Final touches of CIRCLE's vibrant sophomore year 2019

The call for the exclusive one-year training program CIRCLE will be announced by 20 January 2020. We are looking for up to 10 female filmmakers (directors and/or producers) with a strong documentary project in any stage of production (from development to rough cut) who are seeking further support to upgrade their professional skills, develop films with leading experts and bring them to the wider professional audience

Wrapping up things during December 2019 is just a thing one does, it is in our bones. Ideas, conclusions and plans are in the very core of the final days of a year and in the CIRCLE’s project book they are noted with ambitious flavor.

CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator, program for documentary filmmakers and producers who are developing internationally potential projects, is concluding its vibrant sophomore year with an optimistic look towards the next endeavors. Launched in 2018, CIRCLE is training initiative with the main goal of empowering women who work in the film industry through the development of their own projects, as well as through polishing of their professional skills. Introducing them to the current tendencies and tools, as well as providing them with insights in market positioning and networking are some of the pieces of a puzzle called contemporary film-making.

Biljana Tutorov, producer, director and founder of CIRCLE:

“CIRCLE is a filmmakers initiative born out of craving to have a platform where we can in confidence exchange about our projects, helped daily by carefully chosen experts in order to assume our desires as filmmakers and to work together towards the excellence. We are offten too impressed by the industry expectations and forget that we are artists who think through our films. This space of solidarity is something I missed in my early development.“

The program runs in three modules and during 2019 the participants were director and producer Alina Gorlova (Between Two Wars, Ukraine), director and producer Andrea Gautier (Celluloid Nymphs, Spain), director Anđelka Vujinović (4 Goodnight Stories, Serbia),  director Anna Savchenko, (72 Hours, Belarus), director Asia Dér (I Haven’t Died, Hungary), director Charlie Cauchi (Big Silver, Malta), director Federica Martino (Woolman, Italy), director Joanna Janikowska (Comrades, Poland) and finally director Lee Nechushtan (Two Sisters, Israel). They had a chance to to work intensively with numerous experts from film industry.

Alina Gorlova (Between Two Wars, Ukraine)

“I think it's very unique workshop, because I was feeling individual approach to each project. Sometimes you have to protect your film during such programs, but CIRCLE creates this space of trust where you could share your doubts and fears with tutors and participants.“

Since the whole idea of CIRCE is to promote and equip individual female authors for their careers, the list of professionals responsible for the the transfer of knowledge has to be from the top tier. And in 2019 it was pretty much stellar. It all started with the first module in Podgorica (Montenegro) with Rada Šešić, director and selector of The Competition Programme - Documentaries at Sarajevo Film Festival and member of selection teams of IDFA Amsterdam and IFFR Rotterdam; director of the DOK Co-Pro Market, DOK Leipzig’s Brigid O'Shea; scriptwriter and story editor Simona Nobile who is MEDIA, Eurimages and MIBACT consultant and EWA representative. Along them the first module was organized with the input from Tamara Kotevska, co-director of film Honeyland, this year's triple winner at Sundance Film Festival; Goran Dević, director of numerous awarded films, professor at Academy of Dramatic Art Zagreb and producer, distributor and director of Liburnia Film festival Oliver Sertić

The second module in Novi Sad was especially productive with Joana Solecka, marketing expert and a great connoisseur of everything that we call "audience design"; film editor and documentary script consultant Phil Jandaly; Aleksandar Govedarica - sales agent for Syndicado, one of the leading documentary distribution companies; Jelena Mišeljić - producer, programmer and professor at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Cetinje; Ivana Mladenović (Serbia, Romania) - director of the award-winning films Soldiers. Story from Ferentari and Ivana The Terrible, which won the Special Jury Prize in Locarno in 2019 and has been analyzed through a case study; Maša Marković - Cinelink Coordinator and Selector of "Dealing With the Past" program at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Anna Savchenko, (72 Hours, Belarus)

“CIRCLE workshop has been crucial for me and my film project since its my first feature length and getting into the environment of unique expertise in documentary, but at the same time very open, friendly and encouraging, helped me to understand better which path to choose to continue development and enter production of the film, build up a great network with other participants, tutors and film professionals during the workshop sessions and our delegation in Dok Leipzig Co-production market.”

The year-long process of CIRCLE concluded at DOK Leipzig where all the participants had a chance to  impress their colleagues at the 15th DOK Co-Pro Market. EWA – the European Women’s Audiovisual Network has awarded the EWA Development Prize for the best project by filmmakers in the Circle Women Dok Accelerator. Their decision was to split the award to two projects. The financial support went to Between Two Wars by Alina Gorlova and Anna Savchenko received mentorship support to further development of her project 72 Hours for a whole year.

Of course it has to finish with the awards – it is December after all. Preparations for the third CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator are underway and during the January it will all start again: discovering the uncut film gems brought to surface by talented and diligent women film-makers from Europe.

The program is organized by the production company Wake Up Films from Novi Sad in cooperation with UnderhillFest from Podgorica, DOK Leipzig Festival, European Women's Audiovisual Network (EWA), MEDIA Desk Serbia, MEDIA Desk of Montenegro and with the support of the Film Center of Montenegro, Serbian Film Center, City of Novi Sad and the The Petrović Njegoš Foundation.

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