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ScriptLab 2018 selection: millennial stories, journeys of self-discovery & investigation thrillers in the line-up!

TFL Selections & Awards

ScriptLab 2018 selection: millennial stories, journeys of self-discovery & investigation thrillers in the line-up!

February 15, 2018

TorinoFilmLab is delighted to announce the full selection of ScriptLab 2018: 20 feature film projects at an early stage of development and 5 story editor trainees will take part in this 9-month scriptwriting programme.

With 10 films to be directed by women, 9 to be directed by men, and 1 to be co-directed by a man & a woman, gender equality is not an objective for TorinoFilmLab, but a reality. In total, there will be 16 female & 17 male participants. Once again, our strong focus is on emerging talents with 15 debuts. Not any single project contents with ticking the expected boxes of what independent cinema is supposed to look like, but all propose genuinely original - and often surprising, proposals.

Journeys of self-discovery, return to nature

TorinoFilmLab continues to accompany the many voices of African cinema with Senegalese Rama Thiaw – whose raging documentary The Revolution won’t be Televised premiered in Berlinale 2016 –, who will be developing her feature debut LIFE IN A SPIRALE, an adaptation of Abasse Ndione’s eponymous novel set in the 1970’s that follows a gang of friends in their journey towards Casamance looking for weed. The project’s writing process started at the Realness Residence, partner of TorinoFilmLab.

The road movie that proposes Czech director & Cinéfondation winner Zuzana Kirchnerová Špidlová also heads south, yet to the shores of Italy. THE CARAVAN (co-written with Tomáš Bojar) follows 40-year-old Ester, an unconventional mother and her mental disabled trip in a journey of self-liberation.

THE LANDSCAPES THAT YOU SEEK: a beautiful & evocative title for Juanita Onzaga’s debut feature, a mysterious journey, in which young Laura leaves Bogota to embark in a quest through the mountains towards a village in the middle of El Choco jungle, searching for her disappeared brother.

With ALCARRAS, an ensemble family film that deals with rurality, farmers’ pride & justice in deep Catalonia, Carla Simón continues the path of Summer 1993, for which she just received the Best New Director Goya Award.

Set in a remote mountain village of the Grisons, Michael Koch’s A PIECE OF SKY (his second feature after Locarno-awarded Marija), is an intense love story, where sickness triggers the process of accepting the natural cycle of life.

A rare case of coming-of-age drama in this year’s selection, AZRA NADINE will gather two sisters, exploring how a fractured childhood can lead towards a confused maturity. Set in Australia, the first film by Slovenian Sara Kern (who will attend the Cinéfondation residence in parallel to ScriptLab) is to be co-produced by TFL Alumni Gal Greenspan & Rok Biček.

Spotted in Cannes 2016 with his short In The Year of the Monkey, Indonesian director Wregas Bhanuteja attended Next Step, a programme organised by the Critics’ Week in collaboration with TorinoFilmLab. THEREFORE, I WAS (co-written by Duad Sumolang) will surely be the sensitive and moving portrait of Pipit, a middle-aged man working at a flea market in Yogyakarta, Central Java, who is coerced into undergoing a name-changing ceremony by his own family.

Teenagers of the 90’s, millennials & intercultural love

Few years after Simon Rouby’s Adama, TorinoFilmLab will once again nurture an exceptional animated feature project, from the Japanese/American duo Ru Kawahata & Max Porter. Their latest work, the French-produced Negative Space, just received a nomination for an Oscar in the category of Animated Short. Using a stop motion puppet technique, DANDELION SEED will be the portrait of a 16-year old Japanese girl arriving at an isolated Californian private high school in the early 1990s.

Set in the late 90’s, at the pinnacle of Greece’s economic growth, MIGNON, which follows two lively teenage girls in a department store, will be the debut feature of actress-turned-director Sofia Georgovassili.

Adolescence & the nineties are also two core ingredients of THE SUCCESSION, an adaptation of Cynthia Edul’s novel using a small family story and adopting a child’s perspective to reflect the larger realities of a country, in that case Argentina. Doctor of Philosophy Axel Cherniavsky is co-writing the script, together with director Martin Kalina, notably renown as co-founder of the Primo Content advertising company.

Truly atypical, SUCCESS IN CIRCUIT LIES constitutes visual artist Redmond Entwistle’s foray into narrative cinema. Set in the mid-2000’s, this project places itself on two levels of understanding: as a poetic romance between a young female Chinese graduate and a middle-aged American man, but also as a portrait of the microchip industry that witnesses both the demise of the American dream and the building of the Chinese ascendancy.

25-year-old Alain Parroni from Italy, whose last short premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and co-writer Giulio Pennacchi will be the youngest participants of this edition. No surprise that their project AN ENDLESS SUNDAY will explore the lives of millennials from the Roma periphery.

