Now in its 9th edition since 2020, First Cut+ is a program that operates twice a year, working in close cooperation with two dynamic and well-established film industry platforms: Trieste’s When East Meets West and Karlovy Vary IFF’s Eastern Promises. Each year a portfolio of 16 feature films is promoted: 8 films during the winter session at Trieste’s When East Meets West, and 8 films during the summer session at Karlovy Vary IFF’s Eastern Promises Industry Days. Participating projects benefit from lectures and individual mentoring consultations on promotion, marketing, PR & press, festivals, and sales strategy from various film industry consultants.
The program is managed by producer Natalia Libet who welcomes returning advisors: Catalin Cristutiu (editor), Katarzyna Siniarska (New Europe Films Sales), Joanna Solecka (Alphapanda), Ninon Benezet & Alexandre Bourg (Nice Guys Agency), Christina Pelekani (Endorphin Film) and Wendy Mitchell.
This January, we also enrich our program with an exclusive master talk “Marketing is your friend: tricks and treats” accessible for the WEMW’s accredited guests. In this session, Christina Pelekani shares useful tips for creating the best possible promotional materials in order to stand out from the clutter. We will learn how to form a marketing strategy by using the “secret weapons” – positioning, benchmarks, strengths & challenges, audience. One of the objectives of the talk is to help the producers think both like a film industry representative (B2B) and a fan (B2C).
Thanks to the sponsorship of TRT, €5,000 cash prize of First Cut+ TRT Award aims at further supporting and highlighting one of the projects showcased at the winter edition in Trieste. It will be decided by a jury consisting of Esra Demirkiran of TRT, Paolo Bertolin of the selection committee of Venice Film Festival and Clément Chautant of the Paris-based Indie Sales.
8 SELECTED PROJECTS
For its 2024 winter session, First Cut+ selected the following eight projects:
Director: Bruno Anković
Producer: Rea Rajčić, Tina Tišljar
We find Mijo hiding in the woods as a soldier at the end of the second World War, and through his life, we explore the circumstances that lead to the expansion of extremism, both in the past and today.
Director: Davi Pretto
Producer: Paola Wink
Company: Vulcana Cinema
Co-producers: Dublin Films (France), Murillo Cine (Argentina), Pasto (Argentina)
In a secluded village of southern Brazil, a young woman returns after years as her father, the village’s powerful farm owner, is dying. While she must take over a legacy heavier than it seems, the sole local doctor struggles to protect the inhabitants from a mysterious settlement.
Director: Ujkan Hysaj
Producer: Ujkan Hysaj, Kushtrim Koliqi
Company: AJO Pictures
At the Women Rehabilitation Center in Kosovo, two patients willingly share their wartime experiences as part of the Art Therapy program.
Hunger Strike Breakfast
Director: Karolis Kaupinis
Producer: Marija Razgutė
Co-producers: Background Films (Czech Republic), Tasse Film (Latvia)
In the early ’90s, Lithuanian TV star Daiva loses her job as the studios are taken over by russian soldiers. Together with several peers, she announces a hunger strike to reclaim the TV station, but the physical toll of the strike reveals the true needs of the protesters.
March to May
Director: Martin Repka
Producer: Tomáš Pertold
Co-producers: 0000 films Mária Pinčíková (Slovakia), Studio BEEP (sound postproduction), Czech Republic, PFX (visual postproduction), Czech Republic
An intimate observation of a regular family, where the parents in their late 40s’, with three teenage children, hear the unexpected news of the mother’s pregnancy.
Director: Omer Tobi
Producer: Hilla Medalia, Gil Sima
Company: Medalia Productions, Sima Films
Co-producer: Filmoption International (Canada)
A lonely middle-aged woman divides time between her monotonous job at the supermarket and taking care of her disabled mother and estranged family members. The mysterious and violent murder of the head cashier at the supermarket, sends her on a journey into the depths of her repressed desire revealing her deep longing for warmth and human connection.
Director: Laura Hermanides
Producer: Chris Stenger
Company: Family Affair Films
This is the story of Aagje, Toon and their son Rick (42). Rick suffers from psychotic episodes, depression and severe headaches. We follow their journey in the last six weeks leading up to the death of Rick. A journey proving that letting someone so close to us go, is the most extreme expression of love.
Wishing on a Star
Director: Peter Kerekes
Producer: Erica Barbiani
Company: Videomante soc. coop.
Co-producers: Mischief Films (Austria), Kerekes Films (Slovakia), Artcam Films (Czech Republic), Restart (Croatia), Volos (Taiwan)
Luciana, a Neapolitan astrologer, promises her clients a method to make their wishes come true. All they need to do is take a birthday trip to a certain destination to be reborn under a new sky. Whether it’s Taipei, Beirut, or a nearby village, during these birthday journeys, the protagonists discover what they really desire. It’s a bittersweet exploration of the struggles we all face in our quest for life chang
Advisors for the winter session 2024 will be:
As a strategy consultant to International Marketing, PR & Press, Michael Aron, partner at Berlin based PR & Marketing agency WOLF Consultants, provides full service strategic consulting focused on positioning projects at any and all stages of development and production.
Romanian editor Catalin Cristutiu, 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 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 Agency, a boutique world sales & consulting company, where she is responsible for the marketing consulting and acquisitions.
As a press specialist, 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 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 a digital strategy 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).
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.