Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsPressEuropean Work in Progress Cologne 2020: Here are the 28 competing projects

European Work in Progress Cologne 2020: Here are the 28 competing projects

Today the third edition of European Work in Progress Cologne (EWIP) will be launched during the 30th Film Festival Cologne. 28 film projects from 34 countries have been carefully selected and the production teams now have the opportunity to present their film productions to an international industry audience. Despite the Corona pandemic, the international industry event takes place in the presence of the participants from 5-7 October, of course with a coordinated hygiene concept. The event aims to bring together those creative minds with leading experts and representatives of international distributors, world sales companies, film festivals and other industry delegates in order to further develop and finalise collaboration and financing strategies.

Torsten Frehse, board member of AG Verleih: "The experiences in Cannes and other industry events in this Corona year have shown that the direct exchange of people, despite numerous digital communication possibilities, cannot be replaced by anything. That is why we have been working with our partners for a long time on a concept to meet the hygiene standards and the requirement to bring all participants to Cologne. We are very pleased that the guests from Germany and the world accepted the invitation. "

As in the previous year, the selection of film projects shines with a variety of themes and genres. Once again, it was possible to submit not only feature films, but also documentaries. A special feature in this year’s edition is the production VIRAL by Christian Beetz from Germany/Israel. This documentary series is a compilation of existing YouTube material, which deals with everyday life in times of the Corona pandemic and could not be more up-to-date.

Some participants are already familiar since the second edition of EWIP, for example RED BALLOON, the co-producer of an exciting drama. Further, the German production company LUPA FILM will participate with their drama  FABIAN (WT), directed by Dominik Graf. Other major international production companies that will be present this year are METRAFILMS (Russia), MAGAMEDIA (Ireland) and INSCRIPT (Lithuania).

During the event, all film projects will be presented to experienced industry experts in 15-minute pitching sessions. In addition, there will be one-to-one meetings as well as various panel discussions and workshops in cooperation with Creative Europe Desk NRW and Creative Europe Desks Germany. The award ceremony on Tuesday evening completes the programme.

EWIP is mainly supported by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, one of Europe’s leading funding agencies, and organized by the AG Verleih, the association of independent German film distributors.

The jury, comprised of renowned industry representatives such as Triin Tramberg, Programme coordinator at the Talinn Black Nights Festival, Leslie Chen, Senior Advisor of Blossoms Entertainment, Melanie Andernach, Managing Director and co-founder of MADE IN GERMANY Filmproduktion, as well as Sebastian Lückel, Team Leader Cinema, Purchasing and Planning at ARD Degeto, awards prizes with a total value of 37,000 euros, the post-production service as well as press support at an international festival.

Once again, K13 Studios, LAVAlabs Moving Images, ARRI Media and ZOOM Medienfabrik are the award sponsors.

These are the 28 projects selected:

9TH STEP, Lithuania

Can anything be more difficult than apologising to your daughter for her stolen childhood?

Genre: Drama

Director: Irma Puzauskaite, Writer: Egle Vertelyte, Producer: Lukas Trimonis (Inscript), Junior Producer: Viktorija Cook (Inscript)

CONVENIENCE STORE, Russia/Slovenia/Turkey

CONVENIENCE STORE is a personal, intimate story about being a mother and a woman under unbearable circumstances of modern slavery.

Genre: Drama

Director: Michael Borodin, Writer: Michael Borodin, Producers: Artem Vasilyev, Asya Pavlovskaya (METRAFILMS), Co-Producers: Ales Pavlin, Andrej Stritof (PERFO), Diloy Gulun (KARMA FILMS), Creative Producer: Julia Shaginurova (Einbahnstrasse Productions)



DARKLING, Serbia/Denmark/Italy/Greece/Bulgaria

A family living in post-war Kosovo, protected by KFOR at daytime, experience a dreadful

torment when night falls. They struggle to prove their fear is real, to keep their sanity and to

stay alive.

