Karlovy Vary’s eastern promises set to improve their game – Deadline

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Eastern Promises, the popular industry wing of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, has spent the last two years relegated to an online-only event due to Covid-19, but the upcoming seventh edition of the event is now gearing up for what he hopes will be a vintage year as it returns in physical capacity on Sunday June 3rd.

The three-day event, which aims to promote regional and international filmmakers to distributors, sales agents, producers and festival programmers, will unveil 35 selected film projects – all at different stages – through its Works in Progress, Works in Development – Feature Launch, Presentations of First Cut+ Works in Progress and Odessa International Film Festival Works in Progress. The most promising projects will receive prizes totaling up to €125,000 ($151,850).

“The most important thing right now is that we are back in a physical situation and on location,” says Hugo Rosák, head of the film industry office. “We tried the online edition in previous events and now we can’t wait to get back to the physical launch event.”

This year, its First Cut+ program, which was launched in 2020 to boost the marketing of feature films that participated in its First Cut Lab, is now expanding to include projects beyond Central and Eastern Europe, which was usually his mission in the past. . Much like its new Proxima Competition strand, which opens up to include stories from beyond the region, First Cut+ will this year feature projects from Canada, Brazil as well as a co-production between the UK, the United States and India baptized Goldfish.

“We are testing it,” says Rosák. “I always want our industry section to stay specialized in some way because we always want to be relevant and have expertise in something. A lot of these Central and Eastern European projects often have a much tougher path to being fully produced at the end, especially from Eastern European countries, so we see this as always a mission for us on the side of industry, but we are also experimenting with including projects from a wider geographic pool. I’m excited and curious to see how this will unfold.

Elsewhere, the festival is launching its KVIFF Talents, its talent development program which will run throughout the year. The aim is to support emerging filmmakers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia and provide them with “another way of producing”.

Karlovy Vary

“In the Czech film space, we have this kind of situation where many filmmakers are just waiting to see their first feature film produced once they have received funding from the state fund, but the state funding does not not necessarily support bold or unambitious budget projects,” he says. “They are of course very careful in how they distribute taxpayers’ money and I think we will see even less money distributed in the years to come. This is our way of seeking creativity and approaching it. We want to give the opportunity to create something on a small budget [within €200,000].”

Rosák adds that the goal is to pair selected projects and talent with mentors and collaborators “in a personalized way.”

That way, he says, “they will have a better chance of finding private equity funds later on and a better chance of finding state funding because they will have already taken this type of development workshop.”

KVIFF Talents is divided into two sections, held in parallel: the “Creative Pool” focuses on ideas for audiovisual works of any format or genre ranging from short films to web series to podcasts while the “Feature Pool will support live-action films that have the potential to be made quickly.

Additionally, located in the new KVIFF.TV Park space, the festival will launch its Film Distribution Innovation Hub, a public showcase that will include different innovative digital tools set up by various representatives of technology companies to offer alternative methods of distributing films. works.

As previously announced, the Odessa Film Festival in Ukraine is set to organize its own Works In Progress section in the industry stream. Directed and programmed entirely by the team of the Odessa Film Festival, Karlovy Vary offers a space for this festival for the screenings of works in progress. The Odessa film festival is due to take place from July 23-30 and its festival director, Anna Machukh, said the format of the festival – whether it takes place online or in person – will depend on the situation in Ukraine at that time.

“It’s something that we hope will be useful to our Ukrainian friends because in a way it will help these films to not get stuck in the pipeline and hopefully have a chance to be done,” says Rosák. “A lot of funding in Ukraine has, of course, gone to war and not movies. So hopefully we can at least showcase the work that is out there.

Rosák says this initiative felt like a “more meaningful way” to support Ukraine rather than showing a retrospective of Ukrainian films. »

He adds: “We really want to help these producers to always be able to showcase what they have. For us, it is the continuation of two years of uncertainty because, we have just had the pandemic and now we also feel that there are so many uncertainties around the war. We must help our Ukrainian friends in every possible way. »

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