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A documentary and two fiction feature film projects supported through the TFL Audience Design Fund 2020

TFL Selections & Awards

A documentary and two fiction feature film projects supported through the TFL Audience Design Fund 2020

July 16, 2020

TorinoFilmLab announces the recipients of the TFL Audience Design Fund 2020: three feature film projects – a documentary and two fiction features – to receive TFL’s distribution support, consisting of a € 45.000 grant and the participation in a tailor-made consultancy.

Directed by emerging filmmakers from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Italy/United States, these three projects question our relationship to the arts in general and to filmmaking in particular, as well as our role(s) in society – raising the voice of a new generation deeply interested in discussing climate change, migration and new scenarios for the future.

They will work on innovative distribution strategies to reach and engage their audiences across the globe during a 6-day online consultancy, unfolding between September 15th and 29th 2020. With the help of TFL-trained audience design consultants, the film teams will define their goals, explore and define promotional activities to build and engage audiences across a number of territories.

According to the selection committee, composed of TFL Audience Design Fund Head of Studies Valeria Richter (Denmark), Strategic Consultant Savina Neirotti (Italy) and Production and TFL Audience Design Fund advisor Daniele Segre (Italy), “the TFL Audience Design Fund received the biggest amount of applications since its start and the level of artistic quality was exceptionally high. The selected projects represent three very different voices and talents, each stood out and met our criteria. Each also presented a thorough and well-prepared audience design strategy proposal, which the consultancy can build on”.


The 2020 recipients of the TFL Audience Design Fund are:

THE SALT IN OUR WATERS by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit (Bangladesh)

THE SALT IN OUR WATERS is an adventurous tale on the effects of climate change and a clash of beliefs. Set in a small fisherman locality on the Bangladesh coastline – the longest unbroken sea beach in the world – the film follows Rudro, a 32-year-old city sculptor who moves to this secluded land after his estranged father’s demise, in order to find some sort of closure. At first, he is welcomed by the local fishermen and their leader, Chairman. But when the Hilsha fish disappear from the nearby waters, Chairman blames Rudro’s figurative sculptures for the curse. All the villagers except a young woman, Tuni, believe this story and want him to leave. Rudro ponders his next move as a cyclone brews over the Bay of Bengal, threatening the village.

THE SALT IN OUR WATER is in post-production stage. Sumit’s debut feature already received support from Bangladesh’s national film grant, France’s CNC Aide aux Cinémas du Monde, as well as the Spike Lee Fellowship. It is a production by mypixelstory (Bangladesh), in co-production with Arsam International (France). Sumit is also a TFL Next Alumni with his second feature film project, A NEW PROPHET.


WHITE BUILDING by Kavich Neang (Cambodia)

WHITE BUILDING, the first feature film by Kavich Neang, takes the name and is set where the director grew up as a child: it was a historic and symbolic building in the heart of Phnom Penh, built in the 1960s and recently destroyed. The film is an exploration of memory(ies) and desires for the future, through the eyes of Cambodia’s young generation. 20-year-old Samnang and his two friends, Tol and Ah Kha, dream that their dance routine can reach the stage of a television talent contest. Their youthful habits are upended, however, when Ah Kha reveals he will soon leave Cambodia. Months later, the White Building is less busy: the government has offered a compensation to the inhabitants, who would have to move out, due to its impending demolition. Samnang begins to understand that the stable environment he has always called home is on shaky ground. He comes to recognize his own generation’s responsibility to determine its future.

Kavich Neang is a young filmmaker, born in 1987 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With several short films under his belt – two of which were produced by Rithy Panh, Neang is now working on the post-production of WHITE BUILDING, produced by TFL Alumnus Davy Chou’s Anti-Archive (Cambodia) in co-production with Apsara Films (France).


EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF by Mo Scarpelli (Italy/United States)

With her camera, Scarpelli follows a young film director who returns to Venezuela, inspired to make a film based on his father's life in the Amazon jungle. He casts the Father to play himself. What starts as an act of love and ambition — filmmaking to more deeply understand the self and the other — spirals into a process that confronts Father’s struggles with addiction and his life devoid of his son.

Mo Scarpelli’s EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF is a non-fiction film documenting the making of a fictional production, LA FORTALEZA by Jorge Thielen Armand. An observation of the creative process under very particular conditions, as the power dynamic of father and son is turned upside- down. An investigation into the representation(s) and the roles that we play for ourselves and the world. How do we want to be seen by others?

Mo Scarpelli is a director and cinematographer of non-fiction cinema, whose works have been screened and awarded at many film festivals around the world – including Berlinale, IDFA, FICCI, SXSW and Durban International Film Festival, to name a few. EL FATHER PLAYS HIMSELF premiered at Visions du Réel 2020, where it won the Jury Special Mention. It is produced by Ardimages UK (United Kingdom), Rake Films (Italy) and La Faena Films (Canada), in co-production with Channel 6 Media (Canada), FeverFilm (Netherlands) and Tres Cinematografía (Venezuela).