FÜR IRENA by Giedre Zickyte is now in production

In Production August 2022

  • FÜR IRENA by Giedre Zickyte, producer: EAVE graduate Pille Rünk is in production. The film zooms in on the last few years of an extraordinary woman, Lithuanian theatre scholar, Germanist professor and Holocaust survivor Irena Veisaite. “Never take revenge,” Irena’s mother told her before she was executed by the Nazis. These words kept Irena from feeling blind hatred even in her darkest hour. Born in 1928, Irena barely escaped perishing in the Kaunas ghetto. She was taken into the Christian family of a Lithuanian woman who had six children of her own. After the Soviets occupied the country, her adoptive mother was deported to Siberia. Losing her two mothers – one Jewish, killed by the Nazis, the other Catholic, sent to the Soviet Gulag – made a huge impact on Irena. In the secret ghetto school, Irena read Schiller’s Ballads, and after the war, she decided to study German literature. As a survivor of two totalitarian regimes, Irena dedicated her whole life to resolving conflicts between people and cultures, and healing trauma in society. Speaking about the project, Zickyte said: “Jerusalem of the North, that’s what Vilnius was called before. More than 95% of Lithuania’s Jewish population was massacred over the three-year German occupation – and that is the highest percentage of Holocaust-related murder in all of Europe. Irena is one of the few who miraculously survived. Twice, in Lithuania’s darkest hours, she was allowed to flee but chose not to (...) This film is going to be my farewell letter to Irena – to the woman who made a huge impact on me with her empathy, intelligence, humanism, commitment to understanding the other, and her vigorously open mind. I miss Irena, especially today, when war has returned to Europe. Everything Irena worried about is now bound to come true. Physically, she is not with us any more, but can her wisdom still guide us and help us survive these burdensome times?” During its development, the project was presented at the DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market, where it received the Current Time Award. It has also been selected for the Gap-Financing Market at this year’s Venice Production Bridge. FÜR IRENA is being produced by Giedrė Zickyte for Lithuania’s Moonmakers, in co-production with Pille Rünk, of Estonia’s Allfilm, and Martichka Bozhilova, of Bulgaria’s Agitprop. It received support from the Lithuanian Film Centre, Eurimages, the European Union’s MEDIA programme, the Estonian Film Institute, the Bulgarian National Film Center, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Vilnius’ Goethe-Institut as well as Baltic pubcasters LRT and ERR.


  • THE EMPIRE by Bruno Dumont, co-producer: EAVE graduate Dorothe Beinemeier is in production. Written by the director, the script is set in a curious sci-fi universe: from the banal daily life of a fisherman’s village on the Opal Coast, emerges the epic parallel life of knights from interplanetary kingdoms. Rival clans are engaged in fierce and bloody battle following the announcement of the birth of Margat, the resurgent Prince, purple and ugly, the Beast of the Endtimes — located here on the Opal Coast, he is the child of a young couple already separated, as is common to life in a working class neighbourhood… . Produced by Tessalit Productions, THE EMPIRE is co-produced by Germany’s Red Balloon Film, Italy’s Ascent Film, Belgium’s Novak Prod, and Furyo Films. Pre-bought by Canal+ and Ciné+, the feature film is supported by Pictanovo (Hauts de France region), the small-scale co-production deal between France and Germany, Eurimages, the Italian Cultural Ministre, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the CNC’s support to visual or audio creation with the use of digital technologies, and the Cofinova Sofica.


  • 8 VIEWS OF LAKE BIWA by Marko Raat, co-producers: EAVE graduate Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari is currently shooting. The film is a complex magical-realist ensemble tragedy, a blend of Baltic and Japanese culture and imagery. The story, loosely based on Max Dauthendey’s eponymous 1911 novel, is told through the prism of the “eight views” art tradition. Estonia’s Allfilm handles production duties, partnering with Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari, of Helsinki-based Bufo. The animated segments will be created in Hungary. “We are shooting it on location on the Estonian-Russian border, among a community of ‘old believers’,” says producer Dora Nedeczky, referring to the religious refugees who fled Russia in the 17th century. Locations include Lake Peipsi, Narva and Tallinn. The film was backed by the Estonian Film Institute, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Tartu Film Fund, the Ida-Viru Film Fund and the Finnish Film Foundation, and is being made in collaboration with Yle. The project was previously presented at the Baltic Event co-production market in 2020 and at the Marché du Film’s Co-Production Day in 2021. Shooting will continue until September, with a premiere set for 2023.


  • SOUTHERN CHRONICLES by Ignas Miskinis, producer: EAVE graduate Lukas Trimonis is shooting. The film is based on Rimantas Kmita's novel of the same title. In the working-class neighbourhood of the Lithuanian city of Siauliai, a few years after the restoration of the country’s independence, 17-year-old Rimants is more interested in playing rugby, listening to music and dealing on the black market with his friend Minde than studying for school. Rimants is certain that physical strength and money are essential for success in a changing, competitive society. But when he falls in love with the beautiful, middle-class Monika, his faith in love and future is tested. The film is produced by Lukas Trimonis through IN SCRIPT with support from the Lithuanian Film Centre and the national broadcaster LRT. The film is shooting in Siauliai, Vilnius and on the Lithuanian seacoast. SOUTHERN CHRONICLES is planned to be completed in December 2023.


  • PANOPTICON by George Sikharulidze, producer: EAVE graduate Vladimer Katcharava, co-producer: EAVE graduate Anamaria Antoci is shooting. The Georgian/French/Romanian/Italian co-production explores teenage sexuality and Christian fundamentalism in post-Soviet Georgia. In 2018, well after the dissolution of Soviet atheism, Georgia is a country of growing Orthodox Christianity. Rooted in this fundamentalism are emerging fascist organisations, which perpetuate conservative values on nationalism, religion and sexuality. One such battle is against sex clubs and brothels run by Muslim immigrants that offer a solution for Georgian youth in a country where premarital sex is a religious taboo for girls, but a cultural mandate for boys. “The story told in Panopticon is important for Georgian society, but also unfortunately for the majority of countries. In many places, nationalism, Nazism, fascism, religious intolerance have re-emerged, and this has the greatest impact on teenagers, because it is at this age that a person/personality is formed. The cheerful form that George found by observing the life of the little boy (the main character) contains an important message for young people, who may see parallels and think about some difficult issues”, producer Vladimer Katcharava said. PANOPTICON was supported by the Georgian National Film Center. The project participated in Arras Days (2017), Cinemed Pitching Sessions (2018), Cinéfondation-Cannes (2018-2019), Torino Script Lab (2019) and Torino Film Lab (2020). The film is produced by Vladimer Katcharava through Georgian 20 Steps and co-produced by Olivier Chantriaux through FILM02 (France), Anamaria Antoci through Tangaj Production (Romania) and Luca Cabriolu through More Rosse Production (Italy). Vladimer Chikhradze is line producer.



Page published 30 August 2022.

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