Compelling, Thrillerish Tale of Later-Life Liberation in an Oppressive Society
Compelling, Thrillerish Tale of Later-Life Liberation in an Oppressive Society
I look forward to be working with two of these talented female screenwriters during the Berlinale residency of the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA). Selection will be out soon.
Celia Rico Clavellino (1982) is a Spanish screenwriter and filmmaker graduated in Media Studies and Comparative Literature. She also has a postgraduate in Script Editing and a PhD in Film Theory.
“Journey around a Mother’s Room” her first feature film, premiered at San Sebastian Film Festival in 2018. The script participated in the Script Station of Berlinale Talents 2015. Her previous work as a director was “Luisa is not home”, a short film that participated in the Official Selection of La Biennale di Venezia, in the Cannes Short Film Corner and in other important national and international film festivals. Between other awards, it won a Gaudí (Catalan Cinema Academy Awards) as a best short film in 2013.
She is the scriptwriter and co-director of the project „Mironins“, an animated TV series for kids (currently in development) with the collaboration of Joan Miró Foundation. Celia has worked as an assistant to Claudia Llosa, and was the Second Unit Director on her latest film, “Aloft”. She has directed the project “Film Diaries”, an experimental documentary project for old women social integration, in collaboration with La Caixa Foundation and Barcelona City Council.
She has worked for several Spanish film companies such as Arcadia Motion Pictures (“Blancanieves”, “Aloft”, “Blackthorn”) or Oberon Cinematogràfica (“The Milk of Sorrow”, “Childish Games”, “Elisa K”).
Ani (70) takes a fall walking her dog and breaks her femur. Her daughter Teresa (42), who lives in the city, changes her vacation plans and moves into her mother’s house in the countryside to look after her until she can walk again.
For the first time in many years, mother and daughter spend day and night together. The mother is completely dependent on her daughter, who is useless at housework, and the daughter fully immerses herself into the temporality of her mother, whose griping is insufferable. To make matters worse, the heat is suffocating, and the threat of a summer storm looms heavily in the air they breathe, already dripping with mutual disapproval, memories, and the constant doubting of each other’s decisions. Teresa, childless and without a steady partner, ferociously defends her independence. Ani, widowed and with the sole company of her dog –who’s been missing since her fall–, still harbours the hope that her daughter will not be alone in the future. Otherwise, who will look after her when she, too, takes a fall in her old age?
She is a filmmaker and writer with vast experience of both drama and documentary production. My most recent documentary Mercury 13 was made for Netflix in 2018. My promo for the film won the “Cuban Hat for Best Pitch” at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival, Canada in 2015. I have a keen sense of narrative and an exceptional visual flair. My experience of film and media production is extensive from feature films to factual and observational documentaries to arts and history documentaries. Currently, I am developing two feature film scripts Want ( formerly Nightcrawler) and Mercury Rising, both have received financial support from Screen Ireland.
Jess Whelan has an eating disorder. Her mother, a nurse, cannot accept this. They are trying to rebuild their lives after Jess’ latest hospitalisation. Single parent, Bee works shift hours in a local old folks home while Jess returns to school but is expelled for putting her hand through a window. When a tree is felled on their housing estate, Jess finds an old ivory comb nearby. She also finds Anna, a brash and out-going ally. The girls attempt to out do each other with obsessive starvation. They meet Red (a local council worker), at a niteclub. Red takes things too far with Anna.
Meanwhile, Bee is getting grief from the bank and education officers but still no support for Jess, who is on a waiting list for a referral to a psychologist. Bee decides to investigate returning home to Canada – at least they’ll get more support for Jess there. Red turns up at Jess’ house and rapes her, Anna helps her kill him. They bury the body in the area where Jess found the ivory comb. Jess meets Billy, a local boy who tells her that the school and surrounding housing estate used to be a workhouse in famine times. Bee wears the ivory comb to work one evening and an elderly patient tells her it should be put back where it was found, no good will come of it, its a death comb, she warns. One evening, Billy and Jess discover the cops digging up the green area. When Jess hears a body has been found, she panics. At home, Bee is waiting for her. She has uncovered Jess’ diary and realises that her daughter is in a psychotic state. Anna and Jess are one and the same person. With the police closing in, Bee decides to make a break for Canada earlier than planned. At the airport, Bee and Jess hear that a famine burial mound has been revealed on the site where Red was buried.
A jet stream rises high into the sky, the famine woman looks up and smiles, we see blood dripping from her mouth. Beside her, in the bushes, sits Red’s baseball hat.
