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FeatureLab 2019: 11 selected feature film projects unveiled!

TFL Selections & Awards

FeatureLab 2019: 11 selected feature film projects unveiled!

May 2, 2019

We’re pleased to introduce the 11 promising directors selected with their producers to join the upcoming edition of FeatureLab. Strong voices from Colombia, Indonesia, Israel, Nepal and United States, as well as from Europe: the East with Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and the West with Italy and Switzerland.

The selection includes 8 debut features and welcomes for the first time a creative documentary film project. 4 debut feature projects will be directed by women and no less than 9 projects involve female producers.

“Most projects demonstrate a strong attachment to the local culture”, as explained by TFL Curator Vincenzo Bugno and FeatureLab Head of Studies Violeta Bava. “Many elements of poetry, humor but also thriller are to be found, as well as researches on the narrative structures and visual profiles. The selection is very diverse, very organic, from projects questioning sexuality and gender roles to thoughts on language, emigration, history, philosophy and intellectual identity.”

First feature by Colombian director Fabián Hernández, A MALE follows Carlos, 16 years old, who finds the miserable suffering of his mother at home, exhausted by the continuous abuse of the "stallion" father. In the streets, in a traditional neighborhood of the impoverished outskirts of Bogota, Carlos seeks refuge next to other young men like him, eager to learn the necessary behavior to stand out: being a "macho", a "tough one", a "man". This film is a poetic and artistic journey through the social construction of what a man is, a tough guy, a man who is always ready for anything, as a gesture of salvation in a hostile world.

A YEAR OF COLD by Min Bahadur Bham takes us to Nepal: the story focuses on the vulnerable position of a rural young girl, chained by the fate, who is in search of her missing husband. Love, marriage and sacrifice are some of the elements affronted by the protagonist, who faces multi-layered complexities and fights for her identity and a safe home - all the struggles that the Nepali women go through for a better life and to resist a patriarchal society.

ABOUT THE END by Italian filmmaker Cristina Picchi is a creative documentary, a debut film about the apocalypses that we have survived, and those that we're still waiting for. ABOUT THE END, whether seen as a religious experience bound to a final day of judgment, as a political threat of weapons of mass destruction, a natural disaster or an ecological issue, evokes the universal human fear of our powerlessness and finiteness. The film will develop as the interplay of three different narrative lines, unfolding through three extreme situations across different continents, exploring a past, a present and a future apocalypse.

CROCODILE TEARS is a suspenseful coming of age drama by Tumpal Tampubolon. Set in a crocodiles farm in Indonesia, it is a critical, political and cultural examination of the institution family. The director aims to draw on the starkness of motherly love to her son and the hostile and unpredictable natural forces which are surrounding them, the crocodiles.

HOUSES is Veronica Nicole Tetelbaum’s first feature, which can be described with many adjectives: a poetic film, a love-detective film about the redemption of the soul. The film follows Sasha, 28 years old, who moved to Israel from the former Soviet Union with his family in 1990. A character who is in doubt, a woman who is more comfortable walking this planet as a young man, but at the bottom is essentially a ghost, sets on a journey for self-discovery, while dodging with his traumatized past in his childhood town of Safed.

First feature by Polish Canadian Eva Michon, MIZERIA is a dark comedy brimming with humor and a steady undercurrent of tension. The story unfolds around a couple, Lydia and Henryk, leaving Canada to settle in a chalet in the mountains of Poland with plans to run a boutique bed-and-breakfast. MIZERIA explores the conflict between a father and a daughter, East and West, tradition and modernity.

A psychological thriller with an intriguing script-structure, debut feature by Lithuanian director Laurynas Bareisa deals with the depiction of violent criminal acts committed in public spaces: in PILGRIMS, Paulius and Indrė comes to Jurbarkas, the place of a terrible tragedy. Main theme of the film “The Pilgrims” is the conflict between individual and collective traumas.

RUNNER by American filmmaker Marian Mathias is a first feature project with a strong poetic and cinematographic identity. It follows Haas, an 18 years old girl raised by a single father in Missouri. When tragedy strikes at home, she is left alone to bury her father in Northern Illinois, next to the plot where her mother lies. It is here that she learns of a life much different than her own: her mother’s. And it is here where she meets Will. A story of two strangers encountering changing, and ultimately leaving one another.

Directed by Suranga D. Katugampala, STILL HERE is the story of a Sri-Lankan family living in a time of deep changes: both on a personal and a more socio-political level. The narration is set in Milan, a city in which changing can be seen today from its skyline to the lifestyle of its inhabitants. With this project, the director dives deeper into this need of defining cultures and finding solutions to live the new country, and not only in a transitory way.

Based on the true historical events, UNREST by Cyril Schäublin is set in the Swiss watchmaking valley of Saint-Imier, which became the political epicenter of the growing international Anarchist worker movement in the 19th century. Based on carefully researches regarding the incidental and marginal facets of people’s everyday life, the film portrays the village and its anarchist worker movement through a number of Tableaux Vivants.

First feature film by Romanian director Andrei Tanase, VICTUS follows a woman, Vera, who loses her child just a few days after giving birth. The film observes how couple dynamics can be altered by this kind of drama which, despite having no guilty party per se, ends up generating a lot of guilt, alienation, resentment or acts of childish revenge between two people who otherwise genuinely care for each other. The journey of Vera can be described as a “pedestrian road movie”, a journey of initiation following a fantastic yet real creature, a tiger.


- A MALE by Fabián Hernández (Colombia), produced by Manuel Ruíz Montealegre - ‎Medio de Contención Producciones (Colombia) / 1st FEATURE
- A YEAR OF COLD by Min Bahadur Bham (Nepal), produced by Catherine Dussart - CDP Catherine Dussart Productions (France) and by Verona Meier - Ape&Bjørn (Norway)
- ABOUT THE END by Cristina Picchi (Italy), produced by Jesper Kurlandsky and Costanza Julia Bani - Fasad Production AB (Sweden) / 1st FEATURE
- CROCODILE TEARS by Tumpal Tampubolon (Indonesia), produced by Mandy Marahimin - Tanakhir Films (Indonesia) / 1st FEATURE - Project in partnership with BEKRAF – Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy
- HOUSES by Veronica Nicole Tetelbaum (Israel), produced by Ronen Ben-Tal - Plan B Productions (Israel) / 1st FEATURE
- MIZERIA by Eva Michon (Poland/Canada), produced by Karen Harnisch - Film Forge (Canada) / 1st FEATURE
- PILGRIMS by Laurynas Bareisa (Lithuania), produced by Klementina Remeikaite - Afterschool production (Lithuania) / 1st FEATURE
- RUNNER by Marian Mathias (USA), produced by Joy Jorgensen - Killjoy Films (Germany) / 1st FEATURE
- STILL HERE by Suranga D. Katugampala (Italy), produced by Francesca Bennett - Okta Film (Italy)
- UNREST by Cyril Schäublin (Switzerland), produced by Michela Pini - Seeland Filmproduktion (Switzerland)
- VICTUS by Andrei Tanase (Romania), produced by Irena Isbasescu and Anamaria Antoci - Domestic Film (Romania) / 1st FEATURE

FeatureLab is organized with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Sub-programme of the European UnionALCA – Agence Livre Cinéma et Audiovisuel en Nouvelle-Aquitaine (France) and RE-ACT – Regional Audiovisual Cooperation and Training, hosting the first and second workshops respectively, and in partnership with BEKRAF – Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy