SOFA (School of Film Advancement), a program that helps up-and-coming film professionals develop innovative infrastructure projects, has unveiled the participants for its seventh edition.

SOFA helps develop the participants’ projects, which should benefit the region’s film industries, and cinematic heritage, with tailor-made workshops and the guidance of mentors. The intention is “to jumpstart the careers of a new generation of film professionals,” SOFA said.

The participants are drawn from Central and Eastern Europe, Germany, Greece, Israel, Central Asia, the Caucasus republics, the Middle East and North Africa.

The following projects have been selected:

Bionaut Kids, a curated VOD platform offering animated films for kids and parents in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the first of its kind in the region. Premysl Martinek, who has a background in film distribution and marketing, is in charge of the project.

Medea Sharikadze, a promotions and event specialist from Georgia, is developing New Horizons Forum, an interdisciplinary event taking place during CineDOC (Tbilisi Intl. Film Festival) in Georgia in 2021. Professionals from diverse fields of expertise will present and discuss their ideas on the topic of “When Present Meets Future.”

Viki Antonopoulou, who has been working for major studios in Greece and the U.K. as well as managing NGOs, is developed Attis – Bold Film Sales, a boutique world sales company, which will focus on first-time feature film directors from Greece and Georgia.

Drita Llolla is set to open Montenegro’s first arthouse cinema in her hometown, Ulcinj, on the border with Albania. The theater, Dreams on Buckram, aims to revitalize the cultural life of the seaside resort.

Multimedia artist Pavel Braila is setting up the world’s first International Wedding Film Festival in Moldova – with prizes for the best wedding films. The event builds on the country’s status as a popular destination for weddings.

Irena Gruca-Rozbicka, the founder of the Polish magazine FilmPRO, will set up a Polish version of the German platform for film professionals Crew United to provide Poland’s flourishing film industry for the first time with a web-based database covering all filmmaking departments.

Among the projects to have received support from SOFA in the past are Nafilm, the National Film Museum in Prague, developed by Terezie Krizkovska and Adela Mrazova, which opened in January and has attracted more than 55,000 visitors so far; Producer’s MAP (Mentoring Action Plan), initiated by Poland’s Agnieszka Sekowska, which provides a range of professional workshops for emerging Polish producers; Dovzhenko Center’s Film Museum in Kiev, Ukraine, set up by Ivan Kozlenko, the Center’s general director.

The next SOFA workshops will run Aug. 18-23, 2019 in Warsaw, April 25-30, 2020 in Tbilisi, and Sept. 15-19, 2020 in Vilnius.

Pictured: A film education event at Nafilm, the National Film Museum in Prague