First Cut Lab is scaling up in 2021!

Apr 2, 2021

5 new Labs were launched during the first trimester 2021, with 20 industry advisors joining workshops for the first time, and our team has enlarged. 

If independent film people have long learnt to juggle uncertainty, the last months have put maximum pressure on their capacities of resilience. At First Cut Lab, this situation taught us that in order to remain relevant, we had to take our flexible approach even further. 

In the first three months of 2021, 16 feature films were workshopped – all online obviously. Schedules have been tailor-made to meet the needs of each film and their progress of editing, also looking each time for the right editor consultant and group of industry advisors. 

Next to First Cut Lab Trieste – now in its 7th edition, no less than 5 Labs were organized for the very first time: with the support of national film agencies (in Belgium, in the Netherlands, and in Slovakia), in cooperation with a film festival (Solothurn Film Days in Switzerland), or a film organization (Beirut DC in Lebanon).


While advisors come back regularly, we were delighted to enlarge our circle of expertise with 20 film professionals – 10 women & 10 men – joining our Labs for the first time.

Film festivals representatives (Locarno, Venice, Toronto, etc.) always take part in numbers, but also producers, broadcasters (Canal+, HBO), and sales & distributors (Haut et Court, Pulsar Content, UDI). They were: Jad Abi Khalil, Karim Aitouna, Mila Aung-Thwin, Pamela Biénzobas, Maria Bonsanti, Laure Caillol, Frédéric Corvez, Gaia Furrer, Stefan Ivančić, Hanka Kastelicová, Peter Kerekes, Yuliya Kim, Dorota Lech, David Meadeb, Veton Nurkollari, Justin Pechberty, Angela Prudenzi, Anna Różalska, Eva Sangiorgi, and Saar Yogev.

Around First Cut Lab co-founder Benjamin Mirguet, editors Jacques Comets, Cătălin Cristuțiu – whose last film won Berlinale’s Golden Bear, Maya Maffioli, Matthieu Taponier, and Sebastian Winkels, now constitute the regular team of collaborators. Director Alexander Nanau, whose film Collective got nominated for two Academy Awards, also came on board recently. Last but not least, Julie Marnay and Cornélia Paris have joined the First Cut Lab team, respectively as editorial advisor and digital communication manager.

A new edition of First Cut+, the program headed by Ilaria Gomarasca and supported by Creative Europe’s MEDIA, took place in January 2021 in cooperation with the When East Meets West Co-Production Forum. Aimed at boosting the promotional strategies of 8 feature films per edition, First Cut+ awarded Holy Emy, the debut feature by Araceli Lemos. 

4 First Cut Lab films premiered in festivals this winter, two in Rotterdam and two in Berlin. Apart from Bariş Sarhan’s Cemil Show (sales: Alpha Violet) that participated in the Big Screen Competition of IFF Rotterdam, all the films were portraits of youth: Looking for Venera, the debut feature by Norika Sefa that won the Special Jury Award of the Tiger Competition; Kateryna Gornostai’s Stop-Zemlia (sales: Pluto Film) that was presented at the Berlinale’s Generation 14Plus; and Ferit Karahan‘s Brother’s Keeper (sales: Intramovies) that won the FIPRESCI Award of Berlinale Panorama.

Spring and summer look equally busy, with at least 6 First Cut Labs coming up – hopefully some of them taking place on-site – organized in cooperation with the Doha Film Institute, the Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein Film Fund, the Karlovy Vary IFF, the IFF New Horizons in Wroclaw, the RE-ACT Initiative, and the Transilvania IFF in Cluj.


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