The 33rd Trieste Film Festival, directed by Fabrizio Grosoli and Nicoletta Romeo, will take place from 21st to 30th January. The festival is finally back in a physical form, after last year’s online-only edition, as dictated by the pandemic. However, being online in 2021 allowed new audiences to discover the festival without having to travel to Trieste, so we decided it would be shortsighted not to continue to offer the festival online as well. This “hybrid” formula will take place from 21st to 27th January in-person in three of the city’s theatres (Rossetti, Ambasciatori and Miela), and online from 26th to 30th on the MYmovies platform.

The festival will launch with a showing of Evolution, the new feature directed by Kornél Mundruczó and written by Kata Wéber, following the remarkable success of Pieces of a Woman (which won prizes at Venice and was nominated for an Academy Award). Evolution was presented out of competition at Cannes 2021 where it was well received and is currently being released in Italian cinemas on 27th January (Teodora Film distribution). The film tells a story of extraordinary intensity, with Martin Scorsese acting again as executive producer.

The film chronicles a family’s coming to terms with the legacy of the Shoah across three generations, from the miraculous birth of Éva in a concentration camp to the daily lives of her grandson Jonas and his mother in today’s Berlin. Inspired by real events, Mundruczó and Wéber’s film is a powerful reflection on memory and identity, with compelling performances and stunning staging characterised by incredible sequence shots.

“Every new movie by Mundruczó and Wéber comes as a welcome shock to the senses for the viewer and for the filmmaker – they never stop advancing into uncharted territory,” Scorsese said in a statement. “With Evolution, they find a way to dramatize the movement of time itself, the ways that we remember and the ways that we forget.”

The screening of Evolution is linked to one of the two traditional prizes awarded by the Trieste Film Festival – the Eastern Star Award. Established to celebrate cinema personalities whose careers have built bridges between East and West (previous recipients include Irène Jacob, Monica Bellucci, Milcho Manchevski, Rade Šerbedžija, Kasia Smutniak and Miki Manojlović), this year’s award goes to Mundruczó himself and screenwriter Kata Wéber. Mundruczó is a Hungarian director who has shot to international stardom in recent years, winning recognition at some of the main international film awards, including the Oscars.

This year’s Cinema Warrior Award, created to reward the tenacity, sacrifice and “madness” of those who fight for cinema, goes to Luciana Castellina, for being an indefatigable leading figure in Italy’s political and cultural life, and for her keen interest in cinema and Europe.

At the core of the festival, as is customary, are the three international competitions dedicated respectively to feature films, shorts and documentaries.

Eleven films make up the Feature Competition (the jury comprises film critics Dubravka Lakić and Emanuela Martini, and film programmer Edvinas Pukšta).

Murina by Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović centres on the growing tensions between a teenage girl and her obsessive father, worsened by the arrival at home of a male friend of the father. These conflicts are seen as a metaphor for a whole country increasingly drifting towards chauvinism (under the pretext of preserving the nation’s “cultural heritage”). The film was backed by Martin Scorsese as executive producer and was awarded the ‘Caméra d’or’ for best first feature at Cannes last year. In the female ensemble film Women Do Cry, by Bulgarian directors Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova (and starring Maria Bakalova, who shot to international acclaim with Borat 2) another family story offers the directors an opportunity to describe a society constitutionally (the adverb is not used casually) sexist and patriarchal, shaken by nationalist protests against gender equality. Two directors, who have already been fêted in Trieste in previous years, inhabit worlds perched between fairytale and epic, realism and metaphor. Stefan Arsenijević’s As Far as I Can Walk is an adaptation of the medieval poem Strahinja Banović. The film, set in modern-day Belgrade – a city at the centre of the Balkan migration route – turns a young Ghanaian man into Serbia’s national hero. Romanian director Radu Muntean uses a fairytale structure in his Întregalde (complete with a hero’s journey) to question, or rather subvert, the certainties about solidarity and empathy of a group of friends who are about to set off onto a humanitarian mission at the end of the year.  Bebia. À mon seul désir by Juja Dobrachkous, tells the story of a young female model returning home, forced to come to terms with the complex, and at times cruel, role that her recently deceased grandmother played in her childhood. This film also “introduces” the festival’s tribute to Georgian female filmmakers to whom is dedicated this year’s ‘Wild Roses: Women Filmmakers in Europe’ (see below). Also, two films from Serbia: Milica Tomović Celts, where Marijana’s personal dissatisfaction in 1993’s Belgrade mirrors the public disintegration of Yugoslavia; and Darkling by Dušan Milić – a reflection on the legacy of the war in Kosovo, and the psychological traumas it caused, that relies on the mystery and thriller genre tropes (and archetypal human ancestral fears). Kosovo also features in two female-based tales: Luàna Bajrami’s The Hill Where Lionesses Roar, presented at Cannes’ Quinzaine – about the dreams, ambitions and hopes of a group of young female friends; and Norika Sefa’s Looking for Venera, winner of a prize at Rotterdam, where two teenage girls with a complicated life are hoping to escape the strict patriarchal society. Bullying (including cyber) lies at the centre of Dina Duma’s delicate Sisterhood from North Macedonia; whereas Slovenia is represented by Matevž Luzar’s Orkester, a portrayal in b&w of the secrets and lies of a brass band on tour in Austria.

