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2014: A Balkan cinema year in numbers!
23 December 2014
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Being still surrounded by an exotic aura on both Western and Far-East audiences΄perception, Balkan films had once more a significant success during 2014. It seems like every year, one of the major film festivals in the world, like Cannes, Berlin or Venice, to name a few, is awarding its top prizes to a film from the Balkans, which continue to gain International recognition and severe financial support by European and/or regional funds.

Up to now, our database search shows one hundred fifty films already designated as produced in 2014 in the Balkans. Some, of course, could be missing -don’t forget that films are being added on a daily basis- but the fact remanins that at least 150 Balkan films were produced during 2014. Out of those 150, 43 were co-productions (32 fictions and 11 documentaries).

Eurimages fund plays a crucial role in the making of co-productions between European countries. Through its four 2014 meetings, Eurimages supported 26 Balkan co-productions (including 6 minor co-productions) out of 74 funded in total, films which we are waiting to watch in theaters next year.

Turkey received support for 6 projects and 1 minor co-production, followed by Romania with 5 projects and 2 minor co-productions, Croatia with 2 project and 4 minor co-productions, FYROM with 2 projects and 2 minor co-productions, Bulgaria with 1 project and 3 minor co-productions, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 1 project and 2 minor co-productions, Slovenia with 1 project and 2 minor co-productions and, finally, Serbia, supported for 1 project and 1 minor co-production.

22 new projects were funded also by the MEDIA programme during 2014: 7 documentaries, 12 single projects and 3 slate funds. Croatia and Bulgaria have the lion’s share, being granted for 2 documentaries and 3 fiction projects (Croatia) and for 1 fiction, 1 documentary and 2 slate projects (Bulgaria), followed by Romania with 1 documentary, 3 fiction and 1 slate project, Slovenia with 1 documentary and 3 fiction projects, Greece with 1 documentary and 1 fiction project, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 1 fiction project and Cyprus with 1 documentary. 

MEDIA programme also welcomed Albania and Montenegro as its newest members, while Serbia, FYROM and Turkey remain the only Balkan states still not approved for the MEDIA production call. 

We shouldn’t forget to mention the 5 Balkan Producers selected for EFP΄s (European Film Promotion) Producers on the Move 2014: Maya Vitkova (Bulgaria), Vanja Jambrovic (Croatia), Konstantinos Kontovrakis (Greece), Ivan Djurovic (Montenegro) and Ognen Antov (FYROM), while actors Cosmina Stratan (Romania) and Nikola Rakocevic (Serbia) were named European Shooting Stars for 2014 at the last Berninale.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan holding the Palme d΄Or

The undeniable highlight from the Balkan Film Industry map of 2014, Winter Sleep, Nouri Bilge Ceylan΄s Palme d΄Or was granted the sum of €450,000 from Eurimages. The three and a half hours long Turkish/French/German co-production gathers awards and special mentions wherever it travels, a slow-burning piece of art with an obvious Bergmanesque and Chechovian approach.

Highlights by country

For Albania, 2014 has a name only: Bota. Iris Elezi & Thomas Logoreci΄s film won the Fedeora Award of the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and The Mediterranean (FEDEORA) for the Best Film from East of the West – Competition in Karlovy Vary and the Audience Award at Reykjavik Film Festival. The film got support from Eurimages and continues its festival journey. Another film worth to mention, was Scandal by Elton Baxhaku & Eriona Cami, a documentary about some Albanian homosexuals, which was screened at the 6th Eastern Neighbours Film Festival and at LET΄S CEE Film Festival among others.

Going north to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bridges of Sarajevo, an omnibus film by 13 European directors, including Aida Begic, Kamen Kalev, Vladimir Perisic andCristi Puiu from the Balkans, made its International première at Cannes’ Official Selection and participated at LET΄S CEE, Sarajevo, Pula Film Festival among others.

In Bulgaria, the film The Lesson by Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valcjanov (a Bulgarian/Greek co-production) had a significant commercial and artistic success, being awarded with the Bronze Alexander for Originality & Innovation and the Best Screenplay Award in Thessaloniki, and with participations in San Sebastian and Toronto. Another award for Bulgarian cinema came from Tonislav Hristov΄s documentary Love & Engineering (Best Finnish Film at DocPoint Helsinki) which was also screened in Karlovy Vary, Sarajevo and Dokufest in Prizren.

