Rough Cut Service

This year, Movies that Matter is organising its annual Rough Cut Service for the third time! Documentary projects from around the world are selected for the Movies that Matter Rough Cut Service 2023. They all address relevant and urgent topics and issues with great cinematic and narrative storytelling. Read more about the selected projects via the drop-down menu below.

On 27 and 28 March, each filmteam will privately meet with a panel of mentors with the aim of getting feedback on their rough cuts and further improving the structure and narrative of their story. The Rough Cut panel consists of: Sigal Yehuda, Sergi Doladé, Alex Szalat and Maciej Nowicki.

For the first time, participants will not only receive feedback on their rough cut in private from a panel of mentors. During the Industry: Work in Progress session on 29 March, they will also present snippets of their work-in-progress to industry professionals. After each presentation, there will be a Q&A with the filmmaker(s): what are your release plans? In which areas are you still looking for assistance or guidance?

The sessions are moderated by Gitte Hansen.

Selected Projects

  • Temperature Rising

    Project title: Temperature Rising
    Director: Rehad Desai, Jacqueline van Meygaarden
    Writer: Anita Khanna
    Editors: Ravi Desai, Geert Veuskens
    Producer: Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai
    Production Company: Uhuru Productions
    Countries of Production: South-Africa
    Expected Release Date: June 2023
    (Estimated) Final Length: 65′
    Shooting Language: English

    Logline: As climate induced disasters are on the rise across Southern Africa, three activists grapple with what thinking globally and acting locally means in practise.

    Contact: Anita Khanna

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai

  • George Bizos Icon

    Project title: George Bizos Icon
    Director: Jane Lipman, Peter Goldsmid
    Writer: Jane Lipman, Peter Goldsmid
    Editors: Megan Gill, Anne Meyburgh
    Producer: Jane Lipman, Peter Goldsmid
    Production Company: Current Affairs Films cc
    Countries of Production: South-Africa
    Expected Release Date: 2023
    (Estimated) Final Length: 87′
    Shooting Language: English

    Logline: In South Africa a teenage Greek refugee becomes a relentless human rights lawyer in the crucible of a violent racist regime. Defending revolutionaries including Nelson Mandela, he fights the apartheid regime. Championing democracy and constitutionalism, where he was key in its creation, seeking accountability he defended it against encroaching criminality.

    Contact: Jane Lipman

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Jane Lipman, Alexi Bizos

  • Let's Play Soldiers

    Project title: Let’s Play Soldiers
    Project’s original title: يلا نلعب عسكرة
    Director: Mariam Al-Dhubhani
    Writer: Mariam Al-Dhubhani
    Editors: Abdelrahim Kattab, Aimee Merheb
    Producer: Mohammed Al-Jaberi
    Production Company: Meem Square Films LLC
    Countries of Production: Yemen, US, Qatar
    Expected Release Date: 2024
    (Estimated) Final Length: 90′
    Shooting Language: Arabic

    Logline: Let’s Play Soldiers follows the life of Nasser in a small village in Yemen. This 16-year-old child soldier has left the frontlines to take care of his family and prevent his two younger siblings from dropping out of school and following the same path. The ongoing 8-year war has broken his older brother and father before him.

    Contact: Mariam Al-Dhubhani

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Mariam Al-Dhubhani, Mohammed Al-Jaberi

  • Nice Ladies

    Project title: Nice Ladies
    Director: Mariia Ponomarova
    Writer: Mariia Ponomarova
    Editor: Annelotte Medema
    Producer: Rogier Kramer
    Production Companies: Labyrint Film, Tabor Production
    Countries of Production: Netherlands, Ukraine
    (Estimated) Final Length: 95′
    Shooting Language: Russian, Ukrainian

    Logline: A team of Ukrainian elderly cheerleaders ‘Nice Ladies’ is combatting social prejudices while preparing to compete at the championship in the only available ‘25+’ category. Russian invasion spreads them apart and threatens their lives. Will Nice Ladies be able to reunite and regain their space for fulfilment, finding a common language again?

