The ten selected projects will be joined by a group of directors and producers who attend this year's Ex Oriente Film workshop. The East European Forum will feature a total of 24 mainly East European documentary projects whose authors will seek funding for the completion of their films as well as contacts for the future life of their films in European television, theatres and at festivals.
10 Projects of the East European Forum
Director: Yuriy Khashchevatskiy
Producer: Volha Nikalaichyk
Probes is a social-political documentary film that raises questions about the roles we play in history and about the conditions that make it possible to overlook the onset of authoritarian regimes and live in them for years. What is our place in history and what roles do we (un)conciously take on ourselves? The film follows the victims, executioners as well as the disinterested observers.
Director: Helena Třeštíková
Producer: Negativ s.r.o.
A “time-scoop” documentary about drugs, love, prison and responsibility. 13 years in the lives of Katka, Lada and Jana. They live on the streets in Prague, hustling up drugs, stealing, attempting murder. Lada and Jana end up in prison. Katka ends up expecting a child. Will she manage to overcome this most difficult battle of her life?
Director: Erika Hníková
Producer: Jiří Konečný
A situation-based documentary film about the phenomenon of football in the Nairobi slum called Mathare. For ghetto kids, football is often the only chance in life to play their way out of poverty. If they are good players, the local organization pays for the education their parents cannot afford. A non-stereotypical view of slum life, with football as the way out of poverty. A film full of humorous situations and life stories.
REPORT FROM LODZ
Director: Pavel Štingl
Producer: Pavel Štingl / Ondřej Zima
Of nearly five thousand Czech Jews sent on the first transports to Lodz, fewer than three hundred wretched souls lived to see the end of the war. Each of the survivors has an extraordinary story to tell. The film features unique period photographs, records the memories of witnesses and captures the lives of today's inhabitants of the former ghetto.
Director: Jaak Kilmi
Producer: Kiur Aarma
A documentary film about Finnish television in Soviet Estonia, an electronic window to the world of dreams – a window that could not be closed. The vivid stories of a generation provide an overview of the era and its people, who were separated by the iron curtain, but joined by fairy-tales. Black-and-White Window combines the political thriller with naive childhood tales; the party bureacracy with pictures from childhood reality.
Director: Marco Gastine
Producer: Alexandre Cornu, Les Films du Tambour de Soie
During the Greek civil war (1946-1949) 25.000 children were transferred by the communist partisans to socialist countries, in order to "protect them until the victory". The victory never came, the children never came back. Nikos was one of them. In 1948, he was sent with 250 other children from his village to Hungary. Later he escaped to France and lost track of the other village children. Now retired, Nikos has decided to find out what happened to them.
FROM PARTISAN TO COURTESAN
Director: Bojána Papp
Producer: Eszter Gyárfás
Éva Kardos was born in 1924 as the niece of the infamous Hungarian communist dictator, Mátyás Rákosi. Her story starts with early immigration to Moscow, schoolyears with classmates like Mao Ce Tung’s offspring, and her teenage years as a partisan during WW2; continues as wife of head of the secret service after the war, a great escape on a tank during the 1956 revolution and last – but not least – prostitution at the age of 56 after her husband’s mysterious death.
Director: Zsigmond Dezso
Producer: Sarudi Gábor
This story is about the traditions and mysteries of the mountains of Gyimes. A non-conformist woman with her lifestyle making a legend.
Director: Pawel Lozinski
Producer: Pawel Lozinski
Patients arrive at the Day-Care Ward of the Warsaw Cancer Institute directly from the outside. They lie down for a few hours, IV's slowly dripping into their veins. Patiens talk with each other, telling their life stories, some laughing, some crying. The film will look at them close-up, recording their meetings and conversations. A few hours from the life of people suffering from cancer. There seems to be a good chance of making an unconventional, optimistic and truthful movie about a struggle against a fatal disease. This will be a story - part sad, part thoughtful and part funny - about mutual support. One that gives hope that the closeness of another person will help you win the struggle against cancer.