After her masters at the University Paris IX, Dauphine Katharina started in film distribution and sales at MK2 – Marin Karmitz in Paris 1988, moving to film production in Toronto, Canada, where she got to know the American film business. She has been working on the sets in feature film and TV-production in Europe over 16 years, also directing documentaries, short and experimental films.
Furhermore, she was producing under her own banner in Germany, France, Italy, Africa and India. She developed and wrote feature films for the cinema and developed concepts for TV and internet in cooperation with German, French, Italian and Indian producers, channels, studios and web platforms. 2011 she founded the production company Bombay Berlin Film Productions with Arfi Lamba, based in Berlin, Germany and Mumbai, India.
The deserted countryside of Maharashtra. An Indian farmer, his wife and four children are eating plain rice in their small hut. Suddenly he starts vomiting and dies on the spot. While his wife still desperately tries to save him, her son discovers that his father has put pesticides in his own rice.
Johanna (35), a warm-hearted and ambitious lawyer is working in Berlin, where the Rondo headquarters are based in a majestic skyscraper at Potsdamer place overlooking the city. As the most senior lawyer at Rondo, she will fight a case in which Rondo is accused of suicides committed by 300.000 Indian farmers between 1998 and now, as a result of the companies genetically modified, high yield seed schemes. Being informed by her boss Mr. Schneider (65) that she is a runner up for the Board of Directors, this case is a great chance to push her career, or break it.
At the steps of the International Court of Justice in The Hague she has a first encounter with her opponent Shaantanu (39), at which Johanna makes it clear that it is not Rondo Agricorp, but the corrupt Indian political system, the uneducated farmers and the greedy moneylenders that have caused the wave of suicides.
Kirsi Marie Liimatainen was born in Finland in 1968. She has MA degree in Theatre and Drama studies of the University of Tampere. From 1991-1999, she worked as an actress in films, television and in theatres in Finland.
From 1999-2006, she studied directing at the Potsdam-Babelsberg Academy of Film and Television. Kirsi Marie Liimatainen was awarded scholarships by the DEFA-Foundation, the Nipkow-Program, the Academy of Arts in Berlin, the Finnish Cultural Foundation and took part in the Residence program of the Cannes film festival, CÉCI, Binger Film Lab, Torino Film Lab and the Residence program Saari of the KONEFoundation.
KERTTU (65) comes to the end of her career as a Finnish language and literature teacher in a high school in Southern Finland. Retirement brings long awaited freedom, but also a surprising feeling of loneliness. Kerttu’s husband, SEPPO (67) is still working as a specialist in paper mill engineering and often travels abroad. Kerttu’s grownup daughters, SOFIA (35) and ANNA (32) have their own busy independent lives. Anna is pregnant and even though Kerttu knows her daughter will soon need help with the baby, she feels that her life has become meaningless. She wonders what happened to the young idealistic hippie couple – she and her husband Seppo – and how they became middle class, overweight and old.
Out shopping in the city center with her best friend PIRKKO (63), Kerttu meets PEKKA (32) who is collecting money to help asylum seekers. Pekka tells the women that he is doing a volunteer job at a local reception center. Pirkko is skeptical, but Kerttu is impressed by his youthful idealism. When Kerttu takes the leaflet in her hand, little does she know that everything she takes for granted will be changed forever.
Kerttu and Pekka get to know one another and despite the fact that Kerttu’s husband and her daughters are opposed to the idea, Kerttu starts working as a Finnish language teacher at the reception center. When an Afghan family is threatened with forced repatriation, Kerttu takes action. Together with Pekka, Kerttu hides the family in a summer cottage on the outskirts of the city. Kerttu’s husband Seppo gets wind of the plan and threatens to report her to the police. The married couple – former members of the ’68 student movement – now stand against each other, no longer side by side.
With a BA in English and Philosophy from University College Cork and M.Phil in Irish Theatre from Trinity College Dublin, Oonagh’s passion for directing was sparked when she got the job as casting director to Ken Loach on his Palm d’Or winning THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY in 2005. Since graduating from the NFTS in London, Oonagh has written and directed several award-winning short films, a Reel Art funded feature documentary and TV pilot for RTE. She shadow-directed on the comedy drama series CAN’T COPE WON’T COPE with Deadpan Pictures in 2016 and her most recent short film FIVE LETTERS TO THE STRANGER WHO WILL DISSECT MY BRAIN won Best Director of an Irish Short at the 2018 Cork International Film Festival, Discovery Award and Best Irish Short film at the 2019 Dublin International Film Festival, and Best Short Screenplay at the Irish Writers Guild Awards in June 2019.
