26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Docu Talents from the East @Sarajevo Film Festival
Your guide to brand new documentary films in progress from Central and Eastern Europe.
Each year since 2005, festival advisors, distributors, buyers and international journalists attend DOCU TALENTS FROM THE EAST – the presentation of the region's most remarkable documentary projects.
Selected projects were presented by the directors and producers to the decision-makers attending the Cinelink Industry Days at Sarajevo Film Festival on August 15, 2022.
Docu Talents Awards 2022
Current Time TV Docu Talent Award
The Docu Talent Award 2022 was granted to the most promising project. The international jury selected a personal story from contemporary Ukraine Dad’s Lullaby directed and produced by Lesia Diak. The award is accompanied with financial prize 5,000 USD, in cooperation with the festival’s partner Current Time TV.
The jury gave the following statement: “A heartfelt depiction of a life under impossible circumstances. Such a personal story is a valuable way to understand the scars of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.”
DAFilms.com Distribution Award
The 3,000 EUR in-kind DAFilms.com Distribution Award was awarded to an archive-constructed film about unofficial history told from the women's perspective Between Revolutions by Romanian director Vlad Petri and produced by Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan. The award covers international VOD release on DAFilms.com (including Americas, Europe, Asia) for two years.
The jury gave the following statement: “A true international co-production, it uses a unique method of letter-reading to express a friendship that survives revolutions, regimes and time itself; and has relevance to a world that needs female solidarity as much as ever today.”
Jury in 2022
Natalia Arshavskaya / Current Time TV
Martichka Bozhilova / Agitprop
Ben Dalton / Screen International
Nina Numankadić / DAFilms
Jarmila Outratová / Ji.hlava IDFF
Selected Docu Talents from the East 2022 projects
The following documentary projects in post-production were presented at the 18th Docu Talents from the East @Sarajevo FF as part of the Cinelink Industry Days at Sarajevo Film Festival.
Countries: Romania, Croatia, Iran, Qatar
Synopsis: Two women from Romania and Iran become friends during their medical studies in Bucharest. Bound by the same hopes and dreams for their future, they keep each other’s secrets. The Iranian revolution of 1979 separates them, but their friendship endures through the letter exchange.
As Romania is getting closer to the Revolution in 1989, they are becoming trapped between the fear for the present, the longing for change, and the hope for a different future. This is an archive-constructed film about unofficial history told from the women's perspective who are surviving oppression.
Director's biography: Vlad Petri is interested in political and social subjects, often mixing personal images with official archives. His films, bordering between documentary and fiction, have been shown at international film festivals like Rotterdam, Sarajevo and Jihlava. He won three Romanian GOPO awards – for best debut (2015) and best short film (2021, 2022) and The Jury’s Special Mention at Sarajevo (2021). His selected filmography includes Where are you Bucharest?, The deer passed in front of me (short) and The Same Dream (short).
Production company: Activ Docs
Activ Docs is a Romanian production company focused mainly on creative and social documentaries that explore societies and people from a political perspective, fighting against cliches and power representations, in new, engaging and active ways.
Synopsis: After 3 years at war between Ukraine and Russia, Serhiy returns home burned out and traumatized. He had served as a commander and was responsible for other people’s lives. Now he wants peace for himself and his family. The veteran starts working night shifts and dedicates short hours of rest to his three sons and wife. Serhiy enjoys this phase of the family reunion. However, the shadow of war manifests when the couple is expecting a baby daughter. This event brings more hope and responsibilities for Serhiy. At first, he struggles a lot with maintaining his relationship but eventually, right after the baby is born, Serhiy cracks and leaves his family.
Director's biography: With a master‘s degree in communications in 2017, Lesia graduated from the Serhiy Bukovsky Film Program. Since 2021, she’s been studying Documentary Film Directing at the international film school DocNomads. Lesia frequently explores themes such as the effects of war and mental health. She directed a 16-min film entitled Strong, But Not Steel at the IndieLab Young Film Makers' workshop. This short film was selected for the Global Short Doc Forum for the 2018 edition of One World Media. Dad’s Lullaby is Lesia’s first feature-length directorial endeavour.
Production company: Lesia Diak
I was working with the production company UpUa Studio, but since the war escalated in Ukraine it became very difficult for the Ukrainian production landscape to function properly. So now I am producing my film myself and I am looking for partners and co-producers in Europe.
Countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, USA
Synopsis: Marie, a young Czech immigrant, managed to break through in the extremely competitive New York photography scene. Doing so, she changed her artistic field completely. Because she met Thomas. The film follows a three-year phase in the personal and professional lives of Marie and Thomas, partners in work and life – their passion and obsession for art, their fearlessness to make their vision a reality, and the boundless effort that requires. The film is a testimony to the moments that shape young artists’ careers, with all the uncertainties they must overcome to make their dreams come true.
Director's biography: Marie Dvořáková is a Czech-born filmmaker based in New York. She is the winner of the Student Academy Award for her short film Who’s Who in Mycology. Her work was shortlisted for the AICP Show at MoMA and the Cannes Young Director Award Show. Between 2016–2019 Marie ran an art house cinema located at the historic Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan. She also gained experience in 2D/3D animation and motion graphics working as a creative director at the animation studio The Studio NYC in New York. She holds film degrees from FAMU and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Production company: Evolution Films, s.r.o.
Czech production company Evolution Films, founded in Prague in 2006, produces feature films (Big Opening, 2022, d. Miroslav Krobot), TV series, documentaries (regular cooperation with Olga Sommerova, Červená, 2017, Czech Lion for Best Documentary Film, and The Magic Voice of a Rebel, 2014 and Film Spa, 2015, d. Miroslav Janek, Czech Lion for Best Television Documentary or Series), music videos and animation to various projects for Czech TV.
Synopsis: Brisa and Guaxi are a young couple of street poets who live in the favelas of Salvador da Bahia in Brazil. They earn a living by performative interventions with poetry and music in the spaces of public transport. They associate themselves with the art movement of Poets from The Marge, from the sixties, a time of dictature in Brazil. Only words are their weapon. They want revolution sparked by social education, fighting for their basic human rights.
Michał Mądracki. Filmmaker, producer. Since 2008 he has collaborated with the MML collective with his brother Maciej and Gilles Lepore. Their documentary films and video installations are shown in art spaces and at international film festivals.
Edyta Adamczak. Author of short animated films. Her previous Eatself (2018) was screened, among others: 61. DOK Leipzig, 43. Hongkong, 58. Krakow, 21. Guanajuato. Her latest animation Blooming Brain (2022) will have its Polish premiere at the 62nd Krakow FF. She teaches animation at the Polish – Japanese Academy of Information Technology in Warsaw, Poland.
Production company: MML studio
MML Studio is based in Poland (since 2008). Their documentary films and video installations are shown in art spaces and at international film festivals, such as FID Marseille, FNC Montreal, Oberhausen IFF, IDFA and institutions like Anthology Film Archives, or MoMA in New York.
Countries: Slovakia, Czech Republic
Synopsis: The documentary The Boundaries of Fidelity is an intimate probe into society, partnerships, their dark places, and our innermost selves. It follows the decision to leave behind the generally accepted norms of couple cohabitation and to take a walk through the minefield of our emotions, fears, insecurities, and inner freedom. It is an author's documentary based on the story of a couple that is determined to find their own way, which is more demanding than it first seemed and will change them both forever.
Director's biography: Diana Fabiánová‘s debut The Moon Inside You premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and has since been shown in over 150 festivals around the world. Co-produced by ARTE, the film was pre-bought by a number of European television networks as well as by MED, a US educational program for colleges & universities. An educational version for children called Monthlies was created by crowdfunding, with financial support from people from 33 countries. At that time, it was the most successful Slovak and Czech film project on domestic and international crowdfunding platforms. The global premiere of the movie was held on one day in more than 200 locations, in 22 countries around the world.
Production company: Dayhey, s.r.o.
In recent years, the company has been involved in the preparation of numerous film projects. Of these, the following were supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund: the TV series with an environmental and ecological focus Be Minimal, a feature documentary on the real-estate development practices BIRD HILL, the feature film Ráčik and the co-produced animated film Diplodocus, which the company has already been involved in for two years.
Countries: Hungary, Portugal, Belgium, Iran
Synopsis: Middle-aged and divorced, Peter leads a lonely life in his untidy remote house overlooking the city of Budapest. He arranges an online date, which is a failure as the woman does not show up. Peter’s children do not show up at his place even though he made plans for their visit. He remains socially isolated in his fairly big house until he meets Hanna online via Couch Surfing – a website where backpackers can arrange free homestays – and she asks to stay for a day and night. Hanna’s presence substantially breaks through the house’s isolation.
Hanna leaves tomorrow.
Director's biography: Khosro Khosravi was born in Tehran, Iran. He began acting in the theatre while still a child and continued until he began studying filmmaking and film studies at Soore Art University in Tehran. Later, he received his master’s degree from DocNomads, a program supported by the European Commission. So far, he has already had a career in several filmmaking fields.
