Meet the Script LAB Participants

Cinekid Script LAB is a four-month script-training programme for writers with a children's film project. It takes place during Cinekid for professionals in October, and the Berlinale the following February.

During the Cinekid Script LAB an international group of writers and writer/directors will work on their plans for children’s feature films. The programme offers tailor-made coaching and training; it answers to the specific writer’s and story’s needs, along a four month trajectory.

Meet our participants and their projects of the 2016-2017 Cinekid Script LAB below: 

Nominated by Finnish Film Foundation (Finland)
Project: TAGLI & TELLE
Writer: Paula Noronen

Paula Noronen is an author, TV and radio scriptwriter and journalist from Helsinki, known for her sharp and humorous style and characters that appeal to readers of any age. 

Two of the published Super Guinea Pigbooks, Super Guinea Pig Flies to India and Super Guinea Pig Rescues the Herring, have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Junior Prize. The first book of the Super Guinea Pig series has been published in Germany and China. A Supermarsu-movie will premiere 2017.

Paula holds a BA in Film Arts and has also gained acclaim as a stand-up comedian. On the Super Guinea Pig series she has worked with

illustratorand graphic designer Terese Bast and illustrator Pauliina Mäkelä.

Synopsis Tagli & Telle

Siblings Tagli and Telle, 10, live in an apartment above a mall called Mammoth, where they like to sneak into during the night. Telle is a skateboarding and sporty daredevil who tends to get in trouble. Meanwhile her brother Tagli is a talented MacGyver-esque geek, who can solve any problem with his technical skills.

When animals start disappearing from a nearby circus island, they start a detective agency in a secret room at the mall. Luckily they meet a talking parrot, the clever Steven, who becomes their most valuable sidekick as the investigation proceeds. Will any of them dare to enter the tunnel which leads directly to the island to solve the mystery?

 

Nominated by Norwegian Film Institute (Norway)
Project: KASJA'S DOGS
Writer: Sebastian Torngren Wartin
Production company: Nordisk Film Production AS

Sebastian Torngren Wartin (b. 1984) is a Swedish writer and director, working in both Oslo and Stockholm. He graduated from the directing course at The Norwegian Film School in 2010, and has since directed a short film – Ambulance (2016) – a documentary.

TV-show – FAM (2011) – along with a bunch of TV-ads. He has also written two original screenplays for feature films; One Night in Oslo (2014) and the upcoming Harajuku (2017). And is currently developing another two – Kajsa´s Dogs and Police – with the financial support from the Norwegian Film Institute.

Synopsis Kajsa’s dogs

Kajsa’s family breeds and trains dogs - dogs that are national champions in agility, the sport in which a handler directs a canine competitor through an obstacle course. At one point, Kajsa’s family was even named best in the world. And their hometown of Stiklefjord was given the title of "Norway's #1

spot for dog lovers" by a local TV crew that passed through in the 1990’s.

For the first time ever, the World Cup in agility is being held in Stiklefjord, and the whole village has gone a bit bonkers - it’s a veritable beehive of activity and anticipation. Aside from the Kennel Club, there is not much to get excited about in this sleepy hamlet. The factory that has long driven the town’s economy is closing down, dragging people’s hopes for the future along with it. That’s why the inhabitants of Stiklefjord are pulling out all the stops to ensure that the competition will be the event of the year, and to put this little backwater on the map as the Scandinavian mecca for agility.

But of course everything goes terribly wrong! Kajsa is 12 years old. The story opens with her mother, Gitte, leaving the family for another man and moving to Bergen. As if that wasn't enough, Kajsa manages to accidentally kill the family dog, Jay-Z, a national champion directly descended from generations of carefully bred competition winners. Suddenly, the family seems to be on the road to ruin.

Jay-Z was their great, furry hope for winning a spot on the podium in the championship, and his victory would have been a real boon to this family in crisis. Without a dog to enter into competition, the World Cup suddenly seems bitterly unappealing - and it’s all Kajsa’s fault! Kajsa watches her father, Torstein, drown his sorrows in the bottle. Meanwhile, her older sister Miriam struggles with an eating disorder, and finds little to get excited about in life except for her boyfriend, Kenneth, who has an IQ of about 70 but is good at kissing. Everyone is busy with their own problems, and nobody cares about Kajsa, or even ask how she feels. Her family is falling apart, and her village desperately needs a World Cup win if it is to regain some shred of its former dignity and glory.

So what should Kajsa do? Things look pretty grim. When she meets Pontus, she wonders if her life might finally be looking up. She’s never had a boyfriend before - she hasn’t even been kissed. For a while, it really looks like Pontus will solve all her problems. Sadly, things only work out that way in the movies! It seems hard to trust anyone - especially people, and especially boys. In the end, it's up to Kajsa to restore her family’s honour and her community’s pride, and to make it to the top of the podium at the World Cup –

because the only ones you can really count on are Kajsa’s dogs!

 

Nominated by Swedish Film Institute (Sweden)
Project: NO CHILDS LAND
Writers: Niclas Ekström
Production company: Dragon Films

Niclas Ekström has a background in journalism but has been working as a freelance screenwriter, script editor and script doctor since graduating from The Swedish School of Television (IHTV) in the year 2000. He has written numerous episodes for different TV-shows, including successful series such as 30 degrees in February, Molanders and Starke Man. He also develops original ideas and concepts for film and TV as well as adaptions of books and plays.