Two special events not in competition: apart from the previously mentioned Evolution, the Italian premiere of The Story of My Wife (scheduled for theatrical release in Italy by Altre Storie distribution) by another great Hungarian director – Ildikó Enyedi. Presented in competition at Cannes last year, the film is a grand-scale romantic drama featuring a stellar international cast led by Léa Seydoux, Gijs Naber, Louis Garrel, Sergio Rubini and Jasmine Trinca.

Six other films not in competition include: 107 Mothers by Slovak director Peter Kerekes, shot entirely inside a female prison; Not So Friendly Neighbourhood Affair by Oscar-winner Danis Tanović, a romantic comedy shot in Sarajevo during the pandemic; Fabian – Going to the Dogs by Dominik Graf, from a novel by Erich Kästner, a portrait of Berlin in the early 1930s; Piccolo corpo (Small Body) by Laura Samani, one of the most surprising and well-received (including at Cannes’ ‘Semaine de la Critique’) debuts of Italian cinema in recent years; Vera Dreams of the Sea by Kaltrina Krasniqi, about a mature woman whose life is shaken by her husband’s suicide; and Leave No Traces by Jan P. Matuszyński, a reconstruction of the Grzegorz Przemyk case – a high school student beaten to death by the police in Poland in 1983.

The Documentary Competition presents twelve titles (the jury comprises Georgian director Nino Kirtadze, Italian director Gianfranco Pannone and Serbian director and videoartist Marta Popivoda).

Tomasz Wolski’s 1970 recreates the protests that erupted in communist Poland in 1970 from the unusual perspective of the oppressors. Listening to recorded telephone conversations and peeking from behind the closed doors of government officials, the atmosphere of the time inside the Home Office is vividly brought back to life (thanks also to the use of stop-motion animation); moving from Warsaw to Prague, Reconstruction of Occupation by Jan Šikl has dug through private and amateur film archives to show – through faded vintage home movies – the city’s invasion by the Warsaw Pact’s troops. Unique images, not seen for decades, in which anonymous citizens become living witnesses to those dramatic days in the history of Czechoslovakia. I’ll Stand by You by Virginija Vareikytė and Maximilien Dejoie shows the commitment of two women – a psychologist and a police officer – to reduce the record number of suicides in their charming little town in Lithuania; The Case by Nina Guseva, focuses on the case of the young political activist Konstantin Kotov, who was arrested in Moscow in the summer of 2019; The Balcony Movie by Paweł Łoziński, winner of an award at Locarno, is an original example of an observational documentary completely filmed from the balcony of the director’s flat, in Warsaw; Never Coming Back by Mikołaj Lizut portrays four young female inmates in the Youth Educational Centre in Goniądz near Białystok, in Poland; Krai by Aleksey Lapin, shows the director’s return to his family’s native village on the Ukranian border, where he himself used to spend his summers; Looking for Horses by Stefan Pavlović is about the friendship between the director and a fisherman who lost his hearing during the Bosnian civil war and retreated to a lake to live in solitude; Museum of the Revolution by Srđan Keča tells the story of a building that was never completed, that had been designed to celebrate socialist Yugoslavia and is now occupied by the outcasts of a society that has been reshaped by capitalism; Marija Zidar’s Reconciliation shows us forgiveness and reconciliation in an Albania still ruled by the ancient Kanun code of law; René – The Prisoner of Freedom by Helena Třeštíková is the latest instalment in a film-biography that has now lasted more than thirty years; and Factory to the Workers by Srđan Kovačević, ten years of working class battles in a Croatian factory which turns into an alternative form of production, against the capitalist economy.

