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Karlovy Vary Works In Progress includes new projects from Silent Souls producer, Foxes director

One project will win €10,000 package sponsored by Barrandov Studios.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s popular Works In Progress session was held this afternoon, with promising projects pitched by the likes of Foxes director Mira Fornay presenting her immersive skinhead story My Dog Killer, which she researched for two years; Slovak Republic production company JMB presenting compelling footage of Mariana Cengel Solcanska’s mother-daughter drama Love Me Or Leave Me; Ivan Vojnár’s fourth feature, the dramatic thriller An Unlikely Romance; a new film drawing on WWII’s dark history from Poland’s Wladyslaw Pasikowski; and Georgia’s Zaza Rusadze presenting his debut A Fold In My Blanket on 35mm.

Among the films in production/post-production from Central and Eastern Europe were two stylish new works from Greece seeming to build on the Greek New Wave – Elina Psykou’s first feature The Eternal Return of Antonios P, about a TV journalist who fakes his disappearance and goes to a luxury hotel out of season; and long-time editor Yannis Sakaridis’s debut feature Wild Duck telling a political story and financed completely independently.

Also, Silent Souls producer Mary Nazari closed the session with intense footage from Winter Path, the debut of Sergey Taramaev and Luyba Lvova about the relationship between two young musicians who come from different backgrounds.

This year a prize for the top pitch, with €10,000 in services from Barrandov Studios, will be presented for the first time. The jury for that is comprised of Ivo Andrie from Czech distributor Aerofilms, Amy Dotson from IFP in the US, and Silje Nikoline Glimsdal from TrustNordisk.

Industry attendees — festival programmers, co-producers and sales companies — praised the overall quality of pitches projects this year.

The projects pitched today were:

A New Year (Romania), dir Paul Negoescu, prod Ada Solomon
This drama (in post) is the debut feature from Negoescu, who has had shorts in Cannes Critics Week and the Berlinale. The story is about a man who hopes to dump his current girlfriend on New Year’s Eve and reunite with his ex. The director says it reflects “a very confused generation that doesn’t know how to deal with love and relationships.”

The Will To Live (Chce sie zyc) (Poland), dir Maciej Pieprzyca, prod Wieslaw Lysakowski
Shooting since last week, this story based on true events is about a man born with brain damage who is discovered late in life to be intellectually intelligent. It wil be readied for a release in spring 2013, according to TVP’s Aleksandra Biernacka. It marks the director’s second feature, after festival traveller Splinters.

A Fold In My Blanket (Chemi Sabnis Naketsi) (Georgia-Russia), dir and prod Zaza Rusadze
“It’s a love story of sorts, and also deals with the subject of homosexuality,” says Rusadze of his debut feature, about a young man who works in a courthouse and breaks up the monotony of his world with a fantasy world where he meets a man then accused of murder. “It’s also quite a visual film” – indeed the production designer of Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre is on board. The director noted that this film, now in post, could be one of the last Georgian films to be shot on 35mm. The film should be picture locked by the end of July with an eye to showing at the Berlinale 2013. Backers include the Global Film Institure and Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund.

Graduation Year (Latvia), dir. Andris Gauja, prod Guna Stahovska
The story follows a young teacher who has a strong bond with her students, until jealousies arise when she becomes romantically involved with one of them. Gauja says: “We think there is a real paradox in the relationships between teachers and students. You can’t teach them if there is no emotional connection but you also can’t teach them if there is too much attachment.” The director notes he uses a “documentary style approach working with real students and also professional actors.” Gauja’s documentary Family Instinct won at Silverdocs 2011.

Halima’s Path (Halimin put) (Croatia-Slovenia-Bosnia), dir Arsen Anton Ostojic, prod Arsen Anton Ostojic and Slobodan Trninic
Inspired by a true story, the director’s third feature is about a Muslim woman who has to track down her mysterious niece before she can identify the remains of her adopted son killed in the war.

The Eternal Return of Antonis P (I Aionia Epistrofi Tou Antoni Paraskeua) (Greece), dir Elina Psykou, prod Giorgos Karnavas
Psykou unveiled some striking footage from her debut feature, including a few laughs for a scene of a Greek contribution to the Eurovision voting combined with a more gristly bodily harm scene. Producer Karnavas has credits including Wasted Youth and KVIFF 2012 selection Boy Eating The Bird’s Food. The film is in the final stages of post.

Love Me Or Leave Me (Miluj ma alebo Odíd) (Slovakia), dir Mariana Čengel Solčanská, prod Milan Stráňava
A rebellious teenager joins her mother and her mothers’ friends on a weekend getaway, with disastrous results. The drama is in post now for release in November 2012 in Slovakia and the producer noted that the film would also be a likely seller for Czech and Hungarian distributors. The clips showed a very assured melodrama that the team is pushing for primarily female audiences. The cast features Eva Bandor, Marko Igonda and Diana Pavlackova.