Genre: Drama

Director: Dušan Milić, Writer: Dušan Milić, Producer: Snežana van Houwelingen (Film Deluxe International), Co-Producers: Ivan Krstović (This and That Productions), Ivana Miković (Firefly Productions), Stefan Kitanov (RFF International), Lene Broglum (Space Rocket Nation), Debora Desio (A_Lab), Rena Vougioukalou (Graal S.A)

FABIAN (WT), Germany

Berlin, in the early 30s: the copywriter Fabian loses his job, his girlfriend, his best friend – and tries to keep his dignity while the world is going to the dogs.

Genre: Drama

Director: Dominik Graf, Writer: Constantin Lieb, Dominic Graf, Producer: Felix von Boehm (Lupa Film), Co-Producers: Marc Schmidtheiny, Christoph Daniel (DCM Pictures)

IN LIMBO, Russia

This is the story about Teenagers protesting against their parents and the realities of modern Russia, who face a difficult choice – to give up their struggle or commit suicide.

Genre: Adventure, Criminal Drama, Coming of Age

Director: Alexander Hant, Writer: Vladislav Malakhov, Alexander Hant, Producer: Maxim Dobromyslov (LLC Perevorot), Co-Producer: Ruben Dishdishyan (LLC Mars Media)

IRON STREAM, Bangladesh/Germany

After finding herself pregnant, an unmarried single woman (33) living in a tabooed Muslim society of Bangladesh struggles in her lonely journey to salvage the relation and the baby – while the man lives in his political utopia until it’s too late!

Genre: Drama

Director: Kamar Ahmad Simon, Writer: Kamar Ahmad Simon, Producer: Sara Afreen (Studio BEGINNING), Co-Producer: Yvonne Wellie, Jonas Weydemann (Weydemann Bros.)




1962. Johannes, 32, visits a physics congress in the Swiss Alps, where he finds himself

dragged into a sinister story – a story of false memories, real dreams, impossible love and a

dark, roaring mystery hidden under the mountain.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Director: Timm Kröger, Writer: Roderick Warich, Timm Kröger, Producers: Heino Deckert, Tina Börner ( Fiction), Co-Producers: Lixi Frank, David Bohun (Panama Film)

LOVE IS A DOG FROM HELL, Philippines /Germany

In Manila, Orphea goes through hell. While passionately searching for her Eurydiko, he is already hot on her heels.

Genre: Surreal Love Musical

Director: Khavn de la Cruz, Writers: Douglas Candano, Khavn de la Cruz, Producers: Stephan Holl, Antoinette Köster (Rapid Eye Movies), Achinette Villamor, Khavn de la Cruz (Karmias Overground)

LOVING HIGHSMITH, Switzerland/Germany

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s personal writings and accounts of her family and lovers, the film casts new light on the famous thriller writer’s life and oeuvre, permeated by themes of love and its defining influence on identity.

Genre: Biopic

Director: Eva Vitija, Writer: Eva Vitija, Producers: Franziska Sonder, Maurizius Staerkle-Drux (Ensemble Film), Co-Producers: Carl-Ludwig Rettinger, Lino Rettinger (Lichtblick Film)

MARTIN AND THE FOREST SECRET, Czech Republic/Germany/Slovakia

The adventurous story about a young geek city boy, Martin, who has to overcome himself and stay two weeks in the summer camp without his comfort and any technology. Here he will be challenged to help the forest creatures to save their forest of being destroyed by greedy developers.

Genre: Fiction, Adventure, Family Drama

Director: Petr Oukropec, Writer: Kateřina Kačerovská, Producer: Peter Badač (BFILM), Co-Producers: Anette Unger (Leitwolf Filmproduktion), BFILM



MEMORY OF WATER, Finland/Germany/Estonia/Norway

In the waterless world of the future, Noria, a courageous young Tea Master, finds a secret source of water. In order to expose the secret, she must convince her cynical friend to believe that the world can be changed and to join her on a dangerous journey.