Last year his first feature film Happy Hour in Paradise, about a corrupt and drunken Swedish priest in Thailand, premiered in Sweden. The film has recently been nominated for best comedy movie of 2015. The stage play Hole in One, about a girl golfer with a magical swing, and the TV-series The Secret of Embla are examples of scripts Niclas has written for children. He was employed as a script editor at SVT Drama (Swedish Television) for three years, and has been in charge of TV-series development for several production companies. Niclas runs his own company, Pen Power, based in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Synopsis No Child’s Land

Miira will beat you up… bad! All the boys know this. Rumor says she hit Lasse, her classmate, so hard that he couldn’t walk for a week. She doesn’t want to be violent, but it is the only way she can express herself.

It's the late 1980s and Finnish migrant workers populate the grim project houses on the outskirts of Gothenburg, Sweden. Miira is about to start high school but feel neither at home among the other exiled Fins or among the ragtag Swedes who still resides in the neighbourhood.  She is instantly drawn into fights with the teachers; with the servile classmates and with the boys who are stupid enough to try to grope her. Miira refuses to be a victim like so many of the people around her.

She meets a scruffy Swedish girl, Vera, who becomes her first real friend. She teaches Miira how to smoke, how to shoplift and how to drink. Fun as this may be, Miira soon realises that there must be more to life than to wake up with a massive hangover every day. Her parents, stuck in dead end jobs, dream of going back to Finland – a country she has no emotional ties to. She swears not to become a cleaning woman like her mother, or grow silent like her father. She wants to learn, to grow – she wants to be someone. She wants her life to matter!

Her teacher, Hassan, introduces the world of books to her. She becomes a fervent reader, and starts  to see possibilities beyond the suburb. Miira dreams of becoming prime minister or maybe a brain surgeon ... jobs that her friends in the suburb can’t even imagine. However, Vera is on a different, more destructive path. Miira tries to save her from alcohol and drugs and the lowlifes that she hangs out with, but she doesn’t know how. How do you help someone who doesn’t want to be helped?  

Miira never stops fighting injustice, she knows that the rebellion has only just begun. No Child’s Land is an engaging coming-of-age story about a girl who doesn’t fit in – and decides to do something about it.

 

Nominated by Flanders Film Fund (Belgium)
Project: BINTI
Writers: Frederike Migom

Frederike studied theatre in New York, before moving to Paris to study filmmaking. After graduating she moved to Brussels where she started working in film production for 3 years. In 2013 she worked as an actor and directed her first short film Malakim, which won the award for best fiction short in Shanghai.

Frederike’s third short film, Nkosi Coiffure, has screened at many international film festivals, among which the Tribeca Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival, and has won three awards so far. Frederike is currently writing her first feature film Binti, as well as shooting a documentary for young audiences, Si-G.

Synopsis Binti

Binti (12) is an energetic and playful girl who has lived in Belgium all her life since her father Jovial moved the two of them from Congo when she was a baby. She dreams of being a TV presenter, and she’s well on the way. She has her own successful vlog “Binti’s Bustling Existence” and she bursts with ambition. But when the police arrive at the squat in which they live and she and her dad have to run away, her dream is about to fall apart.          

Elias (11) is a shy, nature enthusiast who hides away in his secret tree house from where he unsuccessfully tries to help the endangered okapis. Elias’ relationship with his mother Christine is fragile since his father moved to Colombia with another woman.

During a heavy storm, Binti discovers Elias’ tree house. Both children meet each other and their parents, and Binti instantly sees the solution to her problem: her dad has to marry Elias’ mom. Binti promises Elias to help him with his “save-the-okapi-club”, while simultaneously organising several actions to bring together both parents, as they seem to be a match. But then, things go wrong.

 

Nominated by Polish Film Institute (Poland)
Project: SQUEEK
Writer: Kas Zawadowicz
Production company: GS Studio

Polish film writer/director whose professional career started with scholarships at the University of Saragossa, Spain (the Faculty of History of Audiovisual Arts), the NYFA, USA (MFA in Filmmaking), Wajda School, Poland (Fiction Film Course “ Development Lab").

Since 2008 she has been continuously developing her skills at Film Spring Open-Air, interdisciplinary workshops led by Sławomir Idziak. She has written and directed numerous short films. Her film Plane to the Next Bus Stop was shown at 65th Cannes Film Festival, 34th Gdynia Film Festival, Rhode Island International Short Film Competition, Camerimage Film Festival and Talent Demo Programme. Since participating in Torino Film Lab's Adapt Lab, Kas specialises in adapting literature for film.

Since 2015 she is writing an animated feature film Mice on Strike, together with Fabrice Ziolkowski (Secret of Kells). The project is produced by GS Animation, supported by Media Program, and scheduled for production in 2017.

Synopsis Squeek

Welcome to SQUEEK, an underground world inhabited by mice parallel to the human world. But not all is well in Squeek. As our story begins, it’s a totalitarian dystopia ruled by a despot named Julius Rexus.

While most of the population of Squeek is meek and mild and accepts the dreadful situation, 12-year-old Maya is not about to let things pass. After her friend Alek is exiled to a dangerous place called the Outzone, Maya gets it into her head to sabotage the sound system that makes it possible for Julius to control the population. That’s a big order and Maya will have to face her fears and various dangers. But most of all she’ll have to find a way to marshal the most powerful weapon there is against tyranny: solidarity!  A story about the struggle for solidarity, freedom… and cheese!


Nominated by Netherlands Film Fund (Netherlands)
Project: SPACEKEES
Writers: Victoria Warmerdam

Victoria Warmerdam (1991) graduated with honours in 2014 from the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht as a film director and screenwriter.

Her short graduation film Happily I’m Happy has been screened on various national and international film festivals and has won several awards. In 2014, Victoria also won the Burny Bos Talent Award at the Cinekid Festival for her film idea SpaceKees, which she has been working on since. 

Together with director Hanna