ScripTeast is a year-long training programme designed specifically for experienced scriptwriters from Central and Eastern Europe. ScripTeast focuses on the script development, as well as on the overall promotion of film projects and their authors. For the 2020-2021 edition, Teodor Kuhn has been selected to further develop his film project Trophy.
After social services threatens to take her little sister away, a beautiful girl from a poor family gets the money to save her by becoming a front for a local gangster.
Nikola has ambitions of living on her own, but when the social services office threatens to take her little sister Ema away because their father Jozef is an alcoholic, Nikola puts these ambitions aside and starts providing for the whole family.
The region is jobless, but with her looks and wits, she manages to grab the attention of Antonino, a local Italian gangster. She becomes a dummy owner for one of his companies, or in local parlance: his “white mare”.
With the steady income, things at home improve and Jozef tries to stop drinking. But under Antonino’s influence, Nikola becomes hardened. After a conflict over Jozef’s alcoholism, she moves out, leaving her father and sister on their own.
Nikola gets an apartment and starts fully working with Antonino, finally fulfilling her ambitions of a more independent, financially stable lifestyle.
But when she returns home to visit Ema, she discovers that social services have removed her sister to foster care. Nikola realizes she wants Ema with her more than anything, but in order to re-claim her from the system she will have to gain custody.
For this Nikola needs to show proof of legal employment at the upcoming custody hearing.
But Antonino, who has become Nikola's lover, doesn't want her to split her attentions. He forbids her from finding a job and quitting his dummy company.
Nikola doesn't give up. She secretly gets a job and steals money from Antonino. This puts the police on her trail.
Nikola has everything ready for the hearing - when the cops show up. Antonino refuses to help unless she personally oversees one last deal for him; a dangerous job that – if she gets caught - could send her to prison for years.
The only one who can help is her father. Jozef grabs the opportunity to redeem himself. With his help, Nikola manages to avoid the police and satisfy Antonino.
Antonino allows her to quit the dummy company and their romance ends.
But now, Nikola has a police investigation connected with her name which makes her unfit to be Ema’s guardian. It looks hopeless for Nikola, but in a final twist, Antonino bribes the judge and she is awarded custody after all.
Nikola and Ema return home together and give their father one last chance.
Teodor Kuhn is a director and scriptwriter. He graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where he was also briefly teaching during his PhD. His short films won several awards and his debut feature By a Sharp Knife (2019) was premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival and won the award for Best Director at Cottbus. Apart from being a filmmaker, Teodor is involved in an environmental NGO and also leads an NGO that builds concrete skateparks. For fun, he does concrete construction work and shoots commercials.
How can a programme like ScripTeast help a scriptwriter? What are your expectations?
- I signed up for ScripTeast thanks to Zuzana Liová, who rewrote her film The House there. For a scriptwriter, the workshop represents an impartial dramaturge and an opportunity to get feedback from producers from around the world. I do not expect that co-producers in Berlin or Cannes will eagerly jump at the script, but rather I am interested in whether the story has potential and how I can increase it as much as possible.
- I have three film projects in progress. I had to suspend one, about the partisan Žingor, because I still cannot find a model in which such a high-cost and extensive story could be produced. As a result, I switched to two low-budget screenplays: a cheeky drama about a beautiful girl who becomes a money mule for a mafioso and a comedy from a homeless shelter. I am writing that script, inspired by the beautiful assistant of our former prime minister, at ScripTeast. Of course, it contains characters such as the Italian mafia member Antonino, so I think I have a better chance with western co-producers.
PREVIOUS SLOVAK PARTICIPANTS AT SCRIPTEAST
2018-19: Barbora Námerová, Tereza Nvotová (The Nightsiren)
2015-16: Michal Kollár, Tereza Oľhová (Samko Tále’s Cemetery Book)
2014-15: Martin Repka, Agda Bavi Pain (The Tattoist)
2012-13: Katarína Uhrová (Retro Paradise)
2011-12: Michal Kollár, Anna Fifiková (Red Captain - currently in post-production)
2010-11: Laura Siváková, Biba Bohinská (The Town of Otol)
2009-10: Zuzana Belková (Polystyrene)
2006-07: Zuzana Liová (The House – winner of the Krzysztof Kiesłowski Award, premiered at Berlinale 2011, Forum)