FNE at Berlinale 2023: Slovenian Cinema in Berlin

By Slovenian Film Centre

    Slovenian Talents at Berlinale - Urša Menart’s new film in development, titled Everything That’s Wrong With You, will be presented at the co-production market of the 73rd Berlinale, which is to take place from 16 to 26 February. This is the first Slovenian participation in the co-production market in sixteen years.

    The lonely, unemployed Maruša travels to the Netherlands to visit her charismatic yet seriously ill friend Alja, whom she only knows through online interactions. The face-to-face meeting soon reveals unpleasant facts that put their friendship to the test.

    The film subtly perceives the mental state of the younger generation that is still making its way in society and which has been subject to the social phenomenon of the “loneliness epidemic”, a condition that has only intensified during the pandemic crisis. Through the story of an unusual friendship between two women, it focuses on themes such as contemporary migration, the search for one’s identity and place in modern society, and highlights the absurd contrast: the thorough global interconnectedness of a generation on the one hand and the increasing Everything That Is Wrong with You by Urša Menartloneliness of individuals within it on the other.

    The film is produced by the Vertigo production company, and producers Katja Lenarčič and Danijel Hočevar stated the following: “We are delighted that Urša Menart’s Everything That’s Wrong With You will be presented this year at the Berlin Co-production Market, one of the most important and prestigious co-production markets in the world. The project has been selected from among more than 300 applications and will thus be one of 33 film projects in development that will have the opportunity to present themselves to the potential financiers, co-producers, and sales agents between 18 and 20 February. We are particularly proud to be a part of the selection because this is the fourth Slovenian project to be accepted for the co-production market in all the years of its existence and the first film in as many as sixteen years. It has already received funding in Slovenia and Serbia, and thus the co-production market is an ideal opportunity to attract additional partners and promote the film because every year, the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the most important category A festivals, is attended by producers and film decision-makers from all over the world.”

    Everything That’s Wrong With You is the second feature by Urša Menart, who graduated from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television in Ljubljana in 2010 with a degree in film and television directing. Urša, a live-action and documentary film and TV show director and screenwriter, has been a self-employed professional in culture since 2010. She is a member of the European Film Academy, the Directors Guild of Slovenia (also its president from 2019 to 2020), and the Screen Actors Guild of Slovenia.

    The film is co-produced by Thalia Productions (Serbia) and RTV Slovenija (Slovenia). It has secured funding from the Slovenian Film Centre, Film Centre Serbia, Creative Europe – MEDIA, and Re-Act.

    On the first day of the festival, on 16 February at 18:15 in CinemaxX 11, Ivan Gergolet’s first film The Man Without Guilt, produced by Staragara, which had its world premiere at the Black Nights festival in Tallinn in November 2022, will be screened at the market.

    The film tells the story of Angela, an asbestos widow who meets the man responsible for her husband’s death. To punish him, she becomes his nurse and thus enters a maze of emotions where she cannot distinguish between revenge and forgiveness or tell lies from the truth.

    Meanwhile, the director Peter Cerovšek and editor Lukas Miheljak have qualified for the 21st edition of Berlinale Talents, dedicated to discovering new filmmakers from all over the world.

    Peter Cerovšek is a filmmaker, screenwriter, director, curator, critic, and journalist. He is the director of the Ljubljana Short Film Festival (FeKK) and the Centre for Contemporary Arts SCCA Ljubljana, where he also manages the art video, film, and new media archives. In co-production with the Slovenian Cinematheque, he founded the festival of experimental audiovisual practices V-F-X Ljubljana. He is also the curator of the short film programme at the Ljubljana Film Festival (Liffe) and a founder, producer, and one of the mentors at the Short Scene screenwriting workshop.

    Lukas Miheljak graduated in editing from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television. In 2019, he qualified among the Sarajevo Film Festival talents. In addition to many music videos, he has also worked as an editor on the short film Sisters, which has won numerous awards at festivals worldwide, including for editing.

    The book Why I Don’t Write by the Slovenian author Dijana Matković, published by the Cankarjeva založba publishing house in 2021, has qualified among the eleven literary works to be presented on 20 February at the Books at Berlinale event in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair, whose guest of honour this year is Slovenia.

    The autofictional essayistic novel Why I Don’t Write, which is also a major fiction bestseller in Slovenia, was selected from among 190 titles from more than thirty countries. It is the first Slovenian literary work to be shortlisted by the jury. In their explanation, the jury stated that all the selected titles had shown considerable potential for adaptation to film and TV series. Publishers and literary agencies will present the works to more than 550 producers and co-production investors.

    Dijana Matković’s novel Why I Don’t Write, which includes scenes from the author’s life that are strongly intertwined with social and literary reflection, tells the story of the forces that prevent those from below from existing and creating. The novel’s title could also be Why I Write, as it shows that injustice can be challenged by transcending and merging identities into class consciousness and creating a broader community based on solidarity. It is a novel for our times, a story about the 21st-century late capitalist society, for which Dijana Matković has found a language – honest about the pain, imbued with analytical doubt, and militant in its demand for the truth.

    Dijana Matković (1984) is a writer, translator, journalist, the editor of the Disenz portal, as well as the author of the short fiction collection In the Name of the Father (2013).

    The other selected titles come from Austria, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and Norway.

    For the eighteenth time, the Slovenian Film Centre – the central film institution in Slovenia – will present Slovenian films at a joint venue together with the Czech Film Fund and the Slovak Film Institute under the common trademark CEC-Central European Cinema.

    For this occasion, the Slovenian Film Centre has also prepared the new 2023 film guide.