“Wishing on a Star” is truly the emblem of When East Meets West.
This is the project that won the € 5000 CNC Development Award – the main prize among the many assigned at the conclusion of the co-production forum organized by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund together with the Trieste Film Festival, the seventh edition of which was held from 22 to 24 January in Trieste.
Like last year the winner was a documentary: the story of Luciana, a Neapolitan resident in Friuli, who is an exponent of what is known as active astrology which mixes esoteric strategies with a kind of tourism consultancy.
It is a very regional story, written by Erica Barbiani from Friuli, who is also the producer with her Videomante, but has chosen a Slovakian director, Peter Kerekes (who is also the producer with his Peter Kerekes Film) as well as an Austrian co-producer, Ralph Wieser of Mischief Film.
“I got to know Peter’s work, particularly his “Cooking History” which Ralph Wieser produced, when I was a student at Eurodoc, and he opened up a world for me on language, on the possibility of using irony in reality cinema”.
Trieste as a point of departure, that looks to the East, towards Austria and Slovakia, and
probably “Wishing on a star” is just the type of project we want, films and documentaries capable of uniting several countries exclusively on the basis of good ideas and beautiful stories, because creativity should have no borders”.
Paolo Vidali, director of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund outlines the context:
“I hope that what is happening here happens in the rest of Europe: people who arrive from different places, enter into a relationship with each other and communicate in order to improve their collaboration and build new bridges… and not new walls”.
22 projects were selected (from more than 300 applications), drama features along with documentaries because, explains Gropplero, “our priority is to bring together all the key industry people from the areas in which we work. We also saw that in many cases there were considerable changes to the development strategy of the projects, that television documentaries, for example, were transformed into festival documentaries, thanks to the discussions between people who come from different worlds”.
For the rst time this year WEMW has broadened its focus which, until now only comprised western countries, to include the East as well, dedicating this edition to the Baltic Countries in addition to France “We have greatly expanded the opportunity to participate, allowing people who have projects with one of the two focus countries to be able to talk with around y professionals for each country”.
At the same time this double focus also narrows the forum’s sphere of action, making it stronger and more specific and also consolidating relations between partner countries.
This is what emerged from within the Co-Producing with France and the Baltic Countries panel that featured discussions between Rolandas Kvietkauskas (Lithuanian Film Centre), Michel Plazanet (CNC), Dita Rietuma (National Film Centre of Latvia) and Edith Sepp (Estonian Film Institute).
“WEMW has been very important for us, a turning point also in view of the co-production agreement we will be signing this year with France”, says Edith Sepp, “and I hope that it also opens up the path for a similar agreement with Italy, with which we have not yet had an opportunity to work”.
Amongst all the Baltic Countries it is Lithuania, that has worked the most with Italy (it has been the set for big television productions like “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina”, but also movies like “Deadly Code”), although so far only as a supplier of services.
Now, however, there are some co-productions on the way, such as, for example, the documentary “About Stops, Runs and Bananas” (formerly “Gladiators”) by Arunas Matelis, one of the Last Stop Trieste projects. Among the many co-producing countries there is also Italy, with Stefilm and neighbor Latvia.
Lithuania already has a co-production agreement in place with France, whilst a France–Latvia agreement is currently being negotiated. Also in this case “Trieste has been a valuable ally”, states Michel Plazanet, of CNC: “at the moment, a co-production project with Latvia cannot be recognized as an official co-production and for this reason it cannot access the support of the CNC, but here at WEMW I have spoken to Dita Rietuma who seems to be very interested in signing this agreement”.
Trieste has also been a trailblazer for a series of trilateral presentations that the Baltic countries are planning for this year: “we are all different but we still have a lot in common and this is the only way to achieve greater international visibility”, explains Rolandas Kvietkauskas, “we are also looking at the possibility of creating a co-production fund between the three of us”.
WEMW is organized by the FVG Audiovisual Fund together with the Trieste Film Festival, in collaboration with EAVE, Maia Workshops, Creative Europe Desk Italy, EURIMAGES, and the support of Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, MiBACT – Direzione Generale per il Cinema, CEI – Central European Initiative and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The 2017 focus is realized thanks to the support of CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, Estonian Film Institute, Lithuanian Film Centre and National Film Centre of Latvia, and the cooperation of the Creative Europe Desks of Estonia, France, Latvia and Lithuania.