Three winners were announced on Sunday evening for the ninth edition of Locarno’s First Look, the festival’s initiative to showcase films in post-production: Milica Tomović’s “Celts,” Filip Martinović’s “Telenovela Greyscale in Color” and Marta Popivoda’s “Resisting Landscapes.”
First Look offers a potential springboard onto the international market, having previously hosted breakout projects such as Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ “To Kill A Man,” an eventual Sundance World Cinema grand jury winner; Mantas Kvedaravicius “Parthenon,” premiering at Venice’s Critics’ Week this year; and Vicente Alves do Ó’s “Sunburn,” later picked up by international sales, distribution and production company The Open Reel.
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This year the section hosted six works in progress – five documentaries and one fiction – from Serbia selected by Film Center Serbia. Four of the six were directed by helmed by women directors. Each work in progress was introduced by its producer to world sales agents and festival programmers attending Locarno Pro.
The only fiction feature at First Look this year, Milica Tomovic, “Celts” is the story of three generations which meet head on at a child’s costume birthday party during the dissolution of former Yugoslavia. Tomovic’s short “Transition” world premiered in Locarno before participating in competition at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.
Vladimir Vasiljević and Milica Tomović at EED Productions produced the feature, which scored €65,000 ($72,800) in post-production services sponsored by Cinelab Bucharest.
“Telenovela Greyscale in Color” from debut feature director Filip Martinović is produced by Nikola Savicevic at Gulu Gulu Presenta. French cinema publication Le Film Français awarded the feature €5,600 ($6,300) in advertising.
Born in Belgrade but raised in Barcelona, Martinović turned the camera on himself for this autobiographical documentary. In it, the filmmaker seeks details about his family’s past, and discovers storylines that reminds him of dramatic Spanish-language telenovelas.
Finally, Marta Popivoda’s “Resisting Landscapes” was awarded €5,000 ($5,600) by Kaiju Cinema D/ffusion to be used in the production of key art design. In the documentary, Popivoda unravels the story of Sonja Vujanovic, an anti-fascist fighter in former Yugoslavia and member of the resistance movement inside Auschwitz. Popivoda wrote the screenplay with long-time collaborator Ana Vujanovic, Sonja’s granddaughter.
“Resisting Landscapes” is produced by Dragana Jovović and Marta Popivoda at Theory at Work.
The Serbian industry has made great strides over the past decade, thanks in no small part to improved government funding and an increase in international co-production.
The jury for First Look 2019 included Tallin Black Nights Film Festival artistic director Tiina Look, Torino Film Festival artistic director Emanuela Martini and Berlin programmer Lorenzo Esposito, who selected three features to receive awards provided by Cinelab Bucharest, Le Film Français and Kaiju Cinema D/ffusion.