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Pitching in Thessaloniki 2013

Docs in Thessaloniki consists of a five-day program, where 21 selected documentary projects will be developed, re-written and pitched.

These are the selected projects for 2013:
Agora / Produced by: Anastasia Skoubri, Small Planet Productions / Directed by: Yiorgos Avgeropoulos / Greece

April 28 (Every Face has a Name) / Produced by: Lennart Ström, Auto Images / Directed by: Magnus Gertten / Sweden

Baths People / Produced by: Laura D'amore & Giulio Pedretti, Donquixote & Jump Cut / Directed by: Stefania Bona & Francesca Scalisi / Italy

The Battle with Satan / Produced by: Ewa Zukowska, ZK Studio / Directed by: Konrad Szolajski / Poland

The Canta Dances / Produced by: Valerie Schult, Viewpoint Productions / Directed by: Maartje Nevejan / The Netherlands

The Chosen Ones / Produced by: Inna Sahakyan and Yulia Grigoryants, Bars Media / Directed by: Arman Yeritsyan / Armenia

Don't Grow old Waiting / Produced by: Monica Lazurean Gorgan, 4 Proof Film / Directed by: Mara Trifu / Romania

Gay Marriage - Chinese Style / Produced by: Iris Lammertsma, Jongens van de Wit / Directed by: Sophia Luvarà / The Netherlands

The Green Invasion / Produced by: Christina Rajola, Stamen Film / Directed by: Florencia Santucho / Italy

Hope on the Line / Produced and directed by: Alexandre Papanicolaou & Emilie Yannoukou, Persona Production / France

If You're Lucky, You Won't Need Us / Produced by: Margus Ounapuu, Film Tower Kuubis / Directed by: Jaak Kilmi / Estonia

Mlade Nade (The Young Hopefuls) / Produced by: Ana Radecic, Manevar d.o.o. / Directed by: Tomislav Fike / Croatia

Nermina's World / Produced by: Flavia Oertwig, Intrigo Internazionale / Directed by: Vittoria Fiumi / Italy

The Other Side of Paradise: Goma / Produced by: Harmen Jalvingh, Bonanza Films / Directed by: Joris Postema / The Netherlands

Playing with Fire / Produced by: Photini Economopoulou, Modiano S.A. / Directed by: Anneta Papathanassiou / Greece

Positive Negative / Produced and directed by: Tomer Heymann & Barak Heymann, Heymann Brothers Films / Israel

Prayer Books and Prada / Produced by: Mariana Keller & Michal Fattal, ThreeYellowDots / Directed by: Mariana Keller / France

Raging Grannies / Produced by: Christian Falch, Faction Film / Directed by: Haavard Bustnes / Norway

We're going the same way / Produced and directed by: Pieter-Jan Van Damme / Belgium

Be an observer at “Docs in Thessaloniki 2013”

March 20-24, 2013 in Thessaloniki, Greece

Docs in Thessaloniki is an international pitching forum and workshop organized by EDN in collaboration with the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival-Images of the 21st Century.
I have been an observer myself many times at Docs in Thessaloniki.
It's really a great experience and I warmly recommend it!

Docs in Thessaloniki consists of a five-day program, where 21 selected documentary projects will be developed, re-written and pitched.
The first three days are focusing on development.
The participating project teams work on their projects’ structure, style and focus of the content as well as the presentation and pitching techniques.
The 21 projects are divided in 3 or 4 small groups under guidance from international experts and through highly informative seminar sessions. At the end of the workshop each project is re-written and presented to the participating financiers in a 2-page presentation.

During these 5 days before the pitching of the weekend the seminar prepares everybody with a project how to make a better pitch. Many times you see trailers being changed, and the synopsis and pictures of them reshaped so that they reach the financiers. And it makes a difference!
You watch the progress of the treatments during these 5 days and you can literally see the projects develop and get in shape for the pitching following. You hear the feedback from other people, other cultures, and mentalities and its wonderful for the networking, one of the most important things in that business. Here you will develop, pitch your project and network with European colleagues and financiers in a relaxed and constructive atmosphere.

During these 5 days there are also interesting guests' talks about distribution, festivals, the art of pitching and other issues that are important for filmmakers and producers.

It's a hard-core pitching training and it's really worth watching it and participating, especially without a project because then you can really absorb and enjoy the seminar.
You can only win by being an observer.

When participating as an observer you will take part in all sessions on equal terms with the pitching participants. Only exception is not having a concrete project developed and pitched. Observer participation fee is 200 Euro. To apply for an observer seat please send a short motivation for your participation to Hanne Skjødt.

