive Producer of Documentaries) also appraised the exceptional qualities of Afterglow as she handed in the HBO Europe Coproduction Award to its makers. The Award was competed for by filmmakers from Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo*.
Project KineDok and the Czech TV Coproduction Award
Within East Doc Platform, a new and unique international project, KineDok, organizing screenings of creative documentaries and debates with the filmmakers at alternative venues in 5 countries, was introduced. The official launch took place on Friday, March 6 at La Fabrika in front of the full hall of this former factory. Apart from the introduction of KineDok and the opening screening of Sugar Blues by Andrea Culková, the announcement of the Czech TV Postproduction Award for one of the East Doc Platform projects was part of the evening.
The jury of Czech TV, who is the General Media Partner of Institute of Documentary Film and also the media partner of KineDok, Markéta Štinglová, Petr Morávek and Věra Krincvajová eventually picked up the project People from Nowhere (dir. Jaak Kilmi, prod. Antra Gaile).
"The film deals with an extremely attractive and still a very up-to date topic, about a girl who discovers she is the daughter of a double agent, who had been working for both KGB and CIA during the cold war. The unique theme offers the unveiling of hidden facts and important connections, depicting life on both sides of the barricades before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Based on our knowledge of the previous works of this director, we can also assume an extremely attractive treatment,“ says Markéta Štinglová and adds: "The Postproduction Award can be given to one project only, but we decided to announce three projects that appealed to us the most. They will be the substitutes should the winning project, for any reason, not be able to fulfill the conditions for keeping the prize."
The second place belongs to the project Olga Go Home!, or, Siberian Love, in which the director Olga Delane, who now lives in Germany, goes to visit the small Eastern Siberian village, where she comes from. In her film she compares the experience of living in two different worlds - the principles, customs and values that are so different, but inspiring at the same time.
The third most interesting project according to the Czech TV jurors was the Polish film At the Bottom of the Sea. Its director Marcin Sauter tells the story of the disappearing Aral Sea, a story that almost metaphorically reflects the stories of the local people in Soviet and post-Soviet era.
The Golden Funnel and the International Festival Industry Awards
The traditional Golden Funnel Award (in the amount of 1000 €for further development and promotion) was granted after the public pitching to the project that took part in the year-long Ex Oriente Film workshop and underwent the most significant development. The head tutors of Ex Oriente Film workshop Marijke Rawie, Mikael Opstrup and Filip Remunda decided to grant this award to the upcoming Estonian documentary called Working on title (dir. Aleksandr Heifets, prod. Eero Talvistu), depicting the friendship of the young democratically minded Estonian Kaspar and his experienced boxing trainer, yet at the same a staunch admirer of Putin, the 70 years old Fyodorych.
Yorinde Segal, the representative of the prestigious documentary festival IDFA decided to award the new project of the Bulgarian documentarits Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva, The Beast is Still Alive. Both directors, who are also both producing the film, will thus attend the key market IDFA Forum and other industry activities ad IDFA 2015 as a part of the IDFA Forum Award.
The Docs Barcelona Award, which enables the chosen filmmakers to introduce their project at the pitching forum in Barcelona in May, was given to the project called The Good, The Bad and The Living (dir. Ksenia Okhapkina, prod. Riho Västrik; Estonia, Germany).
The DOK Leipzig Co-Production Meeting Award, whose holder can present his or her emerging project at the Co-production meeting in Leipzig in October, was also given to the previously awarded project Working on Title.
Within East Doc Platform, the sixth edition of Project Market – two days of prearranged one-to-one meetings of the filmmakers with the commisioning editors, distributors, sales representatives, funders and festival programmers, took place. The total number of 392 meetings arranged for 25 projects resulted in many promising cooperations, co-productions and distributional support offers.
STEP INTO IT - creative documentaries deserve to be supported!
The symbol of the 2015 East Doc Platform was a shoe as the loyal keeper and narrator of everyone’s personal stories and the motto was “Step into it!”, encouraging the decision makers to support the filmmakers and cooperate with them more and the filmmakers themselves to be courageous and create thought-provoking art.
Institute of Documentary Film has been supporting documentary films in the CEE region for more than 14 years. During its existence, over 180 documentary films have been developed, produced and successfully completed within IDF activities. In addition, almost 1000 completed documentary films have been distributed internationally thanks to its distributional support. The films supported by IDF are regularly being awarded at key international festivals. To learn more about IDF’s activities and documentary novelties, follow dokweb.net.