The COVID-19 pandemic has been acknowledged as the turning point in recent global history. According to broad consensus, nothing will ever be quite the same after it; some go so far as to argue that the proverbial “return to normal” is impossible. The coronavirus crisis has shown us that some of the very foundations of what was considered normal were in fact dubious and problematic – to return to them uncritically would amount to repeating past mistakes.
However, to say that change is imminent does not mean we actually know more about future structures or scenarios. Which areas of human life will change for the better, and which for the worse? Which individuals and groups will profit from the changes? Who will be left behind? Who will pay the biggest price? Which values, ideals and norms will remain in place, and which will be swept away? What will be modified and what will appear as genuinely new?
Impossible though it may be to answer to these questions yet, the tectonic impact of the crisis obliges us to start asking them now, in relation to practically all domains of human existence and action. Cinema must not remain in the wings during this process. How will the pandemic affect up-and-coming filmmakers – from the production context in which they operate, to the stories they would like to tell and the themes they seek to explore? Which consequences of the crisis are the most pressing, and which are the most dangerous in the long run? Furthermore, has the coronavirus ordeal brought about any positive consequences? Does it help us see cinema in a significant new light? Last but not least, does cinema have agency in a time of crisis? Can it contribute to the process of social reintegration and healing? And can it help us recognise and prevent similar crises in the future?
This year Talents Sarajevo, as an integral part of the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival, offers an opportunity to regional up-and-coming filmmakers to explore these and other queries in – we hope – a post-pandemic ambience of recovery and (re-)assessment. Our ongoing plans for Talents Sarajevo 2020 originate not only from unrepentant optimism, but also from the need to pose these burning questions as soon as possible and in a cogent manner. We hope they, and the answers that will follow them, will confirm at least one fact that will not be shattered by any crisis: Cinema is always on the side of life.
The closing date for applications is 24 May 2020.
For more information and application form please click here.
Talents Sarajevo 2020: New Beginnings comprises a wide range of master classes, moderated talks, panel discussions, workshops, and consultations, organized around the following modules: Acting Studio, Camera Studio, Directors Summit, Editing Studio, Pack&Pitch, Producers Summit, Script Station, and Talent Press. Although each of these modules is focused on a specific film profession or a segment of production, they nevertheless constantly intersect, emphasizing the complex and collaborative nature of filmmaking.
As the pandemic and its challenges frame the activities of this year's Talents Sarajevo, Acting Studio is no exception. Twelve emerging actresses and actors from the region will explore the ways in which the onging crisis challenges the art of acting. A series of workshop sessions, discussions, master classes, and screenings will help them to enrich their craft, experience and knowledge while traversing and challenging contemporary tendencies in acting for the cinema.
Talents Sarajevo’s cinematography module brings together five up-and-coming cinematographers from Southeast Europe and the Southern Caucasus, to share their experience and insights with the colleagues and expand their artistry and skills. A renowned director of photography guides them through a series of discussions, case studies and workshop sessions about the vicissitudes of cinematography in contemporary filmmaking.
Given the central and all-encompassing role of director in filmmaking process, it is hardly a surprise that the emerging directors are Talents Sarajevo’s biggest and most colorful bunch. A playground for twenty Talents, Directors Summit is a series of master classes, panels, screenings and discussions with some of the most renowned directors. At the same time, Directors Summit is a forum for interface with Talents screenwriters, actors, cinematographers, producers, and editors – a good director never forgets that the essence of filmmaking is collaborative work.
Editing Studio brings together three emerging editors from Southeast Europe and the Southern Caucasus, who are ready to explore their artistry from different perspectives. A series of workshops, case studies and master classes aims to elucidate editing as a genuine and creative process. A special attention is given to editor’s close collaboration with other members of creative team.
Since 2010, Pack&Pitch has supported emerging directors and producers in preparing their projects for the marketplace. Participants learn how to analyse and prepare their projects for effective written and oral presentation. Six Talents are mentored in group and one-on-one sessions by pitching trainers, who instruct them in the creation of one-pagers and the analysis of their projects, and provide insight into the all-important subjects of how to pitch, and to whom. Over the course of several days of intensive sessions, Talents prepare written and oral presentations of their projects, which they pitch at the end of the programme to a jury and an audience of their peers and industry professionals.
At Talents Sarajevo we believe the future of regional cinema depends on up-and-coming producers. Five participants of Producers Summit attend a series of lectures, discussions, shadowing opportunities, and presentations throughout the Sarajevo Film Festival, with an emphasis on involvement with the activities of CineLink Industry Days, the festival’s industry platform. The sessions provide Talents with skill-building knowledge gathered from industry experts with extensive experience, accomplished filmmakers, and their Talents peers in other programme sections
The Script Station sessions are designed to provide a space for constructive discussions about specific script issues to support and encourage their further development and bring them to the next level of completion. Talents Sarajevo’s screenwriting lab provides six emerging screenwriters with the opportunity to share and discuss their work-in-progress screenplays with the peers as well as with renowned script consultants. First-time applicants and Talents Sarajevo alumni are welcome to apply to polish their scripts in one-on-one and group sessions.
Talent Press is a platform for up-and-coming film critics and journalists from Southeast Europe and the Southern Caucasus to deepen their knowledge of current trends in primarily regional cinema. Coached by two prominent film critics, five participants will review films and events throughout the festival, articulating their impressions and insights in a variety of media formats – from written articles and interviews to those more specific to social media apps and platforms. Do not miss the chance to analyse regional filmmaking and become a 2.0 film thinker!