ON THE SKY ON EARTH
Director: Maciej Cuske
Producer: Agnieszka Janowska
A group of supernatural phenomena aficionados comes to a small town Wylatowo (Takeoffville). Just like every year, they expect extraordinary signs to appear in the grain field. One of the investigators was almost kidnapped by a UFO. Yet he doesn’t give up and he tries at any cost to prove the extraterrestrials’ existence.
13 Projects of the Ex Oriente Film Workshop
THE LAST TWO TIGHTROPE DANCERS IN ARMENIA: A FUNERAL FOR DYING GODS
Director: Inna Sahakyan
Producer: Vardan Hovhannisyan, Bars Media
Two old men, 78, 75, are shouting at each other under the tightrope, arguing whose student is the best; ‘I started to walk when I was thirteen, 30 musicians died whilst I was dancing!’ ‘But I won the competition in the fifties; the cultural minister said if there was a science of tightrope I would be a Professor.’ These are the last two tightrope masters in Armenia, who were once treated like gods. With a smile we will show the ‘funeral’ of their art: even though their troupes walk now, they are sure that their students will not continue.
Director: Vladimir Kolas
Producer: Miroslaw Dembinski
Ada Raichonak and her husband Aleh are an aged couple of farmers. Most of their
neighbors are still forced to work in kolkhoz. But the life of farmers in Belarus is
not much easier. Working hard at the farm, Ada founded an art gallery in her
village and organizes summer art workshops for painters who come from all over
the country. The film will tell about collisions between the artists who hate authoritarian regime which makes Belarus the "last dictatorship in Europe", the peasants who are influenced by populist propaganda of the authorities and Ada who tries to reconcile all of them with the help of the 'magic power of art…'
RAMADAN - GUIDE TO FAME
Director: Svetla Neykova
Producer: Dobryana Petkova, Agitprop
Have you ever heard Bulgarian folk music? In this documentary which main characters have dedicated their lives to bring this music through centuries you certainly will. This film will present the spiritual leader of this music style – the charming and extremely gifted clarinetist Ramadan Lolov. By following his ghost from early 20th century fairs to the modern city streets, we will explore the strength of personal charisma and illusions.
SEVDAH - BOSNIA BLUE
Director: Marina Andree
Producer: Petar Milić, Studio dim
Sevdah is a feeling about life imbued with melancholy, yearning and beautiful sorrow. In Bosnia it is expressed through their traditional sad song – sevdalinka. The death of their mutual friend and lover of sevdalinka, Farah, has brought musician Damir and director Marina together. Trying to deal with their own loss and grief, they decide to create a film about sevdah. They create it as an emotional, musical, lyrical and visual journey through the soul of Bosnia, through their own emotions and memories.
Director: Jakub Hejna and Lucie Králová
Producer: Jiří Konečný, endorfilm s.r.o.
I happened to live next to somebody thousands of people know, somebody recognized by the whole world of theater. I grew up in a house of a man who seems to be a brilliant stage designer, but who also was my grandfather to whom I did not talk much. I used to play in his studio, I used to watch him making models for theater and I used to listen to Beethoven with him. I was 25 when he died and I realized I did not know almost anything about him. Darkness and emptiness he would often talk about as his materials filled up my head. I decided to explore the darkness and the emptiness through a film: I am filmmaker, editor, and film could help me to explore and save what did not die with him. And search for things that outlive us.
HERO OF RED CHINA
Director / Producer: Tomas Kudrna, Armada Films
A story of an ordinary peasant Fu Xiancai living in a communist regime who is brave enough to talk freely. But now he suffers. Three Gorges - the biggest hydroelectric power plant in the world was the reason why Fu lost his house and his field. He has been protesting against it. Now he lies in a Beijing's hospital after his vertebrae was crushed in an assault.
