latest posts

ESP unveils predominantly female, pan-European 2020 short film projects selection

ESP unveils predominantly female, pan-European 2020 short film projects selection

by September 9, 2020

The all new (and all female) team leading European Short Pitch, helmed by Head of Programme Julie Marnay (formerly In Charge of Short Films at La Semaine de la Critique, Cannes), who was recently joined by Olga Lamontanara (previously Head of Communication at TorinoFilmLab) as Head of Coproduction Forum, is thrilled to announce the ESP 2020 selection.

A particular reason of pride is the strong female presence, which has surpassed the “50/50 by 2020” target, boasting a 60% ratio with seven women directors out of the 12 selected participants.

Moreover, in line with the ESP mission, a wide variety of countries is represented, covering all Europe from North to South and from East to West, with a special attention to low-production capacity states. The programme is made possible by the support of the Région Bretagne (France) and of the Promotion Center for Audiovisual Culture – AVEK (Finland); thanks to these partnerships, it will also include a Focus on Breton and Finnish filmmakers and other industry professionals.

Marnay says: “In spite of the health crisis and all the difficulties we had to face in this year that has been challenging for our entire industry, we decided not to give up and to keep supporting European shorts at different stages through our unique initiative. European Short Pitch accompanies the development, coproduction and circulation of short film projects and has already been doing so for 13 editions. For our first year in charge we feel this support for young filmmakers is now needed more than ever.”

Twelve projects have been selected, covering a variety of subjects and genres as a mark of our times. From tragicomic stories about the fundamental desire to be understood to poetic doubts about the future, to fantasy worlds not abiding by traditional social norms, conventions about sexuality or obligations of motherhood, the selection explores many female journeys. Other highly topical themes for today’s world are investigated through different forms: a historical comedy tackles the timeless paradoxes of ethics, a cinematographic performance poses philosophical questions about the human nature, a period film on a drag artist’s struggles deals with the issue of identity. Memories play a crucial role too, be it the ones of the war that keep haunting a young refugee, or the distorted ones from childhood that hide family secrets in a conservative Muslim environment. This exciting selection of projects hailing from 12 countries includes 2 animations and 10 fictions.

  • Apnea by Sonia Ladidà Schiavone – Italy, seeking production
  • Barbette by Paul Marques Duarte – France, produced by Blue Hour Films / Thomas Guentch – Brittany Focus 
  • Dogwoman by Rozalia Szeleczki – Hungary, produced by FilmTeam / Petra Iványi 
  • Duty Free by Hilke Rönnfeldt – Germany, produced by North Ship Film / Johanna Maria Jannsen – T-Port talent
  • Grasshoppers by Hanis Bagashov – Macedonia / France, produced by OXO Production / Ilija Tirickovski and La Belle Affaire Productions / Jérôme Blesson
  • Ice Hole by Anastasiya Gruba – Ukraine, produced by Bosonfilm / Aleksandra Kostina
  • If You Were Alive by Abdulrazzaq Al-jewari – Finland, produced by Tuffi Films / Venla Hellstedt – Finland Focus
  • Loose by Paula Skelin – Croatia, produced by Eclectica / Tina Tišljar 
  • Penthouse for Short People by Anna Zača – Latvia – Baltic Pitching Forum talent
  • Stick Together by Laura Vandewynckel – Belgium, produced by De Wereldvrede / Gilles De Schryver
  • Traitors of the Eyes by Saad Dnewar & Abdelrahman Dnewar – Germany / Egypt,  produced by Reynard Films / Georg Neubert 
  • Unorthodox by Konstantinos Antonopoulos – Greece, produced by Either/Or Productions / Fani Skartouli

The team of script consultants tutoring the projects is composed of internationally recognized professionals: German Britta Krause, a regular tutor for development programs including TorinoFilmLab, Doha Film Institute, Full Circle Lab; Finnish filmmaker Juho Kuosmanen, whose acclaimed debut The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki won the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2016; Italian writer-director Antonio Piazza, awarded at the Semaine de la Critique for his first feature Salvo (2013) and returning there with Sicilian Ghost Story in 2017 – both co-written and co-directed by Fabio Grassadonia. French producer Gabrielle Dumon (Le Bureau), whose recent credits include Pari (Berlinale Panorama 2020), will join them to advise participants on the (co-)production-related aspects of their projects.

The programme will kick off with an online workshop on 21-25 September 2020 organized in collaboration with the Euphoria Borealis association in Finland. It will focus on script development and will aim at enhancing the projects and preparing them for their presentation to the industry. 

The second session will offer participants further consultations on script, as well as with sales and distribution experts and will culminate in a final pitch and 1:1 meetings with international professionals: the Coproduction Forum is expected to take place in a hybrid format on 12-15 November 2020 in partnership with the Brest European Short Film Festival.