In addition to the five-day pitching-session programme, the participation fee includes all lunches and coffee breaks, dinner on the first evening and a festival pass for the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Documentary Partially Shot on iPhone Wins Oscar

Sunday February 24, 2013 by Husain Sumra
"Searching for Sugar Man" won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th annual Academy Awards, making it the first time a film that was partially shot with an iPhone has won the prestigious award.

Director Malik Bendjelloul said that he had run out of money while making the movie and had to film his remaining shots with his iPhone and the 8mm Vintage Camera app. The iPhone and app's performance were so impressive to Bendjelloul that he re-shot footage playing on his laptop screen with the app.

This isn't the first time directors have used iPhones to shoot films, but it's an important milestone that shows that footage shot with phones and apps are good enough to be recognized at the highest level and not distract from the overall quality of the film.

Amnesia Diaries, by Stella Theodorakis

Stella Theodorakis takes a page out of her own diary, made up of fragments of the past and the present, a deeply personal work that slowly molds into something that concerns each and every one of us, just as intimately as it does her.

Video diaries have always been a rather “marginal” genre, a combination of words and images, walking the fine line between film and visual confessional, mostly assigned to the depths of experimental cinema - which doesn’t necessarily do its narrative powers justice.

And “Amnesia Diaries”- the cusp of Theodorakis’ rather idiosyncratic career – is living proof. Its experimental format is simply a means to an end, a way to document her journey from past to present, a deeply personal work that slowly molds into something that concerns each and every one of us, just as intimately as it does her.

How else do you explain the fact that her memories, her thoughts and her search for meaning could very well be your own? That her protagonists could very well be your parents, your friends and your lovers? That every incident, from the most riveting to the most trivial, could very well be a story out of your own journal? That there are times when you identify with this fanciful alternation of past and present so completely, that you feel like scribbling your own notes in the margins, adding your own images, your own memories and your own thoughts to the process?

And it’s all down to Stella Theodorakis’ mastery of the medium: the woman has composition and deconstruction down to an art!

Pulling images out of her past (mostly super 8 films, shot between 1985-1986) and combining them with footage from contemporary Athens (shot between 2010 and 2012), the filmmaker acts as a historian of her own life, as well as an entire era: the one that’s already been swallowed by history and the one that’s slipping though her fingers, between protests, violence and the growing vacancies of modern-day Athens. Each and every one of her past/present compositions is a direct contrast between the romantic past and the noisy, chaotic present.

Reminiscing and at the same time criticizing the past, Theodorakis is both the star and the innocent bystander, the girl she once was and the woman she now is. In turns pompous and playful, she tells the story of a woman who rediscovers her forgotten past while her present is falling to pieces. Both timelines are dominated by people: her long lost friends from the retro and rather innocent-looking 80s and her life-long companions that make life worth living in the clunky, ear-shattering 00s. The spaces in-between are filled with life, cinema, her mom always giving her dad en earful about his driving, sex, the lack of sex, a New Year’s cake recipe, tarot cards, astrological predictions, a cop across the street, a move, a French chanson and the random image of a woman bending over in the middle of the street to pick up something she dropped…

Seemingly haphazard images and sounds come together to populate the life of an angry, sad woman who’s trying to find the strength to carry on. And she does. It’s there in her old films and her new footage from the streets of the city. In everything her long lost friends have left behind and everything her life-long companions still bring to the table. It’s there in an image from Melbourne in the 80s, a trip to Tasmania, a New Year’s house party, the burned down movie theaters in downtown Athens in the February 2012 riots and a family vacation in Crete…

Although the effortless charm of the vintage segments always defeats the cheap social criticism of the present, this fascinating collage of images and emotions confirms that political cinema is not about making allegations, it’s about trying to make sense of it all.

by Manolis Kranakis/Flix

IDFA WorldView Summer School 2013

IDFA is looking for emerging documentary film talent!

From July 1 through July 6 2013, IDFA organizes the sixth edition of the Summer School: a tailor-made training program for emerging filmmakers, taking place in Amsterdam and aimed at strengthening the narrative structure of documentary projects. Around sixteen projects from all over the world will be selected for the Summer School 2013. The deadline for submission is April 1, 2013.

The IDFA WorldView Summer School is open to:
• Directors making their first or second feature documentary
• Ten projects in the script development phase and six projects in the rough-cut phase
• Creative documentary projects

It offers the opportunity to meet and work with highly esteemed filmmakers and film professionals who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with emerging film talent. The Summer School combines individual coaching with group sessions and an inspiring cultural program in a relaxed atmosphere. It offers two types of training possibilities: Script Development and Editing Consultancy.

