Projects from Bulgaria, Belgium and Macedonia have picked up prizes at the When East Meets West (WEMW) international co-production meetings in Trieste.

The main prize, the WEMW Development Award, provided by the local regional fund Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund (FVG), went to Bulgarian producer Martichka Bozhilova and director Galin Stoev for Endless Garden, which is looking for a Belgian co-producer.

The €1.1m dramedy will be theatre director Stoev’s debut feature and already has Berlin-based Thomas Kufus’ zero one film and MEDIA onboard as partners.

Endless Garden had previously been pitched during the Sofia Meetings last March.

A special mention was given by the jury of EAVE’s Kristina Trapp, Torino Film Lab’s Mathieu Darras and the Berlinale’s Nikolai Nikitin to the Czech/Slovak documentary comedy Never Give Up by Matej Minac.

A new prize this year, sponsored by Belgium’s Filmmore with €5,000 worth of post-production services, went to the Belgian writer-director Kenneth Mercken’s first feature project Coureur, inspired by his own experiences with his father who was a professional cyclist.

The grant to attend this year’s EAVE producers training programme went to the young Skopje-based production house Fragment Film, founded in 2012 by writer-director Gjorce Stavreski and producer Emilija Cockova.

Fragment Films’ first feature production is Stavreski’s tragicomic story Krani, which has already been supported by the Macedonian Film Fund.  

The fourth edition of WEMW (Jan 20-22) presented 22 international projects - 12 fiction feature films and 10 documentaries - from 15 different countries.

They included Dutch director David Verbeek’s first English-language project Full Contact, which he has been developing over the past four years.

Verbeek described the drama about a man questioning his work remotely operating drone planes in war zones from an airforce base in the Mojave Desert as “a road movie of the sub-conscious”.

Leontine Petit of Lemming Film will co-produce the €1.3m film with Croatia’s Nukleus Film.

In addition, Romania’s Euroart Film and Adenium Film will be collaborating on the documentary Burning Picasso about the sensational art robbery of seven masterpieces from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal Museum by three Romanians in October 2012.

Shooting will begin this spring for delivery in autumn 2014. The producers revealed they are also developing a fiction feature on the same story.

Projects presented at previous editions of WEMW have included DoP-director Elfi Mikesch’s Fever (Fieber), which will have its premiere in Berlin’s Panorama next month; Georgian film-maker Tinatin Kajrishvili’s Brides, also having its world premiere at the Panorama; and Anishoara by Moldova’s Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu, produced by Germany’s Weydemann Bros. who have Damian John Harper’s Los Ángeles in the Forum.

Among those attending to hear the pitches and have one-to-one meetings were sales agents Rezo Films, Wild Bunch, EastWest Distribution, Fortissimo Films, and Rise and Shine World Sales, Eurimages, Macedonian Film Fund, Lithuanian Film Centre, and guests from the focus region Benelux (Dutch Film Fund, VAF, Film & Audiovisual Centre - Wallonia Brussels Federation,  Wallimage, and Film Fund Luxembourg).

 First Slovenian horror film planned 

WEMW also provided a showcase for new projects by graduates of the MAIA Workshop, including the first ever Slovenian horror film, Idyll, planned by Ljubljana-based Blade Production with Strup Produkcija

Producer Zoran Dzeverdanovic told ScreenDaily that shooting is planned for this summer for writer-director Tomaž Gorkič’s story of an innocent fashion shoot in beautiful pristine countryside turning into a moonshine-market nightmare.

“Throughout the film, the viewer is provided with numerous diverse emotions, unexpected twists and an unexpected ending, which is what makes Idyll tense from its begining until the end,” Gorkič said.

Dzeverdanovic explained that he was in Trieste to identify potential distributors and sales agents for this project as well as a second one where he is co-producer with Croatia’s Lijeni Film on the Serbian omnibus feature film Equals, to be produced by Cinnamon Production and Absinthe Production.

Shooting on Equals is scheduled to take place between April - May 2014 with episodes being directed by such film-makers as Darko Lungulov, Vladimir Petrovic, Igor Stoimenov and Ivica Vidanovic and actors ranging from Mirjana Karanovic and Sergei Trifunovic to Srdan Miletic and Nebosja Glogovac.

Cottbus to focus on gay cinema

Gay Eastern European cinema will be the focus of a special programme at the next edition of Germany’s FilmFestival Cottbus (Nov 4-9, 2014)

Bernd Buder, director of the Connecting Cottbus East-West co-production market and a programmer for FilmFestival Cottbus, revealed during a case study of Zaza Rusadze’s feature debut A Fold In My Blanket that the Georgian director will curate this programme.

The special focus will cover films made in recent years by gay East European film-makers and the portrayal of homosexuals generally in this region’s cinema as well as the portrayal of gay East Europeans in films made outside of Europe.