Cinematheque Golden Gate Presents “Ex Oriente Film” this Month

Daniela Rogulj

Ex Oriente Film is a renowned international training program for directors and producers of documentary films.

Cinematheque Golden Gate will host Ex Oriente Film, a workshop series that gives 12 documentary projects the chance to be perfected with the help of film experts. The workshops are devoted to various aspects of development, and the program culminates with a public pitch presentation at the East European Forum where the documentary projects will be delivered to international TV producers, sales agents, distributors, buyers and representatives of film funds and festivals. 

Ex Oriente Film is organized by the Institute of Documentary Films in Prague and is held in cooperation with the production company Hulahop from Zagreb. The Institute of Documentary Films (IDF) is a non-profit center for professional training and networking that assists in guiding and directing the development and funding of creative documentaries in Central and Eastern Europe. Hulahop from Zagreb was established in 2006 by Olinka Vistica and Dana Budisavljević and is engaged in the production of documentary and short films, the distribution of animated feature films, and organizes the World Festival of Animated Films – Animafest Zagreb.

Here is a look at this year’s program, which will be held at Cinematheque Golden Gate (Kinoteka Zlatna Vrata) from June 27 to June 30, 2017. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

10:00 to 11:30 Lecture: Gallery of fictitious reality

A landscape trip where reality becomes artificial and artificial becomes a reality. The course will be led by Jan Gogola, a director, screenwriter, and educator with the Prague FAMU faculty, where he teaches in the departments of documentary and feature films. The lecture will also screen short film clips, some of which Gogola collaborated on, showing a fluid boundary between reality and fiction.

12:00 to 13:30 Lecture Notes on the presentation trailers 

How to choose the correct approach and present the essence of the film, your authoring skills and emotionally involve the audience and/or decision makers while watching the trailer? Workshop leaders Ivana Pauer Milosevic, Filip Remunda, Iikka Vehkalahti, and Mikael Opstrup will share their ideas and experiences from different perspectives of trailer presentation.

21:00 Screening: Homo sapiens (94′, directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Switzerland / Germany / Austria, 2016)

Homo sapiens is a film about the limitations and fragility of human life and the end of the industrial age and how will it affect the individual.

The projection will be presented by the film’s director.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10:00 to 11:30 Masterclass: Nikolaus Geyrhalter

Films by the Austrian director Nikolaus Geyrhalter are known for their precise imagery that allows the audience to create their own insights and conclusions. The rhythm, pace and sound are important components of his work that emphasize the integrity of the film experience. In his masterclass, Nikolaus Geyrhalter will present precisely those elements of his work and evoke our own unique view of the world.

17:00 to 18:30 Lecture: He can see, but he can not be heard: (in) the visibility of a documentary cameraman

The role of a cameraman in documentary cinema, especially in the ‘observational’ genre, is an insufficiently researched and important topic. The sensitive triangle of the director-figure-team (namely, the cinematographer) will decide how the scene will actually play out and how the viewer should experience it. The lecture will be held by experienced cinematographer and director of photography Philip Bellaiche.


17:00 to 18:30 Case study: Croatian minority co-production documentary

Producer Sinisa Juricic will share his experiences with documentary projects where he has worked as a minority co-producer. Strategy, benefits, opportunities, and possible pitfalls of minority co-productions in Croatia.

21:00 Film screening: Happiness (75 min, Director: Thomas Balmes, France / Finland, 2014)

Peyangki is a lonely 80-year-old monk who lives with his mother in a remote village in Bhutan. A television will soon come to the village. Peyangki goes on a three-day trip with his uncle to the capital where they will buy a TV and discover the lights of the city. But does the television bring happiness?

The projection will be presented by the film’s director.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

15:30 to 17:00 Masterclass: Thomas Balmes

The award-winning director and producer Thomas Balmes, whose films often deal with universal themes, will present his film methodology with special emphasis on their own observational method. Using the examples of the films Happiness and Babies, Thomas Balmes will explain how to create a narrative structure with the help of visual language. The masterclass will be moderated by the main presenter of the Ex Oriente workshop, Iikka Vehkalahti.

19:30 Film screening: Houston, we have a problem! (98 min., Directed by Ziga Virc, Slovenia / Croatia / Germany / France / Qatar, 2016)

International Cold War conspiracy, declassified confidential documents and the collusion of John F. Kennedy and Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito’s is only the tip of the iceberg in this impressive directorial debut by Žiga Virc.

The projection will be presented by the film’s director.

Friday, June 30, 2017

15:00 to 16:00 Lecture: The role of public television in documentary films

… and how to access them. Producer Simone Baumann and former external editor at YLE Iikka Vehkalahti will share their experience in the dynamics of the relationship between independent producers and public television.

16:30 p.m. to 18:00 Case Study: Houston, we have a problem!

Director Žiga Virc and producer Sinisa Juricic will present a practical example of the documentary Houston, we have a problem! They will concentrate on a special technique of combining fiction and reality in order to reveal some truth or attract attention to certain aspects of society or of ourselves which we may not be aware of. Ziga Virc also will talk about the challenges of shooting docu-fiction and the process of making such a film.

All lectures will be held in English. Admission is free!


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