As a writer, Oonagh has participated in several Screen Skill Ireland initiatives, Berlinale Talents, She Writes and the ‘Apulia Experience’ a five-week international TV writing workshop. Oonagh’s feature screenplay SNOW ON BEARA was selected for the Athena IRIS Screenplay Lab in NYC and the BBC Drama Writers Room in 2017 and is in development with Screen Ireland. From January to May 2019, Oonagh was writer-in-residence at Carlow College.
In the wilds of Beara, a remote peninsula in West Cork, three women, English surgeon ESTHER (44), local postmistress NELL (36) and local teenager JO-JO (19), meet on a cliff following a near fatal car accident. While trying to get to the nearest village to find Esther a place to stay, things don’t go to plan and they end up stuck on Nell’s tractor looking for shelter to ride out a massive snow storm. Set in the forty-eight hours when their chaotic lives overlap, we are brought on a wild journey through their personal crises, all of which relate to mothering. To survive the night, they must not only work together, but support each other, as they face painful truths about themselves, the past, and the lives they still hope to lead. In Ireland, snowstorms are rare.
It was great to work as a script consultant with the award winning screenwriter and director IVONA JUKA from Croatia (director of „You carry me“ on Netflix) on her new project during the „Female Scriptwriter Residency Programme“ of the European Womens´s Audiovisual Network (EWA) – a great initiative dedicated to supporting the next generation of screenwriting talents among EWA members.
It helps them to enter the industry with the best script possible by working on the strategic positioning of their project. Its purpose is to give a selected woman scriptwriter or director the opportunity to be mentored by the script consultant SUZANNE PRADEL, to work with her before the Berlinale and to attend the EFM at the Berlinale to make connections.
Photo: Anita Juka, Alessia Sonaglioni, Ivona Juka, Suzanne Pradel
The 3rd scriptwriter residency programme of the EUROPEAN WOMEN´S AUDIOVISUAL NETWORK is a great initiative dedicated to supporting the next generation of screenwriting talents among EWA members. It helps them to enter the industry with the best script possible by working on the strategic positioning of their project . Its purpose is to give a selected woman scriptwriter or director the opportunity to be mentored by the script consultant Suzanne Pradel, to work with her before the Berlinale and to attend the EFM at the Berlinale to make connections.
The shortlisted female scriptwriters for the residency 2019 are:
Spanish scriptwriter/ director Fany De La Chica with her script her dramedy „Al ALBA“.
Kroatian scriptwriter/ director Ivona Juka with her script antiwar-drama „LAMBS IN WOLFSKIN“
Romanian scriptwriter/ director Cecilia Stefanescu with her script for her mystery drama „THE GREAT ADVENTURE“.
Suzanne Pradel is the script consultant attached to the programme. Suzanne is an international script consultant, lecturer and bookscout. For many years, she has been working as a script expert for European Film Funds. In 2009 she founded the BUCHSCOUT AGENCY which specializes in novel-to-film adaptations as well as international script consultancy, developing sophisticated TV features and cinematic features.
EWA scriptwriter’s residency programme is an initiative dedicated to supporting the career of the next generation of screenwriting talents among members of the European Women´s Audiovisual Network (EWA). It helps them to enter the industry with the best script (feature films only) possible by working on the strategic positioning of their project. Its purpose is to give a selected woman scriptwriter or director the opportunity to be mentored by a script consultant, to work with her before the Berlinale and to attend the EFM at the Berlinale 2019 to make connections.
„Despite the fact that I am back in a rollercoaster of everyday duties with all the other projects and my kids, I keep a memory of the residency as an important and precious kick off which pushed me so much ahead. It also helped me build up my self-confidence as a female author with a unique view on things.“
filmmaker Andrea Culkova
Who is eligible?
1 female scriptwriter, screenwriter/director or screenwriter/producer with a European nationality and resident in Europe (47 Council of Europe countries) having written or directed at least one feature film (fiction or documentary) distributed (Theatrically/TV/wide festival trajectory) in one European country. No screenwriter teams are accepted.
2 who is an EWA member. If you are not an EWA member you can join us now
3 who has a first draft of a script in English for a full length feature film. Fiction only.
4 the principal photography of the film should be done in Europe
Elements to be provided:
1 CV in English
2 copy of valid ID
3 Draft script in English
4 Synopsis in English
5 Project status information
6 Motivation letter for the residency in English.
7 Evidence of release of previous films
***Please send the requested material until September 30***
A commitee of three industry experts will select the best project among those received.
The Offer: travel costs from and to Berlin. accommodation in a private room + access to a kitchen in Berlin starting from 17 January 2019 – and ending 17 February 2019, including four working sessions with a well-known script consultant (3 in Berlin + 1 Skype session after the Berlinale) and accreditation for the Berlinale.
