New FCL workshops at Karlovy Vary IFF and in Ukraine and Kosovo!

Feb 7, 2019

First Cut Lab is expanding its scope drastically in 2019.  First launched in 2015 at Trieste’s When East Meets West by Matthieu Darras, Alessandro Gropplero and Alex Traila, the program has entered new partnerships that will see more workshops taking place in Europe; an international edition at Karlovy Vary IFF open to Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Middle East. And two national editions, following the initiative in Poland, in Ukraine and Kosovo.


So far 25 films have been supported through the Lab, from a range of different countries such as Lithuania, Slovenia, or Romania. Many of the projects have gone on to premiere in A-list festivals such as Berlinale, Cannes and Toronto, for instance Fugue, by Agnieszka Smoczynska (Poland) that premiered in Cannes Critics’ Week 2018; or Core of the World, by Natalia Meschaninova (Russia – Toronto 2018).

The original format developed in Trieste invites 3 films from Central and Eastern Europe to discuss their rough cut to a selected group of industry advisers as well as to workshop it ‘one on one’ with a consultant editor during several sessions. In January 2019, the lab had its 5th edition at WEMW, with a majority of projects from experienced directors, including Latvian Juris Poškus’ third feature 24 Hours Sunshine and Georgian Dito Tsintsadze’s Inhale/Exhale. Russian Maxim Dashkin attended with the debut Far Frontiers entirely shot in Kyrgyzstan.

Two Polish debut films got also recently workshopped as part of First Cut Lab Poland, organized since 2016 with the support of the Polish Film Institute: Taste of Pho, directed by Mariko Saga (a Polish/German co-production between Lava Films and Rohfilm, see picture above), and Michał Szcześniak’s Fisheye.


First Cut Lab & Karlovy Vary IFF decided to team up in order to implement the concept, with 3 films workshopped at the festival. One project will be selected from Czech Republic or Slovakia; one from Central & Eastern Europe; and one from the Middle East. Spread evenly over the year in January and July, FCL Trieste and FCL Karlovy Vary will become the two main hubs for the program. FCL Karlovy Vary is to take place from July 2nd to 5th.

A quote from Hugo Rosak, Head of Industry of KVIFF: Our KVIFF Eastern Promises industry platform will be enriched with a programme that specifically, and in a practical way, helps filmmakers from our region to make their films even more digestible abroad. This fits in with our goals of helping films to travel beyond their own frontiers.” 

This international Lab will be added to by a slate of collaborations with national film centres. Designed after the model of FCL Poland, the new national FCL workshops will take place in Ukraine and Kosovo, with more workshops in the planning for the 2nd semester 2019.

The first edition of FCL Ukraine is scheduled from March 20th to 23rd 2019 in Kyiv. After the success of alumni project When the Trees Fall by Marysia Nikitiuk, which premiered at Berlinale in 2017, three projects will take part. Pylyp Illienko, Head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency, says about the cooperation: “One of our goals is to enhance the presence of Ukrainian films at the international film festivals and markets through providing opportunities for the Ukrainian film teams and their colleagues from abroad to share their experiences. Therefore, we are glad to welcome First Cut Lab – Matthieu Darras and his colleagues – in Kyiv working together towards completion of the Ukrainian films at editing stage.”

The first edition of FCL Kosovo will take place from July 17th to 19th 2019 in parallel to the Prishtina Film Forum and will see two projects selected. Ilire Vinca, chairperson of the Kosova Cinematography Centre, says: “First Cut Lab Kosovo is a great adventure to begin. KCC is proudly announcing this news. Working with this wonderful group of experts and advisers will be a journey of opportunities for our film makers and industry. We’re ready to hit the road!


Each film will receive in depth feedback on their rough cut by a panel of carefully selected advisers. The first 5 advisers of these upcoming workshops are already confirmed; they are:

Virginie Devesa – Sales Agent at AlphaViolet (France) – She notably handled “The Tribe” by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, and is prepping Berlinale with Romanian debut “Monsters” (Marius Olteanu);

Konstantinos Kontovrakis – Sales Agent & Producer at Heretic (Greece) – the recipient of this year’s Eurimages Coproduction Award is currently handling IFF Rotterdam’s Special Jury Award “Take Me Somewhere Nice” (Ena Sendijarević) ;

Katja Adomeit – Producer at Adomeit Films (Denmark/Germany), coproducer of Anna Eborn’s “Transnistra” (VPRO Big Screen Award at IFF Rotterdam & Best Nordic Documentary at Göteborg FF) ;

François d’Artemare – Producer at Les Films de l’Après-Midi (France), coproducer of Radu Muntean’s “Alice T.” and in post-production with Rubaiyat Hossein’s “Made in Bangladesh”;

Giona A. Nazzaro – General Delegate at Venice International Film Critics’ Week (Italy).

Read the exclusive article about the FCL expension by Cineuropa here.


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