Synopsis: Željko is the head of the union at the “Gredelj” railway car factory. His deputy Mladen committed suicide after the union staged large public protests. Željko is torn between the guilt he feels because of Mladen’s death and the expectation of the workers to lead a strike that should thwart the government’s plans, ordered by the EU, to send the company to bankruptcy. After 10 years of fighting for their labour rights, workers gather again in an abandoned and destroyed factory. In the end, this film fulfils their last wish regarding “Gredelj”.
Director's biography: Goran Dević studied law, archaeology and film art at the Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, Croatia. He teaches documentary film at the Academy of Dramatic Arts and is the author of the following award-winning documentary films: On the Water (2018), The Steel Mill Café (2017), Two Furnaces for Udarnik Josip Trojko (2012), Don Juan: Excuse Me, Miss (2010), The Flood (2010), Happy Land (2009), Three (2008), I Have Nothing Nice to Say to You (2005), Imported Crows (2004) and others. The film The Blacks (2009), which he co-directed, was his feature film debut and won several awards: Grand Prix at the Ljubljana International Film Festival 2009, Grand Prix at the Auteur Film Festival, Serbia, 2009, the FIPRESCI Award and the Special Award for Directing at FilmFestival Cottbus 2009. Retrospectives of his documentaries have been screened at Arsenal Berlin and the Crossing Europe Filmfestival Linz.
Production company: Petnaesta Umjetnost
The production company 15th Art Productions (Petnaesta umjetnost d.o.o.), based in Zagreb, Croatia, was founded in 2007 by the director Goran Dević and producer Hrvoje Osvadić. Initially, the company was mainly dedicated to the production of documentaries with strong social themes, but recently the company expanded to fictional films as well. The company‘s portfolio includes over 25 titles of documentaries and feature films, as well as a 12-part documentary TV series for Croatian national television.
Countries: Norway, Ukraine
Synopsis: You Know It's Going To Be About War is a collective portrait of Ukrainians at war. After a few months, people start going back to their regular lives despite the intangible danger of missile strikes hanging over cities as the need for normality begins to overpower the fear of death.
All the characters are connected by their close relationship with the director. Through candid conversations with her friends and family, the director seeks an understanding of how to navigate the new reality, where war becomes a routine without an end in sight. It is a journey of celebrating life despite the war.
Director's biography: Olha was working as a freelance editor for commercial projects but wanted to find different avenues into the industry. That experience brought her to the Kyiv-based production company Minimal Movie. She was working as a director’s and producer’s assistant on documentary projects until Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. After the beginning of the invasion, Olha took a step toward directing a documentary short about her personal experience of living in a country at war.
Production company: Montevideo Tromsø AS
Montevideo is a production company in Northern Norway, which is run by a Norwegian / Northern Irish duo. After working with commercial productions both in Norway and around the world for the last seven years, they decided to go back to their roots and also produce fiction films and documentaries. They will present their first documentary at this year’s festival.
Countries: Estonia, Japan
Synopsis: Yoyogi is a place of freedom transcending beyond everything human. Like the first flight to the sky. This film combines two strange and seemingly overlapping peculiarities. On the one hand, it is distant, almost scientific in its dryness, observation of ordinary scenes of people’s lives in the park, but on the other hand, a feeling of some kind of magic and the impossibility of what is happening.
Director's biography: Max Golomidov is a cinematographer, colourist, and director. He was born in 1984 in Estonia, Tallinn. He graduated from the Baltic Film and Media School as a cinematographer in 2008. He filmed such documentaries as Anthill and Hippodrome by Vladimir Loginov. He did the colour for Rubiks Road by Laila Pakalnina and Close Relations by Vitaly Mansky. Max moved to Tokyo, Japan in 2014 following a job offer as a colourist. Yoyogi is Max’s directorial debut set in a Tokyo’s park called Yoyogi.
Production company: Allfilm
Allfilm is an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated production house operating since 1995. The company’s scope of activity varies from developing and producing quality features, documentaries, TV series, and commercials. We also come on board as a co-production partner and provide production services under the cash-rebate scheme. Over the years Allfilm has produced more than 80 films, including 23 international co-productions.
Since 2005, Docu Talents has been a launch pad for a number of documentaries, including Rabbit a la Berlin, Blind Loves, Matchmaking Mayor, Cooking History, René, Fortress, Pipeline, Daniels´s World, Under the Sun, FC Roma, Close Relations, The Road Movie, Honeyland and FREM.
Docu Talents from the East @Sarajevo Film Festival
is held as part of the Visegrad Accelerator.