Magazine article Screen International

Kosslick to "Godfather" SOFA Training

Magazine article Screen International

Kosslick to "Godfather" SOFA Training

Article excerpt

Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick is to serve as a "godfather" to the new training venture School of Film Agents (SOFA) and has revealed he wants attract more TV product to Berlin's EFM.

Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily during his first ever visit to the New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Kosslick said: "The only thing I can do is contribute my know-how, which is quite large because I know a lot of people and have experience of running such projects."

Initiated by the Cologne-based non-profit organisation Filmplus, SOFA is run in cooperation with the City of Wroclaw, the Polish Film Institute and the New Horizons Association, with funding and support from 15 institutions and organisations including MEDIA Desk Poland, the International Visegrad Fund and Goethe Institutes in Georgia, Romania and Hungary.

"From the outset, the idea was not to make a big announcement but to use the network of friends and acquaintances for recommendations," said SOFA initiator Nikolaj Nikitin.

"We were looking for potential participants who are so energetic and thirsty for knowledge in order to realise their project."

It would appear that Nikitin's address book had been working overtime to gather both participants and tutors for the first edition of this training programme aimed at supporting innovative film and cinema projects from Central and Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Germany.

Some reactions following the presentation of SOFA in Wroclaw described the programme as bordering on "neo-colonialism" or "quasi incestuous".

It seems to stretch a point to describe participants Mira Staleva (who has worked at the Sofia Film Festival for the past 13 years), New Horizons and New Europe Film Sales' Jan Naszewski or Johannes Rexin, the German co-producer of Bal and Hannah Arendt as "upcoming film professionals".

The programme, which has a budget of [euro]140,000, with [euro]30,000 coming from the City of Wroclaw, until 2016, selected a total of 11 participants, including Hungarian distributor Gabor Böszörmenyi, Transilvania International Film Festival's location manager Melinda Bros and Ketie Daniela, formerly of the Georgian National Film Centre.

Polish cinema at the Berlinale

Speaking about Polish cinema at the Berlinale, Kosslick observed there had been "a long tradition of Polish films screening in Berlin" with 14 titles showing in the various festival sections over the past five years. …

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