Genre: Dystopian Drama

Director: Saara Saarela, Writer: Ilja Rautsi, Producers: Mark Lwoff, Misha Jaari (BUFO), Co-Producers: Reinhard Brundig, Nina Frese (Pandora Film), Ivo Felt (Allfilm), Maria Ekerhovd (Mer Film)

OCTOPUS SKIN, Ecuador/Germany/Greece/Mexico

Agatha and Ariel are 14-year-old twins who live with their mother and their older sister on a remote beach on a Galapagos island filled with molluscs and reptiles. One day the twins find themselves forced to go to the city for the first time.

Genre: Drama

Director: Ana Cristina Barragan, Writer: Ana Cristina Barragan, Producer: Isabella Parra (Caleidoscopio Cine), Co-Producers: Titus Kreyenberg (unafilm), Konstantina Stavrianou (Graal)

PASSERBY (WT), Syria/Palestine/Germany

The life of a desperate, alcoholic, unlicensed doctor is taking another unlucky turn when he encounters a wounded victim from the war in Syria.

Genre: Drama

Director: Ameer Fakher Eldin, Writer: Ameer Fakher Eldin, Producers: Tony Copti, Jiries Copti (Fresco Films Co.), Co-Producer: Dorothe Beinemeier (RED BALLOON FILM), Executive Producers: Gwendolyn Wynne, Carol Shine (Apricot Films)

SAVING ONE WHO WAS DEAD, Czech Republic/Slovakia/France

The father falls into a coma, so the family finds itself in an extreme life situation. The mother and her son quietly focus all their strength. They meekly accept the diagnosis but defy the verdict.

Genre: Drama

Director: Vacláv Kadrnka, Producer: Vacláv Kadrnka (Sirius Films), Simona Kadrnková, Co-Producer: Katarina Krnacová (Silverart), Jasmina Sijercic (Bocalupo Films)



SHELTER, Ireland

When his over-cosseting parents pass away, gormless recluse John Cunliffe discovers their land to be extremely valuable, and he is forced to navigate the choppy waters of courtship, trust and vengeance for the first time.

Genre: Drama

Director: Seán Breathnach, Writer: Seán Breathnach, Producer: Paddy Hayes (Magamedia)


SINJAR explores the intertwined lives of three women – Carlota, the middle-aged European mother, Hadia, the Yazidi slave held captive in Syria, and Arjin, the sex slave turned girl soldier in Iraq – who, after their lives and families are destroyed by ISIS, find their shared destiny in fighting back.

Genre: Drama

Director: Anna M. Bofarull, Writer: Anna M. Bofarull, Producer: Anna M. Bofarull, Marian Matachana (KaBoGa), Co-Producer: Azadeh Khatibi (Genius at Large)

SMILING GEORGIA, Georgia/Germany

Elderly residents of a village in Georgia were left toothless as a result of the failed pre-election campaign “Smiling Georgia” in 2012. Will the villagers’ lives change as the cycle repeats and new promises and guarantees are made to them in sight of approaching elections of 2020?

Genre: Documentary with fictional scenes

Director: Luka Beradze, Writer: Luka Beradze, Producers: Nino Chichua, Anna Khazaradze (1991 Productions), Co-Producer: Eva Blondiau (COLOR OF MAY)

SPAS, Ukraine/Croatia/Czech Republic

Returning home from the front line after being held captive for two months, 29-year-old soldier Lilia discovers that she is pregnant after being raped by her warden. Will she manage to survive this trauma and save the child in a society that is not ready to accept either of them?

Genre: Drama

Director: Maksym Nakonechnyi, Writer: Maksym Nakonechnyi, Iryna Tsilyk, Producer: Darya Bassel, Yelizaveta Smith (Tabor), Co-Producer: Anita Juka (4Film), Dagmar Sedláčková (MasterFilm)



THE CARS WE DROVE INTO CAPITALISM, Bulgaria/Germany/Denmark/Croatia/Czech Republic

A cinematic, character-driven insight to what it meant to produce and to own a car in communist times: the Socialist propaganda dreams and the hard reality of living that dream. The freedom that these slow and clumsy vehicles were giving to their owners; the cars as an instrument in the Cold War battle; legends and homemade tune-ups as an attempt to stand at least a little bit off the crowd.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov, Writer: Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov, Producer: Martichka Bozhilova (AGITPROP), Co-Producers: Simone Baumann, Sascha Beier (Saxonia Entertainment), Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær (Danish Documentary Production), Miljenka Čogelja, Dana Budisavljević (Hulahop), Jiri Konečný (Endorfilm)


THE GREAT FREEDOM is the love story of a married couple in their sixties facing the wife’s illness, the shame related to it, as well as disappointed expectations and ever-changing hopes.

