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TorinoFilmLab Announces Selections for 2019 ScriptLab (EXCLUSIVE)

The TorinoFilmLab has announced the 20 feature projects and five story editor trainees who have been selected to take part in the 2019 edition of ScriptLab, an initiative focused on the development of fiction feature film scripts in early development stage.

Beginning in March, this year’s participants will team up with filmmakers from around the world to develop their feature-length scripts. The program includes three week-long workshop residencies and two online sessions, during which the 20 projects are divided into five work groups, each guided by an international script consultant and paired with one story editor trainee.

The ScriptLab culminates with a final presentation at the TorinoFilmLab Meeting Event in November, when the 20 participants will pitch their projects to an international audience of producers, sales agents, and other film professionals. They’ll also have one-to-one meetings with key decision-makers in the industry and see their projects included in the TFL Catalogue.

This year’s edition will support the development of 11 debut feature films, as well as nine projects by second-time directors—what the organization describes as “a delicate stage in a director’s career.” The five industry professionals selected for story editing training are Sarieke Hoeksma (Netherlands), Craita Nanu (Romania), Joanna Szymanska (Poland), Melisa Uneri (Turkey), and Isabella Weber (Italy). The selections highlight the TorinoFilmLab’s commitment to gender parity: Eight of the projects selected for the ScriptLab are helmed by female filmmakers, and all five of the script editor trainees are women.

“We are very proud of the projects in this year’s selection, which are both first and second features, a result of ScriptLab continuing to widen its focus, encouraging more applications of second feature projects and more seasoned filmmakers,” said TorinoFilmLab curator Amra Baksic Camo, and ScriptLab head of studies Eva Svenstedt Ward.

“Taking part in a workshop for a full year is a unique opportunity to work on a second feature, a moment which is a difficult step in the career of a filmmaker. Working peer to peer not only offers a unique creative dynamic, hard to access anywhere else, but also makes the process more enjoyable and the results ultimately richer.”

They continued: “Like any selection process for projects in development, we are not guided by topics. Each edition, we realize that some patterns emerge and it is interesting to see how they reflect the times we live in: this year, the reoccurring themes are family and identity, belonging and faith. But we are very pleased about the great diversity, not only of nationalities but also of genres and stories, which we very much look forward to seeing on the screen.”

The TorinoFilmLab’s 2019 ScriptLab selections are:

“Only Lola” is Jarosław Kamiński’s adaptation of his celebrated novel, co-written and directed by Grzegorz Mołda (Poland). Set in 1960s Warsaw, it’s a quest for identity and friendship between two women struggling to find their place in a Communist country where anti-Semitism is resurgent.

“The Sweet Bitterness of Ripe Pomegranates,” by Andrey Volkashin (Macedonia), who participated in last year’s TorinoFilmLab Extended – Script Development program, is the story of a middle-aged housewife who begins to lose her mind when she’s confronted with the contradictions between her past morality and her current actions.

Set in the years preceding World War II, “The Swedish Torpedo,” by Frida Kempff (Sweden), depicts a woman’s struggle to achieve her dream of swimming the English channel instead of following the path her father’s set out for her.

“Three Days of Fish,” by Peter Hoogendoorn (Netherlands), is a father-son tale of a man who returns to his homeland for three days with a chance to bridge the geographic and emotional distance from his adult son.

“A Quiet Migration,” by Malene Choi and Marianne Lentz (Denmark), is a coming-of-age story about two adolescents facing racism in their adopted families, while confronting a society where immigration has become a divisive issue.

Directed by Ena Sendijarevic (Bosnia Herzegovina/Netherlands), “Flores” explores Holland’s colonial past through the eyes of two women who have left Europe for very different reasons, hoping to make a new life in the Dutch East Indies.

“Painless,” by Michael Wahrmann (Uruguay/Brazil), is the story of a French couple whose dream of relocating to an isolated island in Brazil is cast adrift when they’re forced to share their new home with a strange colony of settlers.

In “Suddenly,” by Melisa Önel and Feride Çiçekoğlu (Turkey), a woman looking to escape her family and society after returning from Germany to Istanbul finds herself mysteriously beginning to fade away and become invisible.

“Anna Doesn’t Want to Be Seen Dancing,” by Gabriel Herra Torres (Mexico), is a story about public shaming and empathy inspired by a strange event in 16th-century Strasburg, France, when an entire village joined a woman in a dance to the death.

“Novak,” by Harry Lagoussis (Greece) is the story of a brilliant Serbian neuroscientist deemed to be a paranoid-schizophrenic, who regains hope when he retreats to Athens and is joined by a group of young dreamers trying to change the world.

“Ze,” by Lkhagvadulam Purev-ochir (Mongolia), is the coming-of-age story of a 17-year-old shaman who shoulders the burdens of his neighbors while dealing with the same challenges as any other adolescent.

In “Panopticon,” by George Sikharulidze (Georgia), a teenager struggles to reconcile his relationship to God with his awakening sexuality when his father decides to become a monk and retreats into the mountains of post-Soviet Georgia.

After the strange death of his long-lost father in “Birchanger Green,” by Moin Hussain (United Kingdom), a man convinces himself that he is a hybrid child, placed on Earth to fulfill a greater mission.

“Rhino,” by Dubravka Turić (Croatia), is an absurd heist comedy that follows three friends’ bizarre search for a rhino horn to be sold on the black market in Asia.

Two worlds collide in “An Explosive Species,” by French-based Sarah Arnold (Italy/Switzerland), a social thriller about a farmer fighting for the survival of his farm who attacks a member of the powerful hunting lobby.

The second feature of Lisa Brühlmann and Dominik Laucher (Switzerland), “Madame” explores the dynamics of power and submission through the relationship between a woman and her maid, set against a backdrop of clandestine immigration.

With “Takotsubo,” Miki Polonski (Israel) depicts the desperate attempts of a man to save his brother from a gambling addiction that’s slowly destroying their family.

In “The Songsmith,” the debut feature of Bayu Prihantoro Filemon (Indonesia), a singer tries to survive by praising the government in her songs, even as the government itself begins to unravel.

“Dust,” by writer Angelo Tijssen (Belgium) – co-writer of last year’s “Girl,” by Lukas Dhont – tracks the last fateful weekend before the financial collapse of two infamous entrepreneurs in the late 1990s, following their step-by-step implosion.

“The Permanent Picture,” by Laura Ferrés (Spain), paints a sharp portrait of a dedicated casting director who’s thrust into a difficult predicament when she’s forced to fire the niece she cast in a commercial.

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