The seven documentaries not in competition are: Babi Yar. Context by Sergej Loznica; Bosnia Express by Massimo D’Orzi; Freikörperkultur by Alba Zari; Gorbachev. Heaven by Vitalij Manskij; The Jungle by Cristian Natoli; Tullio Kezich – A proposito di me by Gioia Magrini; L’ultimo calore d’acciaio by Francesco De Filippo and Diego Cenetiempo.

The Short Film Competition presents thirteen titles, with Italy being represented by Daniele Pini’s Big and Federico Demattè’s Inchei. (The jury comprises director Špela Čadež; Wim Vanacker, member of the Selection Committee for the Official Short Film Competition at Cannes; and deputy managing director of sixpackfilm, Gerald Weber.)

Two new sections that were created last year make a return: ‘Off the Beaten… Screens’ and ‘Wild Roses: Women Filmmakers in Europe’.

With ‘Off the Beaten… Screens’ – explain the artistic directors – we wanted to create a new window dedicated to innovative filmmaking perspectives and forms, to host titles that present ‘looser’ narrative structures, irregular durations and cross-fertilisations between genres and styles”. This section welcomes young talents as well as established auteurs. The programme includes: Crane Lantern by Hilal Baydarov, Khan’s Flesh by Krystsina Savutsina, The Girl and the Spider by Ramon Zürcher and Silvan Zürcher, Our Quiet Place by Elitza Gueorguieva, Forest – I See You Everywhere by Bence Fliegauf, and Moon, 66 Questions by Jacqueline Lentzou.

The section ‘Wild Roses: Women Filmmakers in Europe’– continue Fabrizio Grosoli and Nicoletta Romeo – is a space we intend to dedicate to women directors from Central and Eastern Europe (who, by the way, have always featured prominently at the festival), focusing on a group of female filmmakers from a different country every year. Audiovisual industry data reveal how films made by women experience more hurdles globally in finding funding, regardless of their artistic merits; therefore, we thought it important to play our part in celebrating and promoting European female directors through a dedicated section.” The spotlight this year is on Georgia, with a selection of films made in the last eleven years. These will include both works of fiction and documentaries. Through their distinctive voices and styles, these films will offer opportunities to reflect on the condition of women in a country that has been torn by civil wars and that today appears to still be pulling backwards to ancestral traditions, while also pushing forward to modernity. Here are the films in programme: The Pipeline Next Door by Nino Kirtadze; In Bloom by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross; Line of Credit by Salomé Alexi; Anna’s Life by Nino Basilia; House of Others by Rusudan Glurjidze; Glory to the Queen by Tatia Skhirtladze; How the Room Felt by Ketevan Kapanadze; Taming the Garden by Salomé Jashi; and Wet Sand by Elene Naveriani.

The ‘Art&Sound’ section – supported by Sky Arte, which will reward one of the films by acquiring it and showing it on their channel – presents four premières which explore the most diverse artistic fields: Bobi Bazlen – Con uno zaino pieno di libri by Giampaolo Penco; Giovanna, Storie di una voce by Chiara Ronchini, dedicated to Italian singer Giovanna Marini; Milan Kundera:  From the Joke to Insignificance by Miloslav Šmidmajer; and Janko Baljak’s ŽŽŽ (Journal About Želimir Žilnik).

