EXCLUSIVE: Producers Giorgos Karnavas and Konstantinos Kontovrakis of Athens-based Heretic Productions are teaming with Ioanna Stais to launch Heretic Outreach, a new initiative to help the global reach of innovative films from Southeastern Europe.

The company, something of an alternative sales company and consultancy, will be headquartered in Athens and will aim to help filmmakers with strategies for festivals, international sales and alternative distribution and exhibition.

Stais, a Sorbonne graduate who has been working with WIDE Management’s Eye on Films initiative since 2012, will serve as Heretic Outreach’s head of festivals and sales.

Stais said: “We want Heretic Outreach to become a strategic partner for the region’s filmmaking communities’ and their needs to reach out to the rest of the world.” 

In addition to working with filmmakers individually, Heretic Outreach will also offer consultancy services to third parties like film institutes and film funds.  

The company expects to announce its first films shortly, and will seek to work with no more than six films per year.

Heretic Productions covers the overheads of Outreach, and will share in revenues generated through Outreach films’ festival fees and sales.

The company plans to concentrate primarily on films produced or co-produced by Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey and Cyprus

Heretic Outreach will attend the major European markets as well as regional festivals such as Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Sofia, Transilvania and more.

“Our own experience as producers has led us to the realisation that independent films from this part of the world have an extended life-circle in the festival circuit and that their commercial prospects (theatrical distribution or VoD deals) are usually results of the of this circle,” Kontovrakis said. “We therefore plan to invert the traditional sales agent model and adapt it to the needs of the local film industry, as our experience and knowledge of the local needs dictates. Therefore, our primary focus is festivals.”

He continued: “We want to be close to the filmmakers and producers, talk to them, understand their needs and lay out together the best strategies for their films.”

As producers, Karnavas and Kontovrakis have works on films including Boy Eating The Bird’s Food; Wasted Youth; and Standing Aside, Watching.