SOFIA: FNE spoke with Stefan Arsenijevic, programme manager of the Serbian training programme First Films First.
FNE spoke with Andrey Yermak, producer and CEO of Garnet International Media Group, about his successful film production company, the current situation in the Ukrainian film industry and about the importance of cooperation between Poland and the Ukraine.
We are now open for international FEATURE, SHORT FILM, and BALTIC MUSIC VIDEO entries to our competitions.
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The three main RIGA IFF 2018 competitions hold the common goal of awarding the most innovative cinematic language that reveals a strong individuality behind it. The festival welcomes all motion picture experiences transgressing any limit other than those few defined by the respective category.
RIGA IFF FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
The festival's feature film competition seeks productions that use innovative cinematic language as an expression of the auteur. The majority of funding must originate in the Baltic Sea Region (Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden). Other than that, this category sets no restrictions. In total, ten selected feature films will be presented to an international jury of film professionals, which in turn will announce the winner of the RIGA IFF Award – a bronze sculpture comprised of eight pieces, thus allowing for distribution among the team in acknowledgement of the collective effort, – and a prize of EUR 2000.
SHORT RIGA INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION and Test Screenings
35 entries from filmmakers that show a distinct method and a novel theme are celebrated in the short film competition of the festival. An international jury awards the winner with the Silver Grass Snake pin. Additionally, projects from the Baltic states in the last leg of production or just completed ones are welcome to be a part of the SHORT RIGA Test Screenings, providing a chance to receive valuable feedback from international experts.
SHORT RIGA BALTIC MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION
While the short film competition provokes exploration of the medium, the Baltic Music Video competition – or #BMV as called for short – is the wildest of the bunch. The main requirement is for the work to exhibit audiovisual harmony. An international, professionally diverse jury will be looking for productions that challenge the audience by pushing the limits of the experience. The winner is awarded Silver Grass Snake pin.
The Riga International Film Festival – taking place October 18th to 31st – is located in the centre-most capital of the Baltic states, Riga. The 5th edition of the festival lasts two full weeks in multiple venues across the capital of Latvia, featuring film screenings, parties, and industry-focused events. The festival’s main venue is Splendid Palace – a unique, luxurious cinema in operation since 1923.
BERLIN: FNE has teamed up with FIPRESCI critics attending the Berlin Film Festival to rate the films in the Main Competition, Panorana and Forum giving the films 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars. 5 is the best and 1 is the worst. The ratings give an overview of critics opinions from a large number of countries and provide insights to what critics in many different countries think about the programme.
BERLIN: During the Berlin Festival critics will be able to rate any of the feature length films screening in the Main Competition, Panorama and Forum sections of the festival (1 to 5 stars). The results will be published each day during the festival on www.filmneweurope.com.
The term “fake news” was named as the famous Collins Dictionary’s official Word of the Year. Disinformation and media manipulation are amongst the greatest problems faced by the current world. Living in the information age places great demands on every individual: to differentiate between what is true and what it not, to share, to comment, and to have an opinion. This year, the 20th One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will take place in Prague from 5 March to 14 March, subsequently moving on to 36 other towns throughout the Czech Republic. This is one of the reasons it is calling for a system update – not only computer systems need time to process all of the required information and function smoothly.
According to Ondřej Kamenický, the festival’s director: “We’ve become accustomed to choosing simple and appealing solutions, and to acting under the influence of emotions. And it is specifically inflamed emotions within society that provide fertile soil for populists, who label themselves as battling a system they consider to have been overpowered. … We want cinema viewers to have the opportunity to do something for which there is not enough time in a daily life filled with (dis)information from social networks. The opportunity to slow down and be able to calmly form their own opinion about specific topics, to look at things from various perspectives, and to place them within the appropriate context.”
This year, One World is celebrating its twentieth anniversary. There is indeed much to celebrate – over the past two decades it has grown into the world’s largest documentary film festival focused on human rights. To celebrate this jubilee year, the festival has chosen a new logo and visual identity based on a design by the artist Matyáš Trnka. The new logo allows the viewer to see the world through a camera lens and choose which detail to concentrate on during their observation.
Matyáš Trnka and graphic artist Matěj Růžička also stand behind the festival’s current campaign. “The call for a system update appears on the monitors of computers when it becomes necessary to update the operating system to include the most recent features. Even the graphics refer back to the dreaded blue screen of death displaying the message ‘Memory full,’ explains Matyáš Trnka. The campaign also works with other feared messages associated with system updates, which draw attention to the fact that the entire process may take a while, but that – ultimately – the system will function better. The festival’s theme song, which also contains references to system updates, is also the work of Matyáš Trnka. The original music was composed by Marek Doubrava, one of the founders of the Tata Bojs pop rock band, and a respected musician, who currently has his own band named Hm...
This year’s edition of One World will present more than 110 films. A new category premiering this year is Americana, which is focused specifically on such topics as Donald Trump, racial intolerance, the role of the police within the system, and Native American rights. This year, the rise of nationalism and populism, as well as the issue of migration, have been playing a key role in the work of European filmmakers, and the festival category Eurodrome has been designed specifically for them. The films presented under the category entitled Beyond the Horizon, which look at destinations not only beyond our physical horizon, but frequently even beyond the horizon of our thoughts, reveal the local issues faced by communities that are thousands of kilometres away from us, but may actually have much more in common with Central Europeans than we often admit.
The category Art For Change shows that it is possible to fight for one’s ideals through unusual forms of artistic expression such as performance art or dance. There are two musical films included: Silvana and When the God Sleeps. The protagonist of the latter – Iranian musician Shahin Najafi – will perform a concert during the festival. Another category –Long Live Life – presents the stories of people who have decided to step out of the crowd and face their daily cares and concerns in rather uncommon ways. The category UnEarthed will focus on environmental challenges.
Of course, the traditional categories that viewers know from previous years are once again included. These are: Right to Know, Journeys to Freedom, Panorama, One World Interactive, and Docs for Kids. The category Czech Competition, which was introduced last year, present the best documentaries from the Czech Republic.
It was last year that One World decided to tear down barriers and make its screenings accessible to as many as people as possible regardless of any disability, age, or different native language. We are continuing with our One World for All activities this year by attempting to increase the number of barrier-free screenings and thus coming closer to as many viewers as possible. One World will present ten films with subtitles for the hearing impaired, and four films will be supplemented with an audio commentary for the blind. All of the ceremonies and some of the post-film discussions will be interpreted into Czech sign language. “We believe that the right to culture is a basic human right.For this reason, we try to make our festival accessible to all without exception,” says Milena Poeta, the co-ordinator of the One World for All programme. A new feature this year consists of relaxed screenings, planned specifically for viewers with mental challenges or concentration issues, as well as for anyone who wants to rest while watching a film. “These screenings do not fulfil all of the conditions that a cinema goer expects – the sound is somewhat muted, and the film is shown without any titles and trailers. It is expected that the members of the audience will move around the auditorium during the screening. Something else that is new this year is the fact that we have expanded our team to include experts who face some sort of challenge themselves, who can share their experiences with us and help us to understand their needs, help us understand what an universally accessible cinema means” adds Poeta.
As far as the festival’s dramaturgy is concerned, One World is introducing a programme entitled Talking Cinema. It replaces the panel discussions and will bring to Prague a number of interesting names from the ranks of experts and journalists from the world’s major media. “We’ve selected a programme of five films reflecting key current topics, and invited experts, all of whom will be able to offer Czech audiences a new perspective. They will either make an individual presentation or participate in two-person debates,” explains Ondřej Moravec, the festival’s Programme Director.
The international documentary event EAST DOC PLATFORM, accompanying the festival and inviting industry guests, will take place March 3 – 8, 2018 in Prague. The week-long event will host leading film professionals, distributors, TV and festival programmers. Filmmakers will present documentary projects from Central and Eastern Europe that can win one of several prizes worth a total of EUR 35,000 for further film development. Members of the public are invited to attend a number of interesting lectures by international film professionals. The event is organized by the Institute of Documentary Film.
For those who are impatient, the festival is already featuring one of its films as a part of the Get Your Audience! / Promítej i Ty! project, specifically the film Ask the Sexpert, which looks at sex education in India. This documentary, which will most likely teach you many things that you did not know about sex and the world’s most populous country, may be downloaded and screened free of charge until 20 February. It is available on thewww.promítejity.cz website, where you will find more than fifty other documentaries from the festival’s previous editions available for free download.
We will introduce the festival programme and our international guests at the accreditation press conference that will be held on Tuesday, 20 February at the Tibet Open House in Školská Street. This is the same location at which you will find our new Audience Centre. We will be sending out invitations soon.
For more information, including a downloadable version of this year’s promotional graphic, please visit our website at: https://www.oneworld.cz/2018/download-poster
Immersify - Innovative technologies for Virtual
(January 18, 2018) Virtual Reality (VR) has what it takes to be the next big game- changer in the media sector. In stark contrast to video, TV and the movies, VR applications promise experiences that are not only more intense but, above all, interactive and individual too. Be that as it may, a considerable amount of R&D work still needs to be done to haul VR out of the niches it’s been confined to and launch it on its way to a huge consumer market share. That’s precisely the mission of Immersify, a European R&D consortium made up of the following partners: PSNC - Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (Poland), Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH (Germany), Ars Electronica Futurelab (Austria), Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes (France) and Visualization Center C (Sweden). Immersify was set up in October 2017 and runs until March 2020. Funding is provided by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program.
Immersify Focuses on Four Points
Immersify is concentrating on four challenges. First of all, what’s needed is a new technology for the video compression of data, which is virtually exploding due to higher resolutions, frame rates and constantly improving image formats. Second, media players and formats should be able to support as many different technical environments and devices as possible. Third, creative individuals working with high- quality videos, CGI in 2D and 3D, as well as interactive elements ought to have the option of combining them with each other so that users are in a position to enjoy totally customized experiences. Fourth, Immersify is definitely not to be developed behind closed doors; rather, the intention is to present the ongoing progress of R&D in the form of demos at the Ars Electronica Festival and the Marché du Film in Cannes, where specially developed content and innovative market-oriented products will showcase Immersify’s creative and technical capabilities.
