TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding



Jessica Woodworth



In a distant future in an unnamed place, Luka, a young soldier, crosses desolate mountains to join a legendary regiment at a remote outpost. Craving combat and glory, he is astonished to learn that none of these hardened men have ever laid eyes on the mythical enemy from the north.
Luka wants to flee from this bastion of absurdity with its excessive rules, rituals and punishments, but he slowly falls under the spell of the place. He succumbs to the lure of the vainglorious posturing and submits to the enchanted landscapes that harbour their deepest longings and fears. He strides through the seasons, bloated with airs of grandeur, until the day his one and only friend dies in a ludicrous battle of wills.
The regiment begins to unravel. Luka must choose to defend or defy the laws of the fortress. He clings to his conviction that the enemy from the north truly exists.
An epic tale of suspended lives, "Fortress" illuminates our frailties and our resilience in the face of colossal nature.


A few rare books immediately spark a symphony of colour and sound in the mind. The Tartar Steppe is one such book that lifts off the page with its haunting premise and superb prose. The planes of light and dark can be vividly imagined, the thundering silences heard. The endless waiting of the protagonists for a mythical enemy to appear is punctuated by moments of brutal violence and sublime transcendence. Potent landscapes defined my previous films with the wintry Mongolian steppes of Khadak, the majestic Andes of Altiplano and the ominous forests of The Fifth Season, films in which nature quietly declares war on man.
In "Fortress", Caucasian landscapes will serve to evoke wonder and awaken unsettling questions. An isolated outpost that harbours a group of warriors in a distant future is an ideal microcosm through which to look at the indisputable enigma of the human condition.
Despite its imaginary context, "Fortress" pulses with our current emergencies. Fear of the other, fear of a supposed enemy, is the unrelenting challenge of our times.


A young soldier embeds himself in a remote fortress amidst men who are waiting for a mythical enemy to appear.
Jessica Woodworth

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

original title

directed by
Jessica Woodworth

produced byBo Films
Oude Houtlei 6
9000, Ghent