Genre: Drama

Director: Wendla Nölle, Writer: Greta Lorez, Producers: Andrea Schütte, Nikola Bock, Dirk Decker (Tamtam Film), Co-Producer: NDR

THE LIVING MAN, Serbia/Germany/Bulgaria

An ageing rock musician searches for his youth and finds himself confronted with the very end.

Genre: Dramedy

Director: Oleg Novković, Writer: Milena Marković, Producers: Uroš Lazić, Ljiljana Djuričko (Salt), Marcel Lenz, Guido Schwab (ostlicht filmproduktion), Co-Producer: Borislav Chouchkov (Chouchkov Brothers)

THE PALACE, Italy/France

At a funeral wake, an unexpected inheritance awaits a group of eclectic friends in their fifties. One of them died prematurely, leaving behind hours of footage performed by their younger selves. The past breaks in to unsettle the tragically funny future of a generation.

Genre: Creative Documentary

Director: Federica Di Giacomo, Writer: Federica Di Giacomo, Andrea Sanguigni, Producer: Giulia Achilli, Marco Alessi (DUGONG FILMS), Co-Producer: Marie Balducchi (AGAT Films & CIE)




Theo and his wife Mona live a very privileged and wealthy life. But they cannot escape their

inner demons and keep on making the wrong choices – with dramatic consequences…

Genre: Drama

Director: Krishna Ashu Bhati, Writer: Krishna Ashu Bhati, Eva Habermann, Produzenten: Eva Habermann, Alexander König (Fantomfilm)

UNDER CONTROL, Belgium/France

In a pretty villa in a wealthy suburb, a man lives under the control of an electronic bracelet. Inside the 2 square kilometres in which he can still travel, he is constantly looking for traces of a son of whom he has no news.

Genre: Drama

Director: Manuel Poutte, Writer: Manuel Poutte, Produzent: Manuel Poutte (Lux Fugit Film), Co-Producer: Alexandre Cornu (Les films du Tambour de Soie)

VIRAL, Germany/Israel

A character-driven, bitter-sweet series about the year in which the Corona virus totally

changed the lives of 8 characters. Produced entirely out of existing YouTube-material.

Genre: Documentary series,

Director: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein, Writers: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein, Producer: Christian Beetz (gebrueder beetz filmproduktion), Co-producers: Udi Nir, Sagi Bornstein (udiVsagi production)

WALTER, Russia

It is an ethical ode about filial love. About the fact that war is first of all a human grief, that there are pain points and abscesses that never skin over.

Genre: Drama

Director: Robert Def, Writer: Robert Def, Producers: Katerina Mikhaylova (Vega Film), Konstantin Fam


When Khalil, an elementary teacher in Berlin, gets hold of images of war from his Kurdish

hometown of Cizre, he is forced to question his entire life in Germany.

Genre: Drama

Director: Florian Hoffmann, Writer: Florian Hoffmann, Producers: Alexander Wadouh, Roxana Richters (Chromosom Film), Co-Producers: Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin, ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel

WHO I AM NOT, USA/Germany/South Africa

Diagnosed as intersex, South African beauty queen and devout Christian Sharon-Rose Khumalo cannot go on with her life until she comes to terms with what makes her a woman.

Genre: Documentary

Director: Tünde Skovrán, Writer: Alicia Dwyer, Producer: Andrei Zinca, Francoise Nieto-Fong (Double 4 Studios, Inc.), Patrick Hamm, (Bulldog Agenda), Co-Producer: Andrei Zinca, Francoise Nieto-Fong (Double 4 Studios, Inc.), Patrick Hamm (Bulldog Agenda)

For all your enquiries please do not hesitate and contact the team or the press agency.





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