Croatia΄s, Number 55 by Kristijan Milic was a big local hit, winning 8 awards at Pula Film Festival, including the Grand Golden Arena for Best Film and with participations in Raindance, Black Nights Film Festival in Tallinn and at Motovun Film Festival. Zvonimir Juric΄s The Reaper took 4 awards in Pula, including the Croatian Film Critics’ Association Award, having also been screened in Thessaloniki, Toronto and Black Nights. Other two films that can be singled out are Cure - The Life of Another by Andrea Staka, supported by Eurimages and screened in Thessaloniki, Locarno, Sarajevo and Black Nights, and, Ognjen Svilicic΄s These Are the Rules (Special Orizzonti Award for Best Actor for Emir Hadzihafizbegovic Venice, Thessaloniki and Black Nights).

Emir Hadzihafizbegovic with the Special Orizzonti Award for Best Actor

Pointing the map to the Middle East, Cyprus had also a couple of productions going internationally. Evaporating Borders by Iva Radivojevic was named Balkan Documentary Competition Winner at DokuFest, and Best Investigation Film at Doclisboa Film Festival, participating in Rotterdam, SXSW, Hot Docs, Thessaloniki Documentary Festival and other festivals, while, Stelana Kliris΄Committed got screenings at Athens Film Festival, LA Greek Film Festival, San Francisco Greek Film Festival.

Closer to our neighbourhood, in FYROM, we have Antonio Mitrieski΄s feature film Children Of The Sun participating at Raindance Film Festival in London. The country participated as co-producer in a number of films coming from ex-Yugoslavia this year. 

For Greece, 2014 was another productive cinematic year with minor awards and many participations for the country΄s most significant films. Panos H. Koutras΄ euphoric tragicomedy Xenia(MEDIA and Eurimages support) got premièred at Cannes (Un Certain Regard) and went on being screened in Athens International Festival, Karlovy Vary, Toronto, Hamburg, Thessaloniki, Tallinn (Black Nights) and other festivals. Stratos by Yannis Economides supported also by Eurimages, premiered at the Berlinale, got a Greek Film Critics AssociationAward, was named Best Film at Cyprus Film Days and participated in Karlovy Vary, the European Film Festival Palic and Motovun, while At Homeby Athanasios Karanikolas won the Ecumenical Jury Award (Panorama) in Berlin and travelled to Athens, Thessaloniki, Karlovy Vary, Black Nights and other festivals. Syllas Tzoumerkas latest A Blast (a MEDIA and Eurimages supported film) had also a significant festival course (Locarno, Sarajevo, Athens, BFI London Film Festival among others). Norway by Yannis Veslemes got also awarded (FIPRESCI Greek Films Award in Thessaloniki and a participation at Karlovy Vary 2013 – Works in Progress) while Forever by Margarita Manda won the Best Director Award at Cairo Film Festival. What’s more, the film A by Stathis Athanasiou, is the first Greek entirely crowd-funded project and it was screened in Thessaloniki.

Panos H. Koutras and his two protagonists, Kostas Nikouli (left) and Nikos Gelia

A film from Kosovo* had also a presence at the festival circuit this year. Isa Qosja΄s Three Windows And A Hanging got the Fischer Audience Award for a film in the Balkan Survey section in Thessaloniki and the Cineuropa Prize in Sarajevo.

For Romania, 2014 it was a less "glamorous" year, than usually. Corneliu Porumboiou΄s latest The Second Game got a Romanian Days Award for Best Feature Film at Transilvania Film Festival and participated in Thessaloniki and Melbourne. Alexander Nanau΄s Toto and His Sisters was named Best International Documentary at Zurich Film Festival, Best Documentary at Warsaw Film Festival and Best Feature-length Film (Silver Eye Award/East Silver Market section) at Jihlava Film Festival. Another award for a Romanian film came from Bucharest, Where Are You? by Vlad Petri (Audience Award at the European Film Festival, participations in Rotterdam, Transilvania and Eastern Neighbours, among others). 30 films are expected to be released in Romania throughout 2015, among them new ones from Radu Jude, Tudor Giurgiu, Corneliu Porumboiou (again), Florin Serban, Marian Crisan, Catalin Mitulescu,Radu Muntean and Anca Damian.

Northern in Serbia, quite a few films made their way to International festivals. The powerful Barbarians by Ivan Ikic received a Special Mention in Karlovy Vary (East of the West Competition), the Seyfi Teoman Award for the most daring debut film (Palic), the Best Actor Award at FilmForum Zadar, while participated in Thessaloniki, Motovun, Raindance among others. Dusan Milic΄s Travelator went away with an Innovation Award at Montreal, with its protagonist Nikola Rakocevic being named European Shooting Star for 2014 at this year΄s Berlinale. Another hit was Darko Lungulov΄s documentary Monument to Michael Jackson which got an Honourable Mention at LET΄S CEE Film Festival and was screened in Karlovy Vary, Hamburg and other festivals. Mina Djukic΄s The Disobedient also got an award (Best Balkan Film in Prishtina and continued its festival journey in Karlovy Vary, Sundance, Sarajevo and Rotterdam, to mention some, while The Undertaker by Dragan Nikolic participated in Amsterdam, Crossing Europe Film Festival Linz and Dokufest

Ivan Ikic with the cast of Barbarians

Slovenia presented two powerful films -among others- in 2014. Sonja Prosenc΄s The Tree participated in Karlovy Vary, LET΄S CEE and Black Nights, while the MEDIA supported Inferno by Vinko Moderndorfer was screened at CINEMED, Black Nights, Busan Film Festival in South Korea, to mention few of them.

