New documentaries by Boris Mitic, Vitaly Mansky and Salome Jashi are among the projects being pitched at this year’s East Doc Platform in Prague (March 2-8).

Broadcasters, distributors, film funders, festivals and producers from Europe and North America will attend pitching sessions for the East European Forum, Project Market and the second edition of the cross-media showcase Doc Tank.

200 applications were submitted for the 15th edition of the East European Forum which will be presenting ten projects including:

  • Georgian film-maker Salomé Jashi’s The Station about the aspirations of the only journalist and anchor-woman of a small provincial TV station

  • Estonian Jaak Kilmi’s People From Nowhere which will also be presented at next week’s When East Meets West co-production gathering in Trieste

  • Jakub Piatek’s A Film For My Mom, a home video documentary with fictional scenes

  • Vitaly Mansky’s highly topically Close Relations – The Ukraine Crisis, My Family and I, showing the director returning to his native Ukraine to visit his relatives in Lviv, Odessa and the Crimea to find out what lies behind the current conflict.

Originally selected projects Release Oleg Sentsov and California City were replaced by Olga Delane’s personal portrait Olga, Go Home or “Siberian Love” and Croatian director Zoran Krema’s Rosemarie about two lovers meeting up 50 years later thanks to the Internet.

Project Market

A total 18 projects in various stages of production were selected for the Project Market, including:

  • Ukrainian director Andrei Zagdansky’s Michael and Daniel about the relationship between a father and his son who suffers from cerebral palsy and deafness. The same team made the portrait Two in 1991

  • Romania Alexandru Belc’s Cinema, Mon Amour, produced by Libra Productions’ Tudor Giurgiu with Czech production outfit Pink Productions and HBO Europe. A work in progress of the film was shown at the Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj last year

  • Hungarian Katalin Bársony’s Jazz Way Out about a shy young piano player creating a new sound, a Jazz-Gypsy fusion, in a rundown Roma neighbourhood of Budapest. The Baxt Films production is also co-produced by HBO Europe.

  • Martin Kohout’s The Czech Way exploring the country’s economic transformation in the 1990s

  • Enrique Sánchez Lasch’s Paul Robeson – Behind The Curtain about the singer’s development as a political active artist during the Cold War

  • Boris Mitic’s In Praise Of Nothing in which Nothing, personified by an imaginary narrator, exposes the follies, foib les and failings of our society

  • Vlatka Vorkapic’s Postponed Revolution on the effects of the economic crisis on the people in Croatia.

In addition, the second edition of Doc Tank will present five projects with transmedia and social engagement potential ranging from Aleksandr Heifets and Jaak Kilmi’s environmental documentary Let’s Do It! to recruit 1m people from 22 countries to clean up the Mediterranean Sea to Borut Separovic’s Counterattack about a dance troupe performing in former minefields throughout Croatia.

Festival briefs

Novak returns to her roots

Prague will also be the venue for the 22nd edition of the Czech capital’s international film festival – Febiofest – taking place from March 19-27.

A special retrospective will be staged in honour of the veteran American actress with Czech roots, Kim Novak, who will receive the Kristian Award for her Contribution to World Cinema at the festival’s opening event in Prague’s art nouveau Municipal House.

Febiofest’s programme directors Hana Cielová and Štefan Uhrík have also revealed that there will be avant-premieres of Olivier Nakach and Eric Toledano’s Samba, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, and Mr. Turner, to be presented in person by the director Mike Leigh who was awarded the Kristian for his Contribution to World Cinema at Febiofest in 2009.

Mommy opens Vilnius

Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature Mommy will be the opening film on March 19 for the 20th edition of the Vilnius International Film Festival (aka Kino Pavasaris, March 19 – April 2).

Titles already confirmed for the “New Europe – New Faces” competition programme include the Bulgarian psychological thriller The Lesson, two dark comedies from Hungary, For Some Inexplicable Reason and Afterlife, the Latvian-Greek-German co-production Modris, the Estonian drama In the Crosswind, the European Film Award-winning Ukrainian film The Tribe and local Lithuanian film-maker Alantė Kavaitė’s The Summer of Sangaile which premieres at this month’s Sundance Film Fesival before having its international premiere in the Berlinale’s Panorama.

Other highlights being lined up for the 20th anniversary include a retrospective dedicated to Leos Carax and a new sidebar focusing on French cinema.