Magazine article Screen International

Belgrade Co-Pro Event Foregrounds Women

Magazine article Screen International

Belgrade Co-Pro Event Foregrounds Women

Article excerpt

Belgrade was the focus of a co-production meeting with a difference last weekend when the FEST Forward Industry Meetings (March 4-6) focused its public pitchings on projects by and about women.

"We decided that the focus should be on the situation of women in the film industry and gender equality because this issue is of particular importance for us in ex-Yugoslavia as well as other parts of the Balkans," said the event's managing director Miroslav Mogorovic.

Ten projects were selected for public pitchings ranging from Serbian first-time director Milica Tomovic's The Last Goodbye, a romantic love story about a young urban couple in a long-distance relationship between Belgrade and Berlin, to Croatian directorial duo Marina Andree Skop and Drazen Zarkovic's children fantasy adventure My Grandpa Is An Alien and Macedonian filmmaker Marija Dzidzeva's drama The Victim (aka Sacrifice) set on the edge of the civil war in 2001.

The line-up of pitches also included Vanja Kovacevic's documentary Supernova portraying the world of the music industry through the life and work of Brian Rasic, the official photographer of the Rolling Stones, the Montenegrin production Hotel Boka by Marija Perovic, which follows the life of the heroine Ana from the hotel's opening in Herceg Novi in 1913 to its destruction by an earthquake in 1979, and the debut As Long As Heaven Allows by Armenian director Tamara Stepanyan, one of the first projects to be developed by Alice Ormières' Paris-based Surprise Alley which she set up with Mogorovic and Germany's Titus Kreyenberg at the end of 2013.

The event wrapped on March 4 with a small showcase of works in progress including actress-director Bojana Novakovic's documentary The Forbidden Aunt for SENSE Production and Lee Filipovski's feature debut, the comedy drama Flafi, as a co-production between Canada's Filmbaker Pictures and Belgrade-based Cineplanet.

The feedback for this new initiative was particularly encouraging for the organisers who had managed to attract industry including ZDF/Arte's Meinolf Zurhorst, French-based producer Cedomir Kolar, German film funders Manfred Schmidt and Brigitta Manthey, Eurimages project manager Susan Newman-Baudais and Aleksandar Govedarica of the distributor/sales agent Syndicado to Belgrade as potential partners for the projects.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the projects from the women directors and screenwriters," Sanja Ravlic of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) said. …

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