Initiated by Tatino Films, and now in its fourth year of existence to start in 2023, 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.
Along with returning advisors, we are happy to renew and enrich our pool of advisors by bringing marketing specialists Ninon Benezet & Alexandre Bourg (Nice Guys Agency) and Christina Pelekani (Endorphin Film Sales).
As demonstrated by the alumni projects that won Venice’s prestigious Lion of the Future for Best Debut Feature both in 2020 and in 2021, First Cut+ puts a strong attention on new talents. The line-up of First Cut+ Trieste 2023 keeps up with this focus since half of the films presented are first feature films. While being committed to Central & Eastern European films, the program opens up to the world with projects from Azerbaijan (one of the focus countries of WEMW) and Brazil (in cooperation with Projeto Paradiso).
The First Cut+ TRT Award
Thanks to the sponsorship of TRT, Turkish public broadcaster, a €5,000 cash prize called First Cut+ TRT Award aims at further supporting and highlighting one project.
8 SELECTED PROJECTS
For its 2023 winter session, First Cut+ selected the following eight projects:
Director: Emiija Gasic
Producer: Milos Ivanovic, Andrijana Sofranic Sucur
Company: Set Sail Films
Two teenage sisters record their daily lives on a home camera, overwriting older recordings that periodically appear on tape. Their father is soon mobilized. Before he leaves, he asks them to film something nice for him. Days go by, they film nature, night sky during bombing raids and tease Tijana, their youngest sister. Things change when a mysterious boy and his shy baby sister arrive from Belgrade and move in the first neighbor’s house. New friendships, first kisses and first disappointments take over the fear of bombs.
Director: Lillah Halla
Producer: Clarissa Guarilha & Rafaella Costa
Company: Arissas & Manjericão Filmes
On the eve of a volleyball championship, settling for her promising career, Sofía has to deal with an unexpected pregnancy. In pursuit of means to decide for her own future, she has to deal with a group willing to do as much damage as they can, in the name of the common good. But Sofía is not alone and neither she nor those who love her are willing to surrender.
Director: Alessandro Negrini
Producer: Marta Zaccaron, Igor Pedicek
Company: Incipit Film, Casablanca Films
A portrait of the community of Erto, in the Dolomites, which 60 years ago suffered a huge human disaster, due to external ambition and avidity, and still fights for dignity and recognition. Over the past 10 years, the director has filmed the mayor fighting together with his people for not being forgotten by the national institutions. Through the voice of Nature, we see the efforts of the community, which at a certain point breaks up due to a project that aims at creating a work of art on the dam, at the origin of the disaster: while for the mayor and the art curator it is a way to rise up the village and look forward, for some it would be another step to make people forget the tragedy.
Explanation For Everything
Director: Gabor Reisz
Producer: Julia Berkes
Company: Proton Cinema
Explanation for Everything tells a story that unfolds from multiple angles, centered on a high school graduation exam ending in a media scandal. Told from three different perspectives – the nationalist father, György; the liberal teacher, Jakab; and 18-year-old Ábel – the film paints a realistic picture of a country torn in two, where no one speaks to or understands one another.
It Was a Beautiful Day
Director: Perica Rai
Producer: Daniel Hocevar, Zala Opara
Company: Vertigo Ljubljana
Three estranged friends waiting for the fourth one to arrive, meet up in a remote house in the woods, aiming to reconcile. The reunion isn’t going as planned and old tensions and secrets emerge. Things spiral out of control when they encounter uncanny coincidences and dangerous strangers. When the hunt begins the prey won’t be the animals.
My Magical World
Director: Elvin Adigozel
Producer: Maria Ibrahimova, Emil Najaf
Company: Cinex Productions, Ultra Productions
Best friends from childhood Babek and Sahil lead a wedding band in rural Azerbaijan and dream of appearing on “Baku Star” TV show. But when Babek and his girlfriend Zarif go missing, dreams are upended, loyalties are tested, and the band’s world unravels in tragicomic ways.
Director: Domien Huyghe
Producer: Dries Phlypo
Company: A Private View
A North Sea fisherman dies at sea under mysterious circumstances. People whisper that the captain is to blame. His teenage daughter Lena however suspects the ship did not go down by accident. Nobody believes her not even her best friend. When Lena glimpses a huge shadow slithering beneath the sea surface, she is determined to prove that a huge, unknown sea creature is roaming the deep.
What’s To Be Done?
Director: Goran Devic
Producer: Hrvoje Osvadic
15th Art Production
Željko is the head of the Union at a rolling stock company. His deputy committed suicide after the large public protest. Željko is torn between the guilt he feels because of his friend’s death and the expectation of his fellow workers to lead a strike that should thwart the government’s plans to send the company to bankruptcy. This is a paradigmatic story of Eastern Europe. It chronicles the fight of the workers who became losers of the transition. Active in dismantling the communism, they failed to adapt to the ways of the new society. This is a film about fighters and workers, dreamers and revolutionaries, union leaders and trustees in bankruptcy. For a decade now, this film has followed the struggle of the union members, standing a witness to the world of work disappearing in front of the camera.
Advisors for the winter session 2023 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 Film Sales, 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.