SMART7 selection at TIFF.22: innovative voices from seven European countries

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Starting this year, Transilvania International Film Festival is among the founders of SMART7, a network of European film festivals that aims to develop the cultural industry and the festival field, but also to offer a meeting space with works by new European filmmakers, in a traveling international competition. The SMART7 competition debuts in the program of the 22nd edition of TIFF, between June 9-18.

The joint touring program is dedicated to innovative, early-career directorial voices and includes seven films produced in each of the countries covered by the SMART7 network. A surrealist drama with satirical accents, newly screened at the Berlinale, Mammalia (Sebastian Mihăilescu, Romania/Poland/Germany, 2023) questions important concepts such as identity and masculinity. Inspired by real events and filmed with non-professional actors, Bread and Salt (Damian Kocur, Poland, 2022) also talks about essential themes, specifically about the sharp problem of violence; the film premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. Remember to Blink (Austėja Urbaitė, Lithuania, 2022) is a fine psychological drama that examines love, selfishness, anxiety, loyalty and jealousy in various human relationships.

The competition continues with a film presented at the San Sebastián Festival; Tobacco Barns (Rocío Mesa, Spain, 2022) uses the conventions of a fantasy to construct a story of childhood and coming of age in southern Spain. A nostalgic and deliciously inventive journey that takes us through the Lisbon of broken hearts, existential crises and tragic heroes, Índia (Telmo Churro, Portugal, 2022) is a veritable love letter to cinema and its physical or imaginary spaces. Another experimental film, Mannvirki (Gústav Geir Bollason, Iceland, 2023) premiered at the Rotterdam Festival and explores the human-nature relationship, creating a space imbued with textures, soundscapes and complex structures. The selection ends on a comic note: Black Stone (Spiros Jacovides, Greece, 2022) is a mockumentary, a story about xenophobia wrapped in a bittersweet comedy about the absurdity of everyday life.

The seven films were selected by the curators of the film festivals that form the network: New Horizons International Film Festival (Poland), IndieLisboa Film Festival (Portugal), Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece), Transylvania International Film Festival (Romania), FILMADRID International Film Festival (Spain), Reykjavik International Film Festival (Iceland) and Vilnius Kino Pavasaris International Film Festival (Lithuania). The films will be presented in all seven festivals, and the winner will be chosen by an international jury of young people with representatives from the participating countries (including Romania), at the final point of the journey, the Thessaloniki Festival. The prize of the competitive section is 5000 EUR.

SMART7 is supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA Program and aims to become a promotion channel for European films, generating a meeting space between young creators and the general public. In addition to the creation of a common film program, the project includes a number of other activities aimed at developing the international exchange of experiences and knowledge in the field of festivals.

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