The TorinoFilm Lab has announced the 20 feature film projects and five story editor trainees who will take part in the 2020 edition of ScriptLab, an intensive workshop focused on feature film scripts in early stages of development.
The program partners participants with filmmakers from around the world to develop their scripts through a series of residencies and online mentoring sessions. The ScriptLab culminates with a presentation at the TorinoFilmLab Meeting Event in November, when the 20 projects will be presented to an international audience of film professionals.
Each edition of the ScriptLab divides participants into five work groups, led by an international script consultant and paired with a story editor trainee, who develop their scripts through intensive peer to peer group work. This year’s tutors are Philippe Barrière (France), Rasmus Horskjaer (Denmark), Franz Rodenkirchen (Germany), Maria Solrun (Iceland), and Françoise von Roy (Germany). The story editor trainees are scriptwriter, festival director and script consultant Helen Beltrame-Linné (Brazil), producer Gale Osorio (Philippines), scriptwriter and story editor Almudena Monzú (Spain), producer Julia Niethammer (Germany), and scriptwriter Jelena Paljan (Croatia).
The ScriptLab’s 2020 residencies will take place in Lviv, Ukraine, Helsinki, Finland, and Turin, Italy. The program also hosts an annual alumni meeting event, allowing current attendees a chance to network with past participants.
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This year’s selection features projects from 17 countries, a diverse range that includes filmmakers from Singapore, Rwanda, Venezuela and Albania. Most of the ScriptLab’s participants are developing their first or second features, a crucial stage in a young director’s career. More than half of the projects are written and/or directed by women, which curator Amra Bakšić Čamo sees as “hopefully announcing a new era in our industry.”
“The ScriptLab 2020 selection is exciting and diverse,” said Čamo. “Projects are dealing with themes such as contemporary identities, families, history, social and environmental issues, whilst originally interpreting genres and questioning forms and formats.”
Here are the TorinoFilmLab’s ScriptLab participants for 2020:
“After Dark” is the first feature by Erenik Beqiri (Albania). What begins as a simple love story becomes anything but, as the country is facing abusive expropriations and Tom is confronted with the true nature of Anna, who is actually a vampire.
“Blustar” is a comedy in three acts, taking place on a boat around the Greek Islands. The film focuses on the dynamics between a mother and her two daughters, all cleaning ladies on the tourist boat Blue Star Ferry, which is expected to be sold to a Canadian company. “Blustar” is the first feature by Stella Kyrialopoulos (Greece), co-written by Margaret Shin (U.S.).
Rosanne Pel (Netherlands) presents her second feature, “Calf’s Head.” Pic is a story about women, their bodies and sexualities, and the tensions that arise from these topics in today’s society.
“Elbow” is an adaptation of Fatma Aydemir’s novel and the first feature by Aslı Özarslan (Germany). Co-written by scriptwriter Claudia Schaefer (Germany), pic is a coming-of-age story about a young girl fleeing to Istanbul to escape her fate in Berlin.
The second feature by Croatian filmmaker Hana Jušić, “God Will Not Help” follows the life and customs of a Catholic community living on Dinara mountain at the beginning of the 20th century. Their everyday routine is shaken up when a Chilean woman claiming to be the widow of a local man settles down in the community.
“Home,” by Or Sinai (Israel), is the story of 50-year-old Bella, who left Ukraine 15 years ago to start a new life in Israel. When she learns that her daughter, still living in Ukraine, got pregnant and dropped out of university, she decides that it’s time for her to reclaim her place in the family.
“Insectarium,” by Hannes Baumgartner (Switzerland), is a portrait of 25-year-old Selma, who suffers from psychological disorders. Pic is a study of the human being and the distance between our inner world and how we present ourselves to the society. The project was selected in partnership with Swiss Films.
“La Cercanía” is the third feature film by director Jorge Thielen Armand (Venezuela). It follows Sofia and her daughter Olivia’s trip from the Venezuelan Andes to the streets of Paris, in search of a better life.
Immigration is also at the heart of “Mongrel,” Chiang Wei Liang’s (Singapore) first feature film. Set in the countryside of Southern Taiwan, its main character Oom is part of an underground network of traffickers supplying foreign workers to undertake unwanted jobs.
“Night Butterflies,” by Marta Prus (Poland), follows the story of Maria, an ex-ballerina who has started to work as a ballet school teacher after a car accident. In an attempt to fill a void in her life, she engages in a dangerous relationship with two of her students, 15-year-old Marta and 14-year-old Tadek.
“Pax Europa” is the first feature by Oliver Adam Kusio (Poland). The film takes place in Europe in the near future, as the continent is facing massive protests. The lives of Marta and her husband Lech are shaken by the arrival of teenager Agnes, who claims to be Marta’s long-lost niece.
“Recognition” is Czech Ondřej Novák’s first feature film, co-written by Lucia Kajánková (Slovakia). In the family drama, Karel and his sister Meda travel in search of answers about their father’s disappearance many years ago. But after they locate him in a small town in Italy, he is suddenly the victim of a car accident and dies without being able to provide any answers.
The second feature by Yona Rozenkier (Israel), “Siberia” is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where two daughters and their father are struggling to survive. When the latter gets killed by savages, the two girls can only rely on themselves and a notebook that their father left behind.
“Skiff,” by Cecilia Verheyden (Belgium), selected in partnership with VAF, is a coming-of-age story that explores the awakening sexuality of a 15-year-old girl who, despite having a boyfriend, engages in a romance with her brother’s girlfriend.
Best known for his documentary work, Spanish filmmaker Guillermo García López presents his first fiction feature film, “Sleepless City.” A tale set in an illegal settlement on the outskirts of a Spanish city, it brings together three kids from different backgrounds: a Moroccan, a Spanish gipsy, and a white Spaniard. They try to escape their reality by making a futuristic film with a small video camera.
“Small Country” is Argentinian Pablo Aparo’s first feature. The story unfolds on the eve of Argentina’s massive economic crisis and follows a middle-class family who struggle to maintain a façade of normalcy, as their whole world is about to collapse.
“Spectrum,” by Philbert Aimé Mbabazi (Rwanda), is the story of 25-year-old student Boya, newly arrived in Geneva from Cameroon. Apolitical and hedonistic, he is looking forward to a fresh start in Europe. But he is caught up with reality when the Cameroonian Embassy forces him to become an informer about the political opposition movements in Geneva.
The second feature by Danielle Lessovitz (USA), “The Flares” questions the dynamics of Whitter, a small town in Alaska where everyone lives in a single high-rise apartment complex. In this environment, Lenni must hide the symptoms of a debilitating illness in order to survive.
“The Little Love,” by Celia Rico Clavellino (Spain), explores the relationship between a woman and her aging mother, who would like her 42-year-old daughter Teresa to settle down and start a family. But Teresa, childless and without a steady partner, has no intention of giving up her independence.
“Uk Kei” means “home” in Cantonese. This first feature by young filmmaker Leonor Teles (Portugal), co-written by Ágata de Pinho (Portugal), follows the runaway El from Lisbon to Macau, where she attempts to leave behind a past love and create a new life in an exotic place.