THE VERY FIRST COWBOY
Director: Adéla Kroupová
Producer: Petra Hanzelková, Koleno.art production
Cowboys do live in the Central Europe and the Czech Republic. They wear Stetsons, jeans, western outfits and ride rodeo. We seek heroes of our time, real men from the old world. In them, boyhood dreams and harsh reality of the American Wild West may be combined. We will take a group of Czech cowboys to America, the cradle of their dreams and imagination. We will make them meet the real cowboys and face one of the hardest tests – the test of the tenability of the world they believe in.
MR. STEEL AXE - ENTERING HEAVEN
Director: Zoltán Füredi
Producer: Andras Muhi, Inforg Studio
Gansükh (Mr. Steel Axe) is a shepherd, living in a northern Mongolian valley in the
summer and as a shaman in Ulanbator in the winter. He decided to run for office at the parliamentary elections to be held in spring 2008. The story of the film concentrates on his everyday life in the yurt with his family and also shows his social and political activities. As a personal journey, we will follow him during the electoral campaign of the 2008 parliamentary elections and the course of the election in the rural district. The question is whether individual courage and the ruse of the proverbial poor lad can accomplish the mission of Gansükh to fetch a future for his people and a name and reputation for himself in 21st century Mongolia.
NEW ELDORADO 2 – SAVE ROSIA MONTANA
Director / Producer: Tibor Kocsis, Flora Film International
There is a wonderful village in Romania: Roşia Montană. There are several hundred-year-old houses, and there are people who stick to their land, houses, churches and the mortal remains of their fathers. The surrounding mountains hide 300 tons of gold and silver. Roşia Montană Gold Corporation, a Canadian-Romanian company wants to open a new open-cast gold mine here. They promise state-of-the-art technology and offer locals to be moved into new, modern homes, while their houses would be destroyed. There would be gold. There would be silver. There would be a new Eldorado. But there would also be an 800-hectare cyanide containing tailing pond, with a 180-meter-high dam. Only this beautiful village, Roşia Montană and the surrounding mountains would disappear from the face of the Earth.
Director: Maciej Adamek
Producer: Radek Stys, Koncept Media Radek Stys
The protagonists of the film will be three highly gifted children. We will study their state of consciousness, avoiding adult commentary, leaving the audience to judge for themselves ups and downs of infant prodigy life. Just like in his previous films, Maciej Adamek will tell us a tale about modern times and conditions of a childhood.
Director: Magdalena Pięta
Producer: Krzysztof Kopczyński, Eureka Media
There is place within the borders of Europe where the President most of all loves Chess. In this little republic lives a 12 years-old boy who studies at the Moscow University and who mainly loves the President. Planet Kirsan is a film about a child’s dreams, and the way it confronts with the world around it: the world which at first seems full of metaphysics and poetry, but which turns into a cold-blooded political calculation when you watch it up close.
Director: Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri
Producer: Ileana Stanculescu, Art Doc
An old Romanian sociology professor (N. S. Dumitru) has been teaching and dreaming of "Noosfera" for more than thirty years. Noosfera means the era of knowledge and creativity, when human beings are liberated from physical work and follow their vocation and talents. The professor is convinced that we will reach Noosfera in a few decades. In Bucharest nobody takes him seriously. But, on the other side of the ocean, a young American professor, Richard Florida, has developed a similar theory: "The Rise of The Creative Class". It seems that in the United States and in some European countries, parts of their theory came true. This documentary will focus on the contemporary world and will question the human condition in a new creative age.
MOON INSIDE YOU
Director: Diana Fabianová
Producer: Svetlana Gajdošová, Ubac Media
Diana suffers from irregular and painful periods. Her gynaecologist prescribes her the usual medication but she suspects that there must be other ways of living with her menstruation. What starts off as innocent curiosity, becomes an emotional voyage to the very roots of femininity and life. Moon Inside You is a fresh look at a taboo that defines the reality of both women and men in a more profound way than society might be willing to admit. An unusual story told with humour and gentle self-irony in which the subject of women is approached through the most elementary and obvious aspect of womanhood.