Mom, I Love You (Latvia), dir Janis Nords, prod Alise Gelze
About a misunderstood adolescent with a rocky relationship with his mother. The producer’s credits include the award-winning Vogelfrei. A rought cut will be readied by September.

My Dog Killer (Můj pes Killer) (Czech-Slovak), dir Mira Fornay, prod Viktor Schwarcz
A racist young man living on the Slovak-Moravian border sees his life shaken up when he finds out he has a gypsy half-brother. Fornay’s debut future was festival hit Foxes (Listicky). Non-professional actors take the leads in this film. Fornay notes it’s not a documentary but wasinformed by research she did with local skinheads for two years. Some of the local youth also received cameras to help shoot the film.

An Unlikely Romance (Nepravděpodobná romance) (Czech Republic), dir Ivan Vojnár, prod Galina Šustová
Being readied for spring 2013, this film is about a troubled young woman under the spell of her psychiatrist. “It’s about two girls trying to find better lives,” said Premysl Martinek of Artcam, which is already on board for Czech distribution. Vojnar’s debut feature The Way Through The Bleak Woods played in Rotterdam in 1997; this is his fourth feature.

Omega Rose (Romania), dir George Dorobantu, prods Stefania Magidson, Florin Piersic Jr, Tedy Necula, Alexandra M. Paun
This genre film is set three years after an apocalyptic event, when one of the few survivors seeks to find out what happened. The director’s debut feature was Elevator, and he describes this film as “I Am Legend meets Pina” (there are dance sequences involved.)

Last Floor (Ostatnie pietro) (Poland), dir Tadeusz Krol, prod Piotr Gieburowski
This psychological thriller is based on events occurring in southern Poland several years ago, stirring a media storm. An army captain thinks he has uncovered a conspiracy and becomes increasingly paranoid, shutting off his family from the outside world.

Aftermath (Pokłosie) (Poland-Netherlands-Slovakia-Russia), dir Wladyslaw Pasikowski, prods Dariusz Jablonski, Violetta Kaminska, Izabela Wojcik
Two brothers discover the dark secret about their idyllic Polish village, in which local residents killed Jewish families during the Holocaust. Acclaimed Polish director Pasikowski’s credits include Kroll, Pigs, and TV series The Cop. The new film has Eurimages backing. Veteran producer Dariusz Jablonski noted: “I started out thinking this was a Polish story, but this is a story that is told in any country. And in the Second World War, it’s told in almost every country.” He says the project brings to life that “dark stain” of history.

The Other (Croatia-Serbia), dir Ivona Juka, prod Anita Juka
About the family tensions between an ex-convict, his pregnant (and ill) wife, and her father who suffers from dementia. The film has already won a number of script prizes. “It’s about ordinary people with extraordinary fates,” said Ivona Juka. A sales company is in the process of coming on board.

The Term (Russia-Estonia), dirs Pavel Kostomarov, Alexandr Rastorguev, prods Aleksey Pivovarov, Sarkis Orbelyan, Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova
This film, pitched as a drama but showing documentary footage, is about the anti-Putin protestors changing the face of Russian politics. The project has already started shooting and main subjects include the face of the Putin opposition, blogger and activist Alexei Navalny and Putin’s goddaughter Ksenia Sobchak.  The filmmakers say they are getting unprecedented access to their subjects – “We turn very famous stars from the political opposition and show the human side of them,” noted Aleksey Pivovarov. A feature film, TV series and web project are planned for The Term.

Wild Duck (Greece), dir Yannis Sakaridis, prods Venia Vergou, Yannis Sakaridis
The story looks at contemporary Greek society by telling the story of a young man who goes to work investigating hackers installing illegal antennas. It was shot on the RED Epic in 23 days and eyeing a major festival launch. Writer-director Yannis Sakaridis worked in the UK as an editor for 18 years and makes his feature debut with this film, which is being financed independently because of the Greek financial crisis affecting public support for film. He says: “I I always wanted to make a political film where the main hero goes against the establishment…or becomes trapped in it.”

Yozgat Blues (Turkey), dir Mahmut Fazil Coskun, prod Halil Kardas
The story follows a young singer who is asked by her music teacher to perform with him in Yozgat, where she also meets an aspirational barber. The director’s debut feature was Wrong Rosary. Producer Kardas said: “Yozgat Blues is a subtle, bittersweet dramedy about a Turkish way of life rarely portrayed in cinema.”

Winter Path (Zimniy Put) (Russia) dirs. Sergey Taramaev, Luyba Lvova, prods Mikhail Karasev, Dmitriy Glukhov
Sergey Taramaev and Luyba Lvova have worked on this screenplay for about seven years for their directorial debut feature. The story follows a young talented Moscow musician finds himself drawn to a fellow student from a very different background. Russian distributor Mary Nazari of Too Much Pictures previously presented Aleksei Fedorchenko’s acclaimed Silent Souls at KVIFF as a Work In Progress.

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