TRIESTE/East, West and the Stories in between

Endless Garden produced by Martichka Bozhilova’s Agitprop and directed by Galin Stoev was the winner of this year’s Development Award (€2,500) at When East Meets West, the co-production forum organized by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund and held in Trieste from January 20-22 during the Trieste Film Festival.

Awarded by the Audiovisual Fund, directed by Paolo Vidali, the prize went to a project that “profoundly connects the East [Agitprop is one of Bulgaria’s most established, well-known production companies on the international market] with the West [the project already has a German co-producer, Thomas Kufus of zero one film, and is also set in Italy]”, according to the jury, comprised of Nikolaj Nikitin (School of Film Agents), Matthieu Darras (Torino Film Lab) and Kristina Trapp (chief executive, EAVE).

Twenty-two projects from 15 countries were selected, from over 200 submissions.

Produced by Belgians Eurydice Gysel and Koen Mortier  and directed by Kenneth Mercken for Czar TV, Courereur won the Emerging Talent Award, new this year, which comes with €5,000 in prost-production services from Filmore, a leading post- production studios in the Netherlands, which was one of the focus countries this year, along with Belgium and Luxembourg.

Producer Emilija Cockova and director Gjorce Stavreski of Macedonia’s Fragment Film won a scholarship to participate in the next edition of EAVE (European Producers Workshop) with their film Krani, one the projects that piqued the most interest from producers.

“We really liked the selection, and the combination of narrative and documentary projects,” says Nikitin. “Some pitches were really fun, like Partisan&Courtisan [a documentary by Bojana Papp, produced by Hungary’s Laokoon Film, on Éva Kardos, niece of Hungarian dictator Mátyás Rákosi], and Matej Minac’s Never Give up, pro- duced by the Czech company W.I.P.” The latter, a comical documentary in which the director will reconstruct his attempt to finish a film on Federico Fellini, won a Special Mention from the jury.

Doreen Boonekamp, head of the Netherlands Film Fund, also praised documentary selection. “We have a very strong tradition of theatrical documentaries in Holland,” she says, “and we’re always trying to stimulate more co-productions. I think this event is very useful, for the level of the professionals involved and the mix of projects that involve the East and West, with Italy as the central connecting point.”

“As a gateway between the East and West, Trieste is the ideal place to hold this market, which we support precisely for its unique penchant for ‘border projects,’” says Roberto Olla of Eurimages. “Plus we want to support co-productions in Italy, where they’re still not practiced, pro- moted or appreciated enough. This event is a small gem, in part because I didn’t see any politicians around, just great projects and a good turnout of producers and potential financiers.”

Three Italian projects were presented. Women on the Border, an all-Friulian documentary by Erika Rossi produced by Marta Zaccaron for Quasar Multimedia, about a young nurse in a Gorizia hospital during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia, received money from the Friuli Venezia Giulia Development Fund and is a co- production with Slovenia (Casablanca) and Croatia (Bonobo Studio).

The second project is set in Trieste, where the main character of Walking Peace, Bruno, a truck driver who travels from Italy to Turkey, lives. The film was written by Francesco Falaschi, who will direct, and produced by Enzo Porcelli’s Achab Film.

The third project begins in Trieste: White Elk, to be directed by Beppe Leonetti, who co-produces with Edoardo Fracchia for the Turin-based Incandenza&Stefilm, looks at a Hollywood actor, an imposter who charmed his way through Italy and Europe in the 1920s, passing off as a Native American delegate and even proposing an alliance with Benito Mussolini. White Elk received development support from the Doc Film Fund of the Torino Piemonte Film Commission.

Nella sezione: Focus on italy