As Central European filmmakers continue to grab the spotlight on the fest circuit, Film Europe, a new division of SPI Intl. set up to handle movies from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, is right there guiding the new wave.
Marta Lamperova, managing director of sales and development at Film Europe, says setting up the division was a strategic decision designed to improve regional and worldwide sales for films from the area.
“We are interested in investing in good producer projects, co-producing and distribution. We can offer sales, promotion and finding co-production partners,” Lamperova says. “Our mission is to broaden the synergy between filmmakers, producers and the audience, to exploit our long experience in film markets and distribution.”
With a credo that puts “finding, promoting, financially supporting and distributing films created by talented directors from all over Eastern Europe” at the heart of its business strategy, Film Europe is well placed to take advantage of national creative waves that often arise, as seen in recent years in Romania and, now, in Slovakia.
The company is handling five pics that are in the official selection at Karlovy Vary, reflecting the current dynamism of film from the region it focuses on: “Broken Promise” by Jiri Chlumsky, “My Husband’s Women” by Ivan Vojnar, “Sister” by Vit Pancir, “Who Is Afraid of the Wolf” by Maria Prochazkova and “Wingless” by Ivo Trajkov.
After a positive experience at Cannes, Lamperova is looking forward to Karlovy Vary.
“I was surprised by the Cannes market being much better than Berlinale in terms of business, and I have sold some films: a new Slovak film that recently opened in Slovakia, ‘Heaven, Hell … Earth’ by Laura Sivakova and ‘Muzika’ (Music) that was last year’s Slovak entry for the Oscars, both to Vivarto in Poland,” Lamperova says.
Slovak films in particular seemed to be on the rise, she adds. For example, “My Husband’s Women” recently screened at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival.
“I believe that Slovak films will slowly — if somebody takes care of them — find a stable place in the market,” Lamperova says.