Social Darwinism, investigations & collective violence

Paris-based Japanese director Akihiro Hata will investigate the phenomenon of social invisibility that affects migrants in European megalopolises through the paranoid genre film GRAND CIEL (co-written by Jérémie Dubois).

Adopting an equally thrilling & mysterious storytelling, THE PHOTO CAMERA (co-written with Jeroen Scholten van Aschat) will be Viktor van der Valk’s second feature (his low-budget debut Nocturne is currently in post-production). This story of entanglement will take the shape of a danse macabre exposing the dramatic processes of social Darwinism in today’s Netherlands.

In THE ACCIDENT, a traffic collision serves as a trigger for Joanna’s obsessive investigation, all the way towards the encounter with her ‘enemy’ Elaine. Co-written by Marcela Bordin, and produced by Tokyo Filmes, this psychological thriller will be Bruno Carboni’s debut feature.

Another ‘detective story’ of sorts, with obvious fantastic elements this time, PAREIDOLIA will be Katarzyna Gondek’s debut – her shorts were repeatedly selected at Sundance amongst other festival - and portrays a judge exiled to a town in which all crucial decisions are taken by a tree.

Los Angeles-based Filipino director E. del Mundo did set quite a challenge for herself with the debut project THANATOS, a fascinating account, inspired by true events, of a day in the life of a teenage kid, who gets recruited to be part of a volunteer group that does the unthinkable, the massacre of 58 people.


About her latest novel, OUR LIFE IN THE FORESTS, that she wrote rapidly in one go, French writer Marie Darrieussecq says: “Our time is urgent, and actually I don’t really know why. I don’t know why we are so much being promised an imminent catastrophe.” Writer-director Magali Magistry will approach this tale of survivors and resistance with the aim of creating a naturalist science fiction film – Haut et Court company backing her production-wise.

Popularized by Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Paul Crutzen, the Anthropocene concept increasingly inspires filmmakers: with PETRICHOR, artist & activist Esther May Campbell (known for her debut Light Years that premiered in Venice 2015) intends to create a love story set in a post-apocalyptical future, a call for action, hope and self-leadership.

Seasoned TV series director Markus Lehmusruusu also imagines a possible return to nature in the future with THE SQUIRREL, yet adopting a rather deadpan humoristic tone. What happens when a workaholic robot designer finds the last real squirrel in the world and makes a promise to take care of it, only to realize the squirrel is depressed?

Story editors from South Africa, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland & the Netherlands

Trainer for the Realness Residency Mmabatho Kau, Italian screenwriter Claudia Bottino, Head of Filmmaker Development at NY-based organisation Cinereach Natalie Difford, New Europe Film Sales Acquisitions Executive Marcin Łuczaj, and script editor for Dutch public broadcaster NTR Matthijs van der Veer, will top the selection as story editor trainees, working alongside TFL’s script consultants.

We are looking forward to the first workshop of this new edition, to be held in Greece on 19-25 March thanks to the support of the Greek Film Centre.


ScriptLab 2018
- ALCARRAS by Carla Simón (Spain)
- AN ENDLESS SUNDAY by Alain Perroni & Giulio Pennacchi (Italy)
- A PIECE OF SKY by Michael Koch (Germany / Switzerland)
- AZRA NADINE by Sara Kern (Slovenia)
- DANDELION SEED by Ru Kuwahata & Max Porter (Japan / USA)
- GRAND CIEL by Akihiro Hata & Jérémie Dubois (Japan / France)
- LIFE IN A SPIRAL by Rama Thiaw (France/Senegal)
- MIGNON by Sofia Georgovasili (Greece)
- OUR LIFE IN THE FORESTS by Magali Magistry (France)
- PAREIDOLIAS by Katarzyna Gondek (Poland)
- PETRICHOR by Esther May Campbell (United Kingdom)
- SUCCESS IN CIRCUIT by Redmond Entwistle (United Kingdom)
- THANATOS by E del Mundo (Philippines)
- THE ACCIDENT by Bruno Carboni & Marcela Bordin (Brazil / Italy)
- THE CARAVAN by Zuzana Kirchnerová Špidlová & Kristina Májová (Czech Republic)
- THE LANDSCAPES THAT YOU SEEK by Juanita Onzaga (Colombia)
- THE PHOTO CAMERA by Viktor Van Der Valk & Jeroen Scholten van Aschat (Netherlands)
- THE SQUIRREL by Markus Lehmusruusu (Finland)
- THE SUCCESSION by Martin Kalina & Axel Damian Cherniavsky (Argentina)
- THEREFORE, I WAS by Wregas Bhanuteja & Daud Sumolang (Indonesia)
ScriptLab - story editing 2018
Claudia Bottino (Italy)
Natalie Difford (United Kingdom)
Marcin Łuczaj (Poland)
Matthijs van der Veer (Netherlands)
Mmabatho Kau (South Africa)

Find out more about the selection in Screen Daily.