Third CentEast Market may not Boogie, but is ready for anything else

By Jorn Rossing Jensen

    Warsaw (CentEast Daily News) -- As the Third CentEast Market at the Warsaw International Film Festival takes off today (Oct. 18), market co-ordinator Rik Vermeulen observed that quality-wise the 2007 line-up of 16 finished films screening at the Kinoteka is by far the best he has presented so far.

    "All the films are fresh. None of them had a life before Cannes. And some of them arrive with international laurels," he explained. "Most are Polish-five features, three novella films-and Estonia has three entries. Also Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania are represented."

    About 180 industry professionals-100 Polish-have registered for the four-day market, including international distributors and sales agents. Non-CentEast companies include Austria's EastWest Filmdistribution, France's MK2, Dreamachine (France-UK), Denmark's Nordisk Film, Trust Film Sales, and Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri.

    Although focusing on completed productions, the CentEast Market is also showcasing works-in-progress; there are four this time, after Romanian director Radu Muntean pulled his screening of Boogie. A rough cut was scheduled both for Warsaw and the Rome Business Street, but he decided to wait for the Berlin International Film Festival.

    Among the entries are the market's first Georgian project, George Ovashvili's The Other Bank (Gaghma Napiri), which needs €120,000 for post-production, and Czech director Petr Zelenka's The Karamazov Brothers (Brati Karamazovi), about a group of actors rehearsing a play from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel at a Gdansk shipyard.

    The Karamazov Brothers was pitched as a new project at last year's CentEast Market. This year 10 directors and producers will have the floor at the Sofitel Victoria to promote upcoming films to potential partners, adding another five Polish projects, with budgets between €218,000 and €10 million.

    Least expensive is Georgian director Giorgi Chalauri's Susa, the story of a 12-year-old boy working at an illegal vodka distillery. The biggest budget is allocated for Polish director Agnieszka Holland's Christine - War My Love, a biopic of Krystyna Skarbek, whom Winston Churchill described as the most outstanding British spy of World War II.
    During the CentEast Market, film professionals will have access to a video library (12 booths) at the Sofitel Victoria in Suites 626-627 between 10.00-20.00, where they can watch festival and market films, adding other new Polish films and works by directors represented in the official programmes.