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).
Celia Rico, The Little Loves
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”).
SELECTED PROJECT: THE LITTLE LOVES
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?
Geraldine Creed, WANT
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.
SELECTED PROJECT: WANT
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.
Katharina Suckale, BETWEEN OUR WORLDS
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.
SELECTED PROJECT: BETWEEN OUR WORLDS
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 Liimatainen, with TERKKU
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.
SELECTED PROJECT: KERTTU
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.
Oonagh Kearney, with SNOW on BEARA
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.
SELECTED PROJECT: SNOW ON BEARA
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.