The Krzysztof Kieślowski ScripTeast Award 2012
Somewhere on the cross-roads between the East and the West after World War I, among the historical ruble of empires a new, fancy apartment building raises several stories high.
It is only a stage – two apartments for two families, upstairs and downstairs – waiting for our heroes to arrive. And they do arrive – with pomp and circumstance; and they don’t speak to each other – they smile, they kiss, they dance, and they fall in love. They read papers and listen to the radio. In the new war that comes most of them perish – Hitler’s rule is short, but devastating. Stage is set for a new empire – Soviet Union – with new rules. Army takes over the apartment above. Suddenly the apartment below is getting crowded, we witness the birth of communal living – soviet style – three, four families in one apartment. One is Latvian, one is Russian, one is Jewish and at the end of the corridor there is even room for the street sweeper and his grandson.
This is where our story begins.
It’s 1961. Yuri Gagarin is the first man in outer space. J.F. Kennedy has just been elected president of United States. And nobody has heard of missiles in Cuba. It’s the happiest day in cold times, but no-one really notices. Because life is right there: love and sorrow, small mischief and big betrayal. We witness how life is shaped by coveting thy neighbor’s wife and property. How young people are warned off putting their eyes on the opposite sex, but they still do. How families are born from a single kiss. How love vanishes and a routine sets in. How children grow up and go to school; and how they discover love… again. And how you grow old and don’t even notice it.
Martins Slisans, writer and producer has been closely connected with film business since 1995. His point of entry was film critics. He’s been involved with creative script development and international co-production process since 2002. He successfully entered field of fiction writing with his adventure novel TERRACOTTA ARMY (Terakotas armija, publisher: Latvijas Avize, 239 p.) in 2006, being a debut novel it surprised its national publisher with successful sales. THE APPARTMENTS is Martins Slisans’ premiere project as writer and producer.
His background includes extensive work in film critics with some of the finest writing appearing in many different national publications. He was on the panel of seven jurors to judge National Film Awards 2007 in Latvia. He’s been involved with programming of the bi-annual Riga International Film Festival “Arsenals” 2000 – work with international sales agents and festival circuit, responsible for regions of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand; Germany, Poland, Moscow; South America and U.S. independents.
Lately he’s been instrumental in development and distribution process of one of the most commercially and artistically successful Latvian films ever on international scene, family adventure LITTLE ROBBERS (Mazie laupītāji, Latvia – Austria, 2009, dir. Armands Zvirbulis). It’s the only Latvian feature film since state independence that has been theatrically distributed outside Latvia (Austria, Germany, Russia), in a rare feat for Latvian fiction feature film it has been sold to major territories for TV (incl. France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Latin America etc.). The film has gathered 20 different greater and lesser awards, diplomas and nominations and during a two year run has participated in 60 film festivals around the world.
His current work in production development and assistance in general production implementation includes the up-coming drama LONELY ISLAND (2012, in post-production) by Berlinale Prize-winning Estonian film director Peeter Simm, a co-production between Estonia, Belarus and Latvia.
His film credits also include two feature documentaries My Husband Andrei Sakharov (2006, Latvia – France) and Vijaya (2005).
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“ScripTeast is the programme all the advisors wish they could have attended at the start of their careers. It would have saved all that stumbling around in the dark looking for the key that stimulates the imagination so much more effectively.”
BAFTA nominated, director of “My Son the Fanatic”, “The Yellow Hankerchief” and ”Opa!”, 5th edition ScripTeast creative advisor, UK
“ScripTeast’s top-notch team of professional advisors, each year’s talented group of participants, and venues in Poland, Germany and France continue to make it the very best development workshop in the world today.”
ScripTeast Head of Studies, Associate Professor – Screenwriting and Production at School of Cinematic Arts, USC, screenwriter and director, author of the script for the Oscar-nominated film “Shoeshine”, USA
“ScripTeast is a fascinating mix of cultures, political ideas, and voices. I learned a lot, and I think the participants learned a lot more. If only they served vodka!”
Golden Globe awarded author of “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Ed Wood” with two Oscars, 5th edition ScripTeast creative advisor, USA