The Corso Salani Award 2022, as is customary, presents five Italian films completed in 2021, but still looking for a distributor. The prize (€4,000) is intended as an incentive for the theatrical release of the winning film. The nature of the shortlisted works remains unchanged: these are independent films, that cannot easily be labelled within specific genres or formats, and which are therefore innovative, in the spirit of Corso Salani’s own cinema. This year’s films are: Dal pianeta degli umani by Giovanni Cioni, Des portes et des déserts by Loredana Bianconi, Divided: What language do you express love in? by Federico Schiavi and Christine Reinhold, Isole by Mario Brenta and Karine de Villers, Viaggio nel crepuscolo by Augusto Contento, and lastly, not in competition, Insultati. Bielorussia by Caterina Shulha.

The TsFF pays two tributes this year. One is dedicated to the Artdocfest festival, a symbol of Russian opposition to that country’s central power. It is not by chance that the festival has had to move its operations to Riga, in a forced exile. Its director, the great documentarist Vitalij Manskij, will present to the public in Trieste a special selection of some of the most interesting talents he has discovered in the last few years. The other tribute is dedicated to Vesna Ljubić (1938-2021), the first female filmmaker of Bosnia Herzegovina, who will be remembered with the screening of her Ecce Homo (1994) and Adio Kerida (2001).

Having reached its 12th edition this year, When East Meets West is an event organised by the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Audiovisual Fund together with the Trieste Film Festival, EAVE, Creative Europe Desk Italy, and with the support of Creative Europe – Media Programme, Direzione Generale per il Cinema/Italian Ministry of Culture, CEI (Central European Initiative), Film Center Serbia and Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia. It will take place in Trieste from the 24th to 28th January.

The 2022 hybrid edition will be a five-day event both in-person and online dedicated to producers, commissioning editors, markets and regional funding bodies from Italy, Europe and beyond. Our aim is, as ever, to create an event that can generate close ties between the participating regions and countries. Cinema professionals from various countries meet through a series of roundtables, masterclasses and case studies, making WEMW a unique point of reference for producers who are looking to find collaborations to realise their projects. Numerous commissioning editors, distributors and representatives of funding bodies and markets will take part both physically in Trieste and through online accreditation, so as to present the whole range of production and distribution opportunities, as well as financial resources, available to the industry.

Moreover, WEMW is maintaining its commitment to exploring and researching specific production contexts in the East and the West, bringing to Trieste, for the first time, a special selection of projects from the geographical areas in focus this year – Russia and the UK, Ireland, Canada, and the USA. The core of the event continues to be the co-production forum dedicated to documentaries and features in development, maintaining the same elements as in previous years, but adding some new and important features. Day after day you will discover new aspects which will make WEMW 2022 an opportunity for dialogue and discussion, to rethink the present and find new inspirations for the future.

The Trieste Film Festival and When East Meets West present the seventh edition of ‘Last Stop Trieste’, a section dedicated to documentaries that are still in progress, i.e. fine cut projects that have previously been developed or presented at one of the other platforms participating in the scheme: Ex-Oriente Film Workshop, BDC Discoveries, Docu Rough Cut Boutique, Baltic Sea Docs, ZagrebDox PRO and When East Meets West. In this special edition of both festival and market events, documentaries that are at the fine cut stage will be presented to an exclusive international audience of sales agents, festival programmers and TV commissioning editors, with the aim of being selected by the most important international film festivals and increase the likelihood of finding distribution.

‘Last Stop Trieste’ is organised by Alpe Adria Cinema – Trieste Film Festival and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund, with the support of Creative Europe, Direzione Generale per il Cinema/Italian Ministry of Culture and Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia. The initiative is co-ordinated by Rada Šešic, programmer at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

When East Meets West and the Trieste Film Festival present the fifth edition of ‘This is IT’, a section entirely dedicated to fiction features and hybrid works with a strong visual and creative approach, produced or co-produced by Italian production companies (as majority or minority stakeholders). The selected teams will be able to present their projects and show ten minutes of their films online to an exclusive panel of sales agents, festival programmers and international buyers.