The EWA scriptwriting residency and the script consultancy must be mentioned in the credits of the later film.
Suzanne Pradel is the script consultant attached to the programme.
Suzanne is an international script consultant, lecturer and bookscout. For many years, she has been working as a script expert for European Filmfunds. In 2009 she founded the BUCHSCOUT AGENCY which specializes in novel-to-film adaptations as well as international script consultancy, developing sophisticated TV features and cinematic features.
For more information check out:
The high quality and diversity of the projects submitted for the EWA´S 2nd Female Scriptwiter´s Residency in Berlin made the decision-making process very challenging and inspiring, that´s why the jury of the European Women´s Audiovisual Network decided to give the project „It’s Bonny by the Sea“ by Rebecca Innes a special mention and a script consultancy session with the script consultant Suzanne Pradel.
Whilst studying Media Production BA (Hons) at Northumbria University Rebecca also worked freelance within the Art Department on several short and feature films including the BAFTA-nominated ‘I Am Nasrine‘ and Gillian Wearing’s art documentary ‚Self Made‘. She then moved to London to work at the London Film Academy where she met Writer-Directors Syed Zul Tojo and Kevork Aslanyan and co-wrote feature films and pilots ‘Melaka‘ and ‘No White‘. Since then Rebecca and Syed have co-written ‘Hijabsta Ballet‘, Malaysia’s first research film, which was released theatrically in July 2017. Rebecca continues to co-write with Kevork and works on her own projects in the U.K. Rebecca is also an Associate Lecturer at Northumbria University, teaching screenwriting on the Animation BA (Hons) degree. BuchScout Agency is her agent.
„It’s Bonny By The Sea“ is a film about love, heartache and self-care. Polish care worker Irena arrives to the run-down coastal town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea in Northumberland looking for breathing space from her failing marriage but instead she finds Alex, a caring and capable young man stunted by his small-town existence. Brought together through their mutual care for Alex’s nan Sally, a simple but wise old woman trapped by Alzheimer’s disease, the pair bring hope to one another and come to learn the value and purpose of pragmatic love.
„Testosterone Story – The Fragile Beauty of Masculinity“, written by Andrea Culkova, has been selected for the 2nd EWA’s scriptwriter residency programme in Berlin.
The female scriptwriter residency program of the European Women´s Audiovisual Network (EWA) is a great initiative dedicated to supporting the next generation of screenwriting talents, and helping them enter the industry by working the strategic positioning of the project with the best script possible. Its purpose is offering to one selected woman scriptwriter or director the possibility to be mentored by the script consultant Suzanne Pradel to work with her before and after Berlinale and to have the opportunity to attend the EFM at the Berlinale 2018 to make connections.
Andrea Culkova is a film director, creative artist, pedagogue and mother of three. She received a degree in art education from Prague’s Charles University and later in documentary direction from the Film Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). Her feature film „Sugar Blues“ had its international premiere at CPH:DOX in 2014 and was screened at numerous festivals and sold worldwide. The meta-art project H*Art On was made in cooperation with the National Gallery in Prague and the Dok.Incubator Workshop 2015, and premiered at Dok Leipzig 2016 – Next Masters competition. Alongside „The Brainwashing Experiment“ it was included in the 2016 Camp4science program. Andrea Culkova’s background in fine arts is evident in the original style she brings to her audiovisual work and the unique interpretation she finds in each of her projects.
Synopsis: In the heart of Europe there’s a swimming pool where the water is almost completely still and the surface is just barely disturbed by the clumsy limbs of those who have been kissed by death. Testosterone’s fanatic riders have been brought here, the Kladruby Sanatorium, from all over the world to attempt the practically impossible – a return to life. To do this they must reconsider all their previous goals and accept the fact that the world will never be the same as before death’s kiss, but that even this is a triumph. Yet not everyone is able to understand this and not everyone will make it during their five-month stay in the sanatorium. After all, it’s the past with all its debts, mortgages, and unresolved relationships that mercilessly catches up with them here. Indeed, nothing tests a relationship more than the serious injury of a partner. And what about Adam and his wife, the rehabilitation nurse Štěpánka? How do they fit into all of this?
Screenplay: Doruntina Basha
Script Consultant: Suzanne Pradel
Cinematography: Sevdije Kastrati
Cast: Teuta Ajdini Jegeni, Alketa Sylaj, Astrit Kabashi, Refet Abazi
Producer: Isstra Creative Factory, Dream Factory Macedonia, Vera Film