The jury for the Docu Talents From the East Award, presented Sunday as part of CineLink Industry Days at the Sarajevo Film Festival, split the award between two projects: “A Picture to Remember” by Ukrainian director Olga Chernykh and producer Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon, and the Czech-Slovak co-production “Chronicle” by Martin Kollar. The award comes with a cash prize of $5,000.
Eight documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe, planned for theatrical release during the next 12 months, were presented in the program, which is curated by the Ji.hlava Intl. Documentary Film Festival.
The DAFilms.com Distribution Award went to “An Almost Perfect Family” by Romanian director Tudor Platon, produced by Carla Fotea and Ada Solomon. The award includes an international VOD release on DAFilms.com for two years.
The jury said: “The personal and intimate ‘A Picture to Remember’ presents a unique vision of life during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Through the experiences of three generations of women: the director, her mother and her grandmother, the film presents the human experience of war powerfully and with tenderness. We also found the writing in the trailer quite evocative.”
“We found ‘Chronicle’ to be a film without words that speaks loudly. The cinematic experience communicates a certain urgency. The creative collage of images evokes striking tension, suggests interesting metaphors, and conjures microcosms of absurdity in our world.”
The jury said of “An Almost Perfect Family,” “With emotional and moving generational echoes, we found the pitch intimate, clear, precise — and brave.”
Marek Hovorka, director of Ji.hlava, said: “The awarded films tell the story of today’s world in a subjective and straightforward way. Each in its own way, they find a cinematic language to talk about moments that turn life upside down. Yet, these films about the start of a war in one’s own country, the suicide of a partner or the break-up of a family are not emotionally primal but layered. They have their own poetics and a resulting authenticity that manages to discover humor and insight even in these moments, as well as to create a space for dialogue with the audience.”
At the event, representatives of Ji.hlava also presented the results of this year’s East West Index – a survey of key European documentary film festivals, which looks at the representation of films from Central and Eastern Europe.
At festivals in Western Europe, on average only one in seven films are from Eastern Europe. Conversely, for Eastern European festivals, on average one in two films is from a Western European country. Nothing has changed in this ratio in the last five years.
Ji.hlava also revealed the names of the participants of the Emerging Producers program, which aims at promoting talented European documentary film producers, and provides them with a range of networking, educational and promotional support throughout the year. Seventeen European producers will be accompanied by a producer from the Philippines, which is the guest country of the 2024 program. It consists of two workshops – taking place at Ji.hlava in October 2023 and during the Berlinale in February 2024.