Thanks to the continuing partnership with Milano Film Network (MFN), all the projects presented at ‘This is IT’ have also been considered by their selection panel. The aim is to offer a double opportunity to Italian producers, increasing their chances of finding distribution partners both at national and international level.

Participating Countries

Albania – Austria – Azerbaijan – Belgium – Bosnia Herzegovina – Brazil – Bulgaria – Canada – Croatia – Czech Republic– Denmark – Finland – France – Georgia – Germany Greece – Hungary – Italy – Kosovo – Latvia – Lithuania – Mexico – Montenegro – Netherlands – North Macedonia – Poland – Romania – Russia – Serbia – Slovakia – Slovenia – Switzerland – Turkey – Ukraine – United Arab Emirates – United Kingdom – United States of America.

The 33rd Trieste Film Festival has been realised with the contribution of Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia; Creative Europe – Media Programme; Direzione Generale per il Cinema – Ministero della  Cultura; and Promoturismo FVG. It has been co-organised with Comune di Trieste; with the support of CEI – Central European Initiative; Fondazione Benefica Kathleen Foreman Casali; Fondazione Osiride Brovedani Onlus; Polish Institute in Rome; Fondazione Pietro Pittini; Georgian National Film Centre – Tbilisi; Film Center Serbia – Belgrade; Comunità Greco Orientale di Trieste; Associazione Corso Salani; and with the patronage of Università degli Studi di Trieste and Sissa-Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste;

With the collaboration of
Animateka – Ljubljana; ArtDocFest; Associazione Casa del Cinema di Trieste; Casa della Poesia – Salerno; Cinemambiente – Torino; Cineteca di Bologna; Cineteca di Milano; Cineuropa; Cizeoruno – Trieste; Claimax; Conservatorio di Musica “Giuseppe Tartini” – Trieste; Cooperativa Bonawentura – Trieste; Cooperativa La Collina – Trieste; Corep – Turin; Creative Europe Desk Italy MEDIA – Turin Office; DoubleRoom arti visive – Trieste; IoDeposito – Udine; Eurimages; Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund; Fluido.tv; FVG Film Commission; Erpac – Ente Regionale del Patrimonio Culturale della Regione FVG; Istituto Luce Cinecittà; Milano Film Network; MIDPOINT – a training and networking platform for film & series development – Prague; Nexo+; Osservatorio Balcani, Caucaso e Transeuropa; PAG – Progetto Area Giovani – Comune di Trieste; Slovenski Filmski Arhiv – Ljubljana; Lo Scrittoio – Milano; SNCCI – Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani; University of Bristol; and When East Meets West.

Media partners
Anonima Cinefili; Mymovies; DAFilms-Doc Alliance Films; East European Film Bulletin; FilmTV; FRED Film Radio; Il Piccolo; Quinlan; Taxi Drivers; Tënk.

Web media partners
Cineclandestino; Cinematographe; In Trieste; insidertrend.it; ItaliaMagazine; Just Cinema Tabloid; La Nouvelle Vague; Oubliette Magazine; Venezia legge i Balcani; Vero Cinema.

Media coverage
Sky Arte HD.

Technical partners
Art&grafica; B&B Hotel; Cafè Rossetti; Clear Channel; DoubleTree by Hilton Trieste; Elita; Eventival; Grand Hotel Duchi D’Aosta; Hotello; Ideando Pubblicità; InAsset Srl; Savoia Excelsior Palace; Tipografia Menini; Wyth.

Antico Caffè San Marco; Gravner; Parovel; Piolo & Max; Zidarič.

Trieste Film Festival is a member of AFIC Associazione Festival Italiani Cinema.


Established in the years immediately preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Trieste Film Festival is the leading Italian event dedicated to the cinema of Central and Eastern Europe. For over thirty years it has promoted the cinema of countries and directors which are often unfamiliar – or even unknown – to Italian, and, in general, Western audiences.