R&D Partners in Five European Countries
Five renowned institutions based in five European countries are collaborating on the Immersify R&D project: PSNC - Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (Poland) is affiliated to the
Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBCH PAS) and is an active research and development center specialized in new generation networking, high resolution and immersive media, scientific applications and visualization, clouds, digital libraries and cyber security, as well as technologies, applications and services for Information Society.
Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH (Germany) develops high-performance video codecs for the next generation of high-quality video applications. Spin Digital codecs enable ultra-high quality video applications such as 4K and 8K UHD, immersive video projection and video walls, and next generation virtual reality and 360° video.
The Ars Electronica Futurelab (Linz, Austria) is a transdisciplinary media art lab that enjoys an international reputation as one of the leading non-university R&D facilities in the areas of media art, information aesthetics, interaction design, persuasive technologies, robotics and virtual environments. One of its many reference projects is the worldwide unique Deep Space 8K, which is to be further developed as part of Immersify.
The Marché du Film - Festival de Cannes (France) is the film industry’s most important event, an annual gathering of more than 12,000 producers, buyers, distributors and representatives of film festivals. Marché du Film is held annually during the Festival de Cannes since 1959. At NEXT, its innovation hub in the heart of the Marché, VR exhibitors and creators coming from the world over showcase their latest VR.
Visualization Center C (Sweden) is a research and science center in Norrköping, conducting a unique mix of leading visualization research and public outreach
activities. The center hosts a digital science center for public visits and events including media labs, interactive exhibitions and an immersive 3D fulldome theatre. The center’s production department creates public experiences based on real scientific data.
PSNC - Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center: http://www.man.poznan.pl/online/en/
Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH: http://spin-digital.com/
Ars Electronica Futurelab: https://www.aec.at/futurelab/en
Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes: http://www.marchedufilm.com/en/
Visualization Center C: http://visualiseringscenter.se/en
Horizon 2020 Programme: https://www.ffg.at/en/content/horizon-2020-eu-programme-research- and-innovation
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 7620799
KATOWICE: FNE spoke with producer Michał Kwieciński who received the Border Gate Award at the International Co-Production Forum Regiofund, that took place in Katowice from 4 to 7 October 2017. The award ceremony was followed by a special screening of Panic Attack, directed by Pawel Maslona. a new film produced by Kwieciński’s company Akson Studio.
FNE: What does this award mean to you?
Michał Kwieciński: I am very touched and delighted, because it was the first time I got this kind of award. It is dedicated to me personally, not me as a company, as a producer, as Akson Studio and so on, this is a small difference, but very important for me. This is not a reward for the productions, which I have about 120, that is the reward for the producer.
FNE: What trends do you see in Polish film industry?
Michał Kwieciński: This year the Gdynia Film Festival proved that the young generation of directors and creators is coming, because 8 out of 14 films in the Main Competition were the debut films. The young generation of filmmakers is attacking our cinematography very strongly. In fact I saw all these debutant films and I think that the main prize for the debutant Potr Domalewski for Silent Night or films such as Panic Attack or Tower. A Bright Day, are very interesting proposals and it seems to me that in a few years our cinematography will belong to the younger generation, which is actually born at this time.
FNE: Are international co-productions the future of European film industry?
Michał Kwieciński: I think so, provided we come to some mutual self-respect. My main problem with co-production, especially with European co-productions is that most people think only about the financial side of the project, and not about the factual content. I hope this will change soon. That is how the so-called “Europuddings” appear. These are movies, where the influence of the many, often extremely different interests of the producers, has an impact on the final shape of the film. I am totally against this style of work, but of course I think we cannot generalize. There are many international co-productions that have deep sense, but there are so many films, that are created just to make the budget come together and not in order to create an important project.
FNE: What are your next plans?
My personal plans are very broad, for 3 years ahead. Currently I am making a Christmas movie called "Love is everywhere". This sounds banal, but the film is not banal at all. After that, I want to make a Bollywood-Polish movie, or even Eurobollywood this time. It will be based on the story of Miss India, arriving to Poland in the 70’s, because she falls in love with a Polish man. This story is authentic and they are living in Szczecin today. She was a princess, a Hindu princess who lived in a two-bedroom apartment in Szczecin for many years in the period of socialism. The last thing I am working on is an adaptation of Filip by Tyrmand, I have already bought the rights from the son of Mr. Tyrmand and I want this film to be completed in 2 years. This is a very ambitious production that no one expected me to make, but I'm dreaming about it, so I hope it will work out.
These are my plans, while Akson Studio, where my son works now, has five feature films planned with young artists. I also produce many TV series and have plans for 4 new shows, which I hope will be completed in 4 or 3 years. A lot is going on and nowadays, I also have this dream that for a while I’ll be more a director, than a producer.
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