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FeatureLab 2020 selection unveiled!

TFL Selections & Awards

FeatureLab 2020 selection unveiled!

April 28, 2020

TorinoFilmLab is proud to unveil the ten projects selected for the upcoming edition of FeatureLab 2020.

"10 projects with an original artistic identity coming from very different parts of the world, all of them representing somehow the complexity of this planet, the state of things in a challenging political-cultural situation”, said TFL Curator Vincenzo Bugno.


Stories unfolding in the South American heat – the Amazonian Jungle, the Chilean desert, the fishing villages of the Brazilian coast –, the nostalgic sun of the Mediterranean Sea – from the shores of Italy to the Greek’s Islands –, passing by the mountains of Montenegro, Georgia, up to Iran and down to Australia. A bright palette portraying individuals from all around the globe, trying, in their own way, to find their place in this universe.

FeatureLab 2020 selection showcases 7 first and 3 second feature films. A new generation of filmmakers exploring deep, personal stories, questioning their origins, their sexual identity, their beliefs. Their characters reflect this diversity and quest to fit into our world: they have money issues, deal with diseases and earthquakes, are torn between acceptance and their longing for something more. Teenagers struggling with their sexual identity and their religion, women fighting to conciliate the many facets of their social roles – mothers, spouses, lovers, daughters. Youngsters accepting their homosexuality and affronting the gaze of society. An urge to tell individual stories to explore the collective.

“Talking about FeatureLab always means talking about cinema. But we are talking about film projects: figuring out future films is always a big challenge... how to know what will these works will look like? We are facing a group of very young filmmakers. But we are definitely dealing with talent.

We are impressed because all these future films have an important, often impressive cinematic, visual, artistic profile, but also a strong narrative structure and go beyond any kind of stereotypes. They often mix original and wonderfully contradictory identities: non-historical projects intertwining past and present, realistic films with important non-realistic elements, merging sometimes a diffuse taste of melancholia with a sort of sensual spirituality.

Many of these stories, of these characters, deal with the fragility of their and our existence, balancing the paradise with the possible or already existing apocalypse. They are strong. Fragile. Poetic. And very emotional.

This selection makes sense.”Vincenzo Bugno

Here are the 10 projects selected for FeatureLab 2020:

THE MYSTERIOUS GAZE OF THE FLAMINGO by Diego Céspedes (Chile), produced by Giancarlo Nasi (Don Quijote Films – Chile) / 1st feature
A village in the arid part of Northern Chile, middle of the '80s. Could a man who loves another man transmit the “pest” with his gaze? Between the mining town and the queer community, the young Lidia and her brother Alexo are dealing with ignorance and the beginning of the AIDS era. The first feature by Diego Céspedes is a social-historical observation with a poetic soul, merged with fantastic elements.

HEARTLESS by Nara Normande & Tião (Brazil), produced by Justin Pechberty (Les Valseurs – France) / 1st feature
Brazil in the ’90s: Tamara, a white girl from a “good family” is spending her vacation in a village in the North-Eastern part of the country – a world of great freedom for the local teenagers and the newcomers. One day, Tamara meets Heartless, the daughter of a fisherman, known as the girl with a scar on her cheek. From that moment on, Tamara cannot lie to herself anymore...

PANOPTICON by George Sikharulidze (Georgia), produced by Vladimer Katcharava (20 Steps Productions – Georgia) / 1st feature
Sixteen-year-old Sandro misses his father, who decided to become a monk. Sandro also gets closer to religion and seems attracted by the growing fascist movement in his country, Georgia. But he is also dealing with the inescapable reality of his body, torn between the increasing fundamentalist moral of the church and his sexual desires.
The project participated in ScriptLab 2019.

KARAOKE KING by Federica Gianni (Italy), produced by Tatiana Bears & Lara Costa-Calzado (Other Season – United States) / 1st feature
Two brothers leave their village after an earthquake and move to Primavalle in Rome. This first feature by Italian director Federica Gianni deals with different geographies and local identities; it is a film about a place, a microcosmos, about fascism and destructive masculinity, about manhood and male tenderness. An anthropological poem.
The project participated in TFL Extended – Creative Production 2019.

CARAVAN by Zuzana Kirchnerová (Czech Republic), produced by Pavla Janoušková Kubečková (nutprodukce – Czech Republic) / 1st feature
A mother and her mentally handicapped son are travelling in Italy. A story against all possible stereotypes and about a country far from the postcard-view. An emotional trip from the over- industrialized regions in the North to the barren brightness of the South.
The project participated in ScriptLab 2018.

MELTING OF THE RULER by Ivan Salatić (Montenegro), produced by Jelena Angelovski (Meander Film – Serbia) / 2nd feature
In the 19th century, the Montenegro hills, surrounded by the Turks, were the only free territories of the Balkans. MELTING OF THE RULER is a non-historical film about this and other Mediterranean regions. It is about the “Noble sauvage” and his relationship with the Western world. A highly poetic and visionary project.

THE JUNGLE by Matthias Huser (Switzerland), produced by Michela Pini (8horses – Switzerland) / 2nd feature
A devote Christian Swiss nurse together with her husband visits her old father in Brazil living in the Amazonian jungle. A film about family obsessions and old patterns. A not completely realistic story with a potential amazing artistic profile and a strong visually narrated storytelling.

THAT BURNING LIGHT by Efthimis Kosemund Sanidis (Greece), produced by Yorgos Tsourgiannis (horsefly – Greece) / 1st feature
Ilias visits the island where his father lived and died. He is broke and hopes in a non-existing inheritance, but a mysterious epidemic is spreading on the island. As blood is falling from the sky, will Ilias find his emotional salvation at last? THAT BURNING LIGHT is a story about a father and a son, about love and gangsters. With a taste of apocalypse.

MICHELLE REMEMBERS by Pia Borg (Australia), produced by Helen Olive (5 à 7 Films – France) / 1st feature
A documentary horror hybrid about satanic cults and hysteria, the film will examine the elusive line between fact, fiction and the persuasive power of the media. How could psychiatry, cinema and popular culture be connected in this context?

FOLLOWERS by Dornaz Hajiha (Iran), produced by Isabelle Glachant (Chinese Shadows – Hong Kong) / 2nd feature
FOLLOWERS deals with the Iranian TV-culture and TV-shows and with the cynic power of money. But more than this, the film is about family structures: in this case a family with a somehow feminist attitude. Strong female narrative, contradictory characters dealing with frustration, censorship, self- censorship and cultural taboos...