My Mother, The Monster

Source: Kino Alfa

My Mother, The Monster

Hungarian project My Mother, The Monster, directed by Olivér Rudolf, was the big winner at the CineLink awards in Sarajevo on Thursday (Aug 17) evening, carrying off the Eurimages Co-Production Development prize worth €20,000.

The project is being put together as a Hungarian-French co-production and is produced by Genovéva Petrovits and Barnabás Tóth-Just through Kino Alfa and Vrai Vrai Films. It’s about a mother in her 40s whose husband is cheating on her. Disappointed by life and suffering a mid-life crisis, she finds a new identity and self-confidence after she starts wearing a monster mask. The film focuses on the relationship between the mother and her daughter and aims shoot next year.

Scroll down for full list of prizes

My Mother, The Monster, which also has Creative Europe support, has already provoked controversy in Hungary. It was originally promised support through the Hungarian National Film Institute’s Incubator programme for first-time directors - but the support was later withdrawn in murky circumstances. “We can only suppose and guess that there might be political reasons,” Petrovits said.

Rudolf, who co-wrote the project with Zsigmond Kungl, told Screen that his inspiration came from ‘a picture depicting a woman walking in a dark forest alone in the middle of the night. She was wearing this rough-skinned scary mask. The tension between this harsh mask and the vulnerability of the person wearing it was a paradox to me,” the director explained. “I wanted to find out who is behind the mask…for me, she is an introverted, quiet woman who never raises her voice and who never expresses her opinion because she is afraid she might not be interesting at all.”

According to CineLink organisers, the films which received the most requests for meetings from potential co-production and financing partners attending the event were Albanian director Erenik Beqiri’s After Dark (with 33 requests), Rudolf’s My Mother, The Monster (with 32 requests), and Ukrainian director Kateryna Gornostai’s Antonivka (which had 27 scheduled meetings).

Atonivika was also a prize winner, picking up the Artekino International Prize worth €6,000. It is a drama about young love, old age and death, set in a future Ukraine which has already won the war. It is produced by Vika Khomenko through Moon Man.

After Dark, which has already been part of the Résidence du Festival de Cannes, is a modern-day spin on the vampire movie. “There won’t be fangs, crucifixes…The vampires are not immortal. They are a cursed extension of our society, unable to find where they fit in,” director Beqiri told potential backers. The Albanian/French/Italian co-production is produced through Origine Films, On Film Production and Disparte. It is set to shoot next autumn.

Project kickstarter

Participants in CineLink Industry Days have hailed the event’s importance for kick-starting projects from southeastern Europe which often struggle to attract financing from their own national funders.

“We received only positive feedback,” produce Petrovits said of the reception given to My Mother, The Monster this week. She has been looking to attach another western European partner to the project to give it a better chance of access to “bigger TV stations like ZDF/Arte which would be important to us.”

“CineLink always helps…we are very well treated. I am very happy with the selection of the meetings,” the producer said of the matchmaking done by CineLink organisers. She also welcomed an online event which CineLink is planning for next month to enable to producers to follow up on meetings they have been having this week.

Another Hungarian project denied funding at home but supported through CineLinlk is Gergő Somogyvári’s feature doc Fairy Garden, about two outcasts who’ve formed a makeshift family of their own - Fanni, a 19 year-old transgender teenager, and Laci, a 60 year-old homeless man. Produced by Nora Somogyvári through New Retina Productions, the film has been screening in this year’s Documentary Competition having won a prize from HBO at CineLink Industry Days’ Rough Cut Boutique last year.

“They [Hungarian public film funders] really don’t like this homeless topic; they don’t like the transgender topic,” director Gergő Somogyvári said of the struggle to finance the film in Hungary itself. UK sales outfit Journeyman came aboard the project after CineLink last year.

However, New Retina Productions has now received local public backing for another of its projects on which it is a co-producer. Várdai - Non Solo Cello by director Eszter Száraz (Trionfilm Productions). The film about legendary Hungarian cellist István Várdai is supported by the Hungarian National Film Institute.

International visitors to CineLink Industry Days describe the event as still the best place to discover the projects from Central and Southeastern Europe.

“I think it is a very well organised event,” said leading Dutch producer Stienette Bosklopper, owner and managing director of Circe Films, whose latest feature, Beraber, directed by Mete Gümürhan, had its world premiere in the Focus section of the Festival.

Bosklopper has collaborated frequently in the past with filmmakers from the region, for example on several features by Romanian director Radu Jude. “What I really feel when you are here [in Sarajevo], it is a really Eastern European friendly gathering with everybody knowing each other…in terms of the low and mid-budget range, it is a very interesting area to gaze upon.”

The Circe boss noted that CineLInk offers “a very curated, small selection…I saw three projects which really appealed to me.”

The Sarajevo Festival and its industry arm also looks to showcase works by young talent in the region One young local filmmaker participating in the festival was 23-year-old Bosnian director Amna Hadžić with her New York made short, Ocean Without A Floor, in which Grace Kiley plays a retired novelist with dementia recalling a life changing moment in her past. Hadžić co-produced the short with Vid Milaković. Both are fellow graduates from New York University.

Hadžić moved to Slovenia as a teenager. She first submitted a film to Sarajevo in 2018 as part of the festival’s Teen Arena programme (where it won an award) and is now back with the new short.

“This is a homecoming, to be here with the local filmmakers, to engage with their stories and learn from other film professionals,” she said. “This is our region, our local audience.”

The 21st CineLink Industry Days took place from August 12-17 as part of the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, showcasing projects in various formats and stages of development from Southeast Europe and the MENA region.

Eurimages Co-Production Development Award
My Mother, The Monster (Hu)
Dir: Olivér Rudolf
Prod: Kino Alfa

Film Center Serbia Cinelink Award
Primavera (Mont)
Dir: Dušan Kasalica
Prod: Meander Film

Film Center Montenegro Cinelink Award
A Long Embrace (Gr)
Dir: Gabriel Tzafka
Prod: Wild At Heart

Artekino International Prize
Antonivka (Ukr)
Dir: Kateryna Gornostai
Prod: Moon Man

Female Voices Cinelink Award Sponsored By Slovenian Film Centre
Connections (Serbia)
Creators: Tea Korolija, Maja Todorović, Srđan Šaper
Prod: Adrenalin

Croatian Audiovisual Center Drama Award
Adventures Of A Turbo Folk Princess (N Mac-Bul)
Creators: Andrey Volkashin, Peter Vulchev
Prod: Oxo Production

TV Drama Vision Pitch Award
Amazons Of Istanbul (Tur)
Creators: Nisan Dağ, Müge Özen
Prod: Solis Film

Turkish National Radio Television Award
As If You Were Never Here (Is-It-Georgia)
Dir: Eti Tsicko
Prods: Lama Films, Intrigó Internazionale And 20 Steps

Post Republic Award
One Of Those Days Where Hemme Dies (Tur)
Dir: Murat Fıratoğlu
Prod: Nefes Films

Think-Film Impact Award
Kanto (Tur)
Dir: Ensar Altay
Prod: Fikirdöküm

Docu Rough Cut Boutique Awards

Avanpost Award
Adelina: Symphony Of Longing And Estrangement (Georgia)
Dir: Rati Tsiteladze
Prod: Artway Film

Cat&Docs Award
Your Life Without Me (Hun-Swe)
Dir: Anna Rubi
Prod: Somnus Film

HBO Max Award
Adelina: Symphony Of Longing And Estrangement (Georgia)
Dir: Rati Tsiteladze
Prod: Artway Film

Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival/ AJB Doc Award
Pavillion 6 (Cr)
Dir: Goran Dević
Prod: 15th Art Productions

East Silver Caravan Award
Your Life Without Me (Hu)
Dir: Anna Rubi
Prod: Somnus Film

Dok Leipzig Preview Award
Pavillion 6 (Cr)
Dir: Goran Dević
Prod: 15th Art Production