    Contact: Rogier Kramer

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Mariia Ponomarova, Annelotte Medema

  • Russia vs Lawyers

    Project title: Russia vs Lawyers
    Director: Masha Novikova
    Writer: Masha Novikova, Julia Shagurinova
    Editors: Eimantas Beliscas
    Producer: Masha Novikova
    Production Companies: NOVDOC, EINBAHNSTRASSEFILM
    Countries of Production: Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania
    Expected Release Date: May 2023
    (Estimated) Final Length: 90′ – 95′
    Shooting Language: Russian

    Logline: Civil society in Russia has suffered severe pressure from the state over the past few years. The opposition has been virtually wiped out. Citizens are deprived of their basic rights and freedoms, and the legal system has been effectively destroyed by Vladimir Putin’s regime. Unlawful mass arrests, absurd trials, tortures in prison have become the norm in the Russian Federation. The Russian war against Ukraine has made things even worse, and has launched a new fierce wave of repressions.

    Contact: Masha Novikova

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Masha Novikova

  • The Woman Who Poked The Leopard

    Project title: The Woman Who Poked The Leopard
    Director: Patience Nitumwesiga
    Writer: Patience Nitumwesiga
    Editors: Esteban Uyarra, Sandile Madi, Caitlin Lock
    Producer: Rosie Motene
    Production Company: Shagika
    Countries of Production: Uganda, South Africa, Germany
    Expected Release Date: 23 November 2023
    (Estimated) Final Length: 100′
    Shooting Language: English, Luganda

    Logline: After a life of radical activism that lands her in jail, Ugandan Queer rights academic and poet Stella Nyanzi decides to run for parliament. Police brutality and tragedies that follow force her to choose between her children’s safety and the revolution.

    Contact: Patience Nitumwesiga

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Patience Nitumwesiga, Rosie Motene

  • Slave Island

    Project title: Slave Island
    Director: Jeremy Kewuan, Jimmy Hendrickx
    Writer: Jimmy Hendrickx, Kristian Van der Heyden, Terje Toomistu, Jeremy Kewuan
    Editors: Raquel Ferreira, Jimmy Hendrickx
    Producer: Kristian Van der Heyden, Marianna Kaat, Patrick Mao Huang, Leonardo Barrile, Henry Gillet
    Production Company: Harald House Belgium, Baltic Film Production, Flash Forward Entertainment, Samarcanda Film, The Y-House
    Countries of Production: Belgium, Estonia, Taiwan, Italy
    Expected Release Date: 01 February 2024
    (Estimated) Final Length: 80′
    Shooting Language: Indonesian

    Logline: Jeremy Kewuan, an activist for over a decade, faces the invisible power of ideology and faith as he combats a tradition of present-day slavery on a remote island. Young women and children are threatened with ‘Pasung’: to be chained to a wooden block until the demons are driven out.

    Contact: Kristian Van der Heyden

    Participants present at the Rough Cut Service: Jimmy Hendrickx, Raquel Ferreira, Vasco Bauerle

  • Rough Cut Panel

    The Rough Cut panel consists of: 

    Sigal Yehuda is the Founder & Executive Director of Close-Up, an Independent International Organization based in Brussels, Belgium, dedicated to mitigating conflict through documentary filmmaking. Between 2007-2018 Yehuda was the Director of Greenhouse, a development program for filmmakers from the Middle East & North Africa. She led the program into a prestigious and internationally recognized initiative for fostering the talents of the region’s most promising filmmakers.

    Sergi Doladé joined the Association of Euro-Mediterranean Producers (APIMED) as managing director in 2000 and consequently was appointed director of MEDIMED the Euro-Mediterranean Documentary Market & Pitching Forum that takes place yearly in Sitges (Barcelona-Spain). MEDIMED is one of Europe’s most important breeding grounds for new documentary content and the place to be for independent producers, filmmakers, young talents, acquisition executives, commissioning editors, documentary funders and other decision makers of the industry.

    Alex Szalat is the head of Doc’s Up Fund, an Association dedicated to feature length documentaries about human rights. From September 2011 until March 2019, he was Deputy Head of the Documentary department of Arte France (Society and Culture). From 2008 to 2011, he headed the current affair, social issues and geopolitical department. From 2005 to 2008, he was a commissioning editor for the geopolitical Europe and society department of Arte France.

    Maciej Nowicki is the Vice-President of the Board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland–one of Europe’s leading human rights NGOs. Co-founder and Director of the International Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film in Warsaw, one of the world’s largest human rights film festivals. Author of the concept behind the FUTURE DOCS European platform for creative encounters between human rights defenders and documentary filmmakers. Expert on human rights and documentary film, conducted training sessions, served on several juries, and participated in various panel debates at several international film festivals.