In Turkey,Winter Sleep΄s Palme d΄Or made Nuri Bilge Ceylan one of the few filmmakers being awarded at each of the last Cannes festival he has participated. The supported by Eurimages film was screened in Sarajevo, Toronto, San Sebastian and many other festivals around the globe, while during Cannes the cast and crew of the film demonstrated their support to the SOMA mine victims (an anti-Erdogan action), a thing that numerous Turkish filmmakers did in similar occasions. The Lamb by Kutlug Ataman was the country second big hit for 2014, with 5 awards, including Best Film at Antalya Golden Orange, the CICAE Prize (Panorama section) in Berlin, and participations in Sarajevo, Chicago and others. Erol Mintas΄ latest Song of my Mother triumphed in Sarajevo (Best Film and Best Actor), while winning 3 more awards, including Best First Film at Antalya Golden Orange. Another prize for a Turkish film came from Sivas by Kaan Mujdeci and its Special Jury Prize in Venice, along with participations in Hamburg, Thessaloniki, Black Nights and others. Last but not least, Fatih Akin΄s The Cut with presence in Venice, Hamburg and other festivals.

2014 proved to be a quite fruitful year. We’re excited to see what 2015 will bring us.

A happy Balkan New Year!

  Cure - The Life of Another
  A Blast
  The Disobedient
  Monument to Michael Jackson
  At Home
  The Lamb
  The Second Game
  Evaporating Borders
  The Undertaker
  Love & Engineering
  Winter Sleep
  Where Are You Bucharest?
  Bota / Under The Canebrakes
  The Tree
  Children Of The Sun
  Number 55
  The Reaper
  Bridges of Sarajevo
  Song Of My Mother
  Three Windows And A Hanging
  These Are the Rules
  The Cut
  The Lesson
  Toto and His Sisters
  Ognjen Svilicic
  Isa Qosja
  Emir Hadzihafizbegovic
  Vladimir Perisic
  Darko Lungulov
  Tudor Giurgiu
  Radu Muntean
  Cristi Puiu
  Maya Vitkova
  Syllas Tzoumerkas
  Kamen Kalev
  Corneliu Porumboiu
  Radu Jude
  Stathis Athanasiou
  Yannis Economides
  Panos H. Koutras
  Yannis Veslemes
  Margarita Manda
  Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  Florin Serban
  Catalin Mitulescu
  Marian Crisan
  Fatih Akin
  Anca Damian
  Mina Djukic
  Nikola Rakocevic
  Cosmina Stratan
  Konstantinos Kontovrakis
  Dusan Milic
  Athanasios Karanikolas
  Aida Begic
  Ivan Ikic
  Andrea Staka
  Zvonimir Juric
  Ivan Djurovic
  Vanja Jambrovic
  Ognen Antov
  Kutlug Ataman
  Vinko Moderndorfer
  Iva Radivojevic
  Tonislav Hristov
  Dragan Nikolic (II)
  Vlad Petri
  Stelana Kliris
  Antonio Mitrikeski
  Iris Elezi
  Thomas Logoreci
  Sonja Prosenc
  Kristijan Milic
  Erol Mintas
  Kaan Mujdeci
  Elton Baxhaku
  Eriona Cami
  Kristina Grozeva
  Petar Valchanov
  Alexander Nanau
  Transilvania International Film Festival
  Thessaloniki International Film Festival
  Festival de Cannes
  Berlin International Film Festival - The Berlinale
  Pula Film Festival
  Sarajevo International Film Festival
  International Film Festival Palic
  San Sebastian Film Festival
  Motovun Film Festival
  Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
  Media Programme
  Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
  2013: A year in highlights
  1st annual meeting 2014: Eurimages supports 19 co-productions
  3rd annual meeting 2014: Eurimages Supports 17 co-productions
  4rth annual meeting 2014: Eurimages supports 15 co-productions
  European Film Promotion Official Site
  MEDIA Programme Official Site
  Eurimages Fund Official Site
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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