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Now in its fifth year, European Film Promotion’s Future Frames is a next-generation showcase comprising short works by students and recent graduates of European film schools, curated by the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival in cooperation with the EFP.

The program has already established itself as an important platform for discovering European talent; this year’s program, which includes two student Academy Award winners, promises to be especially exciting. Participants will take part in a master class led by Greek helmer Syllas Tzoumerkas (“The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea”) and meet with industry experts from various fields in order to build up their international networks.

The selected directors and their films will be introduced to the public, press and industry at the festival over June 30-July 3. The program is supported by the Creative Europe — Media Program of the European Union and the respective EFP member organizations. AMC Networks and Nespresso are partners of EFP Future Frames 2019.

German helmer Anna Roller neatly articulates the feelings of most of the 2019 Future Frames participants as she says:

“I hope to meet interesting people from the industry to get a sneak peek of which world is waiting there outside after film school. But also having an intense exchange with other young filmmakers about our struggles, strategies and hopes.”

Meet the Future Frames talent:

Irfan Avdić

Film: “Precious”

Provenance: Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts/University of Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

A director of film and theater, Avdić describes himself as “a cautious optimist.” “I want to make films that scratch my itchy soul,” he says. “I find that making films as well as theater is my way of dealing with reality and problems that have not yet been adequately addressed. I’m part of a Bosnian post-war generation that came into a world foreign to our parents, a sort of a purgatory in transition between a socialist quasi-utopia and an abominable sloppy take on democracy.” In addition to being inspired by Bong Joon-ho, Hirokazu Kore-eda and Harmony Korine, he is influenced by literature and poetry.

Signe Birkova

Film: “He Was Called Chaos Bērziņš”

Provenance: National Film School of the Latvian Academy of Culture


A member of the Baltic Analog Lab artist collective, Birkova

makes experimental films using 16mm and Super 8 film material as well as different animation techniques. “My goal is to make films that make an emotional impact — at least for a couple of seconds,” she says. Influenced by cinema history, she wants to make films from the point of view of “film reality,” in which the situations, places and problems of “everyday reality” are incorporated and give viewers a hypnotic experience. These days, she’s working on a documentary, “Ring of Fire,” about an independent theater group who perform in an old circus building in Riga.

Eileen Byrne

Film: “Touch Me”

Provenance: University of Television and Film Munich


Born in Luxembourg to a German mother and a French-Scottish father, Byrne started writing and directing her first plays and musicals as a teenager. A fan of mixing comedy elements into drama and creating tragicomic moments, she says, “I think there is no greater gift than a laughing or crying audience.” She wants to tell stories that “make audiences think about certain fundamental questions in life.” She’s working on a screenplay with German and Luxembourgian producers and developing ideas for a series and a feature film. “The work with actors and the team is what I love most about my job.”

Jorge Cadena

Film: “The Jarariju Sisters”

Provenance: École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne /Haute école d’art et de design, Genève


Colombia-born Cadena works on the border between documentary and fiction with an interest in the relationship between memory and history. “I try to shape and act on my political and intellectual convictions,” he says. For him, it’s important to be surrounded with references outside cinema, such as philosophy, painting, music and contemporary life. Cadena notes, “I’ve just finished reading Judith Butler’s ‘Gender Trouble,’ a book that has changed my way of relating to the world and that is evidently helping to write my new project.” He’s co-writing his first feature with his sister, a sociologist and militant feminist.

Natalie Cubides-Brady

Film: “Beyond the North Winds: A Post Nuclear Reverie”

Provenance: National Film & Television School

United Kingdom

British-Colombian filmmaker Cubides-Brady wants to make films that integrate strong storytelling with attention to form and stylistic innovation. “I’m interested in film as a medium for exploring landscape; in creating films where landscape is not just a representation of a place, but can show an inner state of mind or explore a set of ideas or conflicts,” she says. Among her influences: Chris Marker, Michelangelo Antonioni, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, 1920s City Symphony films and artists such as Christo and Jeanne Claude, Tacita Dean, Rachel Whiteread, Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson. She’s developing a film about psychics and spirits based on a 1940s legal case.

Jonatan Etzler

Film: “Get Ready With Me”

Provenance: Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts


After winning a Gold Medal at the 2018 Student Academy Awards for his short “Get Ready With Me,” Etzler signed with agencies in Sweden and the U.K. He’s attracted to characters who are outsiders, or stuck in awkward situations, and he always tries to find complex issues that can be used to challenge audiences’ expectations of familiar genres and narrative. Etzler envisions films with a rhythm and a tone, and a balance between dark humor and strong anxiety. After Karlovy Vary, he will shoot another short, “Swimmer.” He’s also developing a feature and a series, and has been working as a second unit director on the HBO series “Beartown.”

István Kovács

Film: “A Siege”

Provenance: University for Theater and Film Art, Budapest


Born in former Yugoslavia, and a student of Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi, Kovács won a Bronze Medal at the Student Academy Awards for his master’s diploma film about a woman trapped in the siege of Sarajevo. He hopes to develop it into a feature with the help of the Hungarian National Film Fund. “I feel a strong connection to character-driven films,” he says. “I like to dive into the world of a character and into her or his problems and soul. I like movies in which little things matter the most: when a hug or a touch could mean the world to the characters in the story.”

Anna Roller

Film: “The Last Children of Paradise”

Provenance: University of Television and Film Munich


Roller wants to tell stories about growing up and the dark demons we all have inside. “What I love about films is that they can cross the line of realism to tell what is going on inside the characters. That is what I want to explore with my films,” she says. Her influences include strong female directors such as Léa Mysius, Alice Rohrwacher, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay and Kelly Reichardt. She’s developing a script for her first feature, which she hopes to finance and shoot next year. “It’s about a person who, one day, after a terrible mistake, wakes up in two bodies,” she says.

Lun Sevnik

Film: “Playing”

Provenance: Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, Prague (FAMU)

Czech Republic

Slovenia-born Sevnik is now in this third year at FAMU, where he will soon be shooting his B.A. degree film. He credits reality itself and internet videos as his influences. Certainly, internet videos helped him come up with the idea for “Playing,” in which a couple of teens plan to livestream their suicides. Meanwhile, his latest project in development, “Progress,” was selected for Midpoint Shorts 2019. Sevnik hopes to continue at FAMU for a M.A. degree. A practical guy, he says, “While doing my master’s degree, I plan to write a script for a future film, so when I finish school, I would be able to shoot my debut as soon as possible.”

Gregor Valentovič

Film: “Kid”

Provenance: Film and Television Faculty, Academy of Performing Arts, Bratislava

Slovak Republic

Slovak helmer Valentovič is in his final year of directing studies, and the atmospheric “Kid” is his graduation project. He’s even developing a TV miniseries based on its main characters. He credits the work of Mia Hansen-Love as one of his main influences. What type of films does he want to make? “I want to show the good in humans,” he says. “There’s way too many films showing their bad nature and that’s fair enough, but it won’t be my films. I want to see people struggle but ultimately try to be better.” A long-time attendee of the Karlovy Vary festival, he’s thrilled to be presenting his film there.