First Cut+ Karlovy Vary 2023 takes place onsite in Karlovy Vary for the works-in-progress session, lectures and individual mentoring consultations on promotion, marketing, PR & press, festivals, and sales strategy from various film industry consultants. A public presentation of all projects will take place on the 4th of July 2023 at 1PM.
While remaining committed to Central & Eastern European films, First Cut+ opens up to the world with projects from Canada, Brazil, and the Netherlands. In cooperation with Projeto Paradiso, we continue our endeavor of spotlighting the breadth of talents coming up from Brazil, this time with an exciting debut feature by George Walker Torres – “The Woman Who Cries”. Unexpectedly, we have another project from Brasil this time — Pasargada, a debut by Dira Paes. Moreover, in this selection of 8 projects there are 6 debuts!
This year, we will enrich our program with a session “Helping your Film to the International Market: Editing, PR, and Marketing Before You Launch” accessible for the KVIFF’s Industry accredited guests on the 4th of July at 11AM. In this session, we explore the vital aspects of preparing a film for the international market. We will focus onto significance of editing, PR, and marketing strategies in maximizing the film’s potential. Our panelists, including Catalin Cristutiu, multi-awarded Romanian editor, along with Wolf Consultants’ PR and Marketing expert Laurin Dietrich, and Matthieu Darras, CEO of Tatino Films & co-founder of First Cut Lab, will discuss practical strategies to ensure a film connects with global audiences.
Thanks to the sponsorship of TRT, Turkish public broadcaster, the €5,000 cash prize First Cut+ TRT Award aims at further supporting and highlighting one project. It will be decided upon by a jury consisting of Esra Demirkiran of TRT, Francesca Tiberi of True Colors and Marge Liiske of BE & Industry Tallinn @POFF. The award will be given during KVIFF Eastern Promises Industry Days’ Award Ceremony on the 4th of July at 8:30PM.
8 SELECTED PROJECTS
For its 2023 summer session, First Cut+ selected the following eight projects:
Director: Harley Chamandy
Producers: Chantal Chamandy, Laurent Allaire
Company: Mother and Son Films, Chasseurs Films
“Allen Sunshine” tells the story of a former music mogul who retreats to an isolated lake-side home to grieve his famous wife’s suicide. He copes by composing ambient-electronic music and by nurturing an unexpected friendship with two young boys whom he meets on the lake fishing. Throughout the course of his stages of grief, Allen encounters characters that remind him of what he’s lost and forgotten, and what he hopes to gain and reconcile.
Kosovo, North Macedonia
Director: Parta Kelmendi
Producers: Aferdita Saracini Kelmendi, Marija Dimitrova
Company: RTV21 & Nam Creative
Kosovo, 1990: After a series of unfortunate events, Era and her family are forced to move from Pristina to the village of her grandmother. She will need to leave behind her friends, her boyfriend, her life as she knows it and at the same time to comply with the village’s rules. As she tries to adapt to the new reality, the dynamics in her life change, redefining her relationship with her parents, her youth, her future. Things change when she meets Fatos, whose job is to help people escape the country illegally. For Era, he seems like a way out, but is he? What she really wants is to fight for her own voice.
Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Norway, Serbia
Director: Sonja Prosenc
Producer: Rok Sečen
When a young stranger enters a seemingly perfect family, the idyllic bubble they had been living in bursts, and the chaos of the outside world infiltrates their lives, revealing their flaws, deepest fears, and dreams.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
The Netherlands, The Philippines, Belgium
Director: Morgan Knibbe
Producers: Frank Hoeve and Armi Rae Cacanindin
Company: Baldr Film
In the stormy slums of bustling Manila, eleven-year-old street urchin, Ginto, dreams of escaping his scavenger life to become a gangster, while grappling with his blossoming sexuality. Meanwhile, Dutch tourist Michael’s world crumbles when he discovers he’s been deceived by his online Filipino girlfriend, leading him into the underbelly of the city’s red light district, where desire meets sinister demand. As their paths converge, Western wealth and postcolonial poverty collide, creating a brutal and cinematically stunning venture into the garden of earthly delights.
I Don’t Love You Anymore
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania
Director: Zdeněk Jiráský
Producer: Jordi Niubó
Company: i/o post s.r.o.
Marek (13) films socially themed videos, making him an outsider among classmates. At home, his mother’s new acquaintance disrupts their idyllic relationship. In the most sensitive phase of life, Tereza (12) enters his path. Despite their social differences, they develop a liking for each other. Teenage games spiral out of control with a simulated kidnapping, culminating in a runaway from home. They board a train heading farthest. After a series of small adventures, they get lost in a labyrinth of endless freedom. The attraction of desperation turns into the taste of loneliness and fear of the unknown, and emotional outbursts begin to drown in the loss of illusions.