Filmmakers who are selected have the opportunity to bring a sparring partner: a creative producer, a co-scriptwriter, or an editor in the case of participation in Editing Consultancy. If a project is selected, a project fee of €750 (excluding VAT) is due.
Participants will be coached by eight international documentary experts. In previous years experts like Carmen Cobos (Producer, the Netherlands), Kate Townsend (Executive Producer BBC Storyville, UK), Sabine Bubeck-Paaz (Commissioning Editor ZDF, Germany), Debra Zimmerman (Distributor Women Make Movies, USA), Erez Laufer (Editor, Israel), Peter Wintonick (Producer/ Director, Canada), Audrius Stonys (Director, Lithuania) and Janus Metz (Director, Denmark) were tutors at the Summer School.

For information about the IDFA WorldView Summer School and how to apply, see

Culinary Cinema at the Berlinale

“Dig Your Food – From Field to Fork” is the motto of the 7th Culinary Cinema of the Berlinale to be held February 10-15, 2013. Sixteen films about food and the environment will be presented in the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

"If you want maximum freshness and pesticide-free foods, you should garden. If you want a green city, you may become a guerrilla gardener and throw seed bombs. In Berlin, urban gardening has taken root. The Prinzessinnengarten at Moritzplatz will now be able to remain where it is, while other grassroots movements are spreading all around the world. Gardeners are among us! As can also be seen in the programme of the 7th Culinary Cinema," says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

"Our Culinary Cinema pleasure garden is freshly stocked. Many of this year’s films include some aspect of gardening, be it concretely or figuratively," comments Thomas Struck, Programme Curator.

The documentaries:

Peru sabe: Cuisine as an agent of social change with Ferran Adrià
After this film is screened in Berlin, we had better copy this system in Greece.

L'Amour des Moules
Everything - and I mean everything - about mussels, including pearls!

Slow Food Story
Carlo Petrini and his movement - and the philosophy behind it.

Red Obsession
About China's obsession with Bordeaux wine

Monsanto and Co. in our lives

Make Hummus, Not War
A kitchen conflict in the Middle East - unfortunately not the only one.

The Moo Man
A farmer and his cows in a world damning full-fat products

Following the main-programme screening, at 7:30 pm, Michelin-Star chefs Nils Henkel, Michael Hoffmann, Kolja Kleeberg, Hendrik Otto and Tim Raue will each serve a meal inspired by the films in the “Gropius Mirror” restaurant, an elegant tent lined with mirrors (85€ Film and dinner). (I wish I could be there!)

The late screenings, at 10 p.m., will focus on social and ecological topics.

See the programme brochure (pdf file in German only).

DOK. Incubator’s workshop

SUNDANCE DOCUMENTARY AWARD goes to a debut film from the DOK.Incubator´s
The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, a low budget documentary,
developed within the DOK.Incubator workshop, has just won the award for
World Cinema Documentary Directing at the SUNDANCE Festival! For the
Gurchiani sisters, was the first time both producing and directing a feature
lenght documentary.

„Living for a long time in Europe, I wanted to return to Georgia and make a
film about young people there. So I organised a casting – and suddenly I
saw, that those faces have their own touching stories – and I decided to
listen to them,“ describes Tinatin Gurchiani, the debuting documentarist,
the very start of her road to the amazing success of this visually stunning
movie. The film was developed within DOK.Incubator, workshop focused on
editing and distribution, that provides an individual tutoring for
documentary projects from the rough cut stage to their release. After a half
year of intensive work, The Machine… achived sophisticated editing and a
precise distribution strategy, helping them to approach the prestigious
sales agency, Deckert Distribution, and achieve international distribution.
Their road to success started with their premiere at DOK Leipzig Young
Competition and finished with the most prestigious international competition
at Sundance.

The DOK.Incubator project has been launched in 2012 by a creative think-tank
DocIncubator (CZ), DOK.Leipzig festival (DE) and the Institute of
Documentary Film (CZ) , in cooperation with the Association of Independent
Producers (SK) and Centrala Filmproduction (PL). After the first edition,
beside DOK Leipzig and Sundance, two participant films have competed also at
IDFA, CPH:DOX and they participate soon in MoMA´s Documentary Fortnight.

More information about the workshop you can find at
DEADLINE for the 2013 edition is March 5th.

Making of … A Film Unfinished

listen to the interview with the producer Itay Ken-Tor.

Master Class Werner Herzog online

The Polish Planete+ Doc Film Festival and the VOD platform present a master class with Werner Herzog at Meet the living legend of feature and documentary film, author of more than 50 films and the director who throughout his life has posed questions about the limits that nature and mankind impose on each other. As a filmmaker, he overcomes these limits and presents to the audience what he has found on the other side.

Stream for FREE until 20 January.