Director: Dira Paes
Producers : Eliane Ferreira; Dira Paes; Pablo Baião
Company : Ímã Filmes
During her secret mission in the middle of the tropical forest, Irene (50), a lonely ornithologist, feels the effects that the full exuberance of this place provokes on her body and mind. When the true purpose of her mission is revealed, it brings to the surface the ambiguity between her desires and her duty in the face of the illegal trafficking of wild birds that threatens that paradise. She starts to question her new sanctuary that may also be her own abyss.
Director: Martin Boross
Producers: Gábor Osváth, Dániel Mayer
A young film director, Tamás is invited to a village to lead a summer art workshop for kids. He quickly discovers that the village is overrun with corruption and exploitation. He starts an investigation into the abusive mayor and exposes him by shooting a documentary, but his good intentions threaten everyone involved. The mayor finds out about Tamás’ new mission, the locals turn against each other, and what began as an easygoing summer adventure results in disaster.
Martin Boross’ feature debut is a critical reflection on the filmmakers’ responsibility and harmful activism in an all-too-familiar microcosm of oppression.
The Woman who Cries
Director: George Walker Torres
Producer: Antonio Junior
Miguel, a 7-year-old boy, lives with three generations of estranged women in an old house. Among them his mother who, adrift with the trauma of her divorce, distances herself from the boy. Miguel takes refuge in Carmen, an enigmatic Venezuelan immigrant who works as a maid for his Brazilian family. Carmen becomes an ambiguous mother figure for the boy and develops an intimate and unusual bond with him by triggering his inner world and introducing him to a universe in which the real and the imaginary intertwine
Advisors for the summer session 2023 will be:
As a marketing strategy specialist, Alexandre Bourg is the co-founder of Nice Guys Agency, specialized in communication in the cultural sector and more particularly in cinema. He was previously Publicity Manager of the Cannes Film Festival for 3 years. After graduating, Alexandre has worked for Le Pacte, le Public Système Cinéma respectively in marketing and PR. He then joined StudioCanal for several years where he became International Publicity Manager, before specializing in festival with Deauville Film Festival, CanneSeries and finally Cannes Film Festival. Besides that, he teaches Film Marketing at the Paris 8 University.
The Romanian editor Catalin Cristuțiu, who worked on some of the most appreciated films in Romanian Cinema (directed by, among others, Radu Jude, Florin Serban, Silviu Purcarete, Anca Damian) will be advising about what excerpts to choose for the best launching of the film.
As Press specialists.
Wendy Mitchell is a journalist, moderator and film festival
consultant. She is a contributing editor at Screen International, the UK and Nordic delegate for San Sebastian and a consultant for the International Film Festival Rotterdam and Zurich Film Festival. She has also been a speaker, mentor or consultant for Berlinale EFM, Cannes Marche, EAVE, First Cut Lab, The National Film and TV School and more.
As a marketing and positioning strategy colsultant, Christina is an experienced film industry professional, who has started working in the film business as a creative director in films’ campaigns, marketing manager & acquisitions’ consultant. In 2020, Christina co-founded Endorphin Film Sales, a boutique world sales & consulting company, where she is responsible for the marketing consulting and acquisitions.
As Sales specialist.
Katarzyna Siniarska has been a part of Warsaw-based boutique world sales agency New Europe Film Sales since 2013; first as a Sales Executive then Head of Sales and a partner at the company. She is also active as a board member of Europa International (2019-2021). New Europe works with international content and sells it to all rights, theatrical, TV and VOD buyers across the world and is proud of its small, carefully-selected catalogue of feature films and shorts. The company has a great track record for supporting auteur cinema and unique voices – recent titles include 92nd Academy Awards nominated CORPUS CHRISTI and Venezia 77 Best Screenplay winner THE DISCIPLE.
As Digital marketing specialist.
Film marketing and audience design strategist, Joanna Solecka is the Head of film marketing agency Alphapanda’s Polish branch, covering the CEE, US and Scandinavian market. Among the latest international projects, Joanna handled campaigns for are: GIRL PICTURE (Sundance Audience Award Winner ‘22), HOW TO SAVE A DEAD FRIEND (Visions du Reel ’22), FLEE (European Film Awards Winner ’21), NINJABABY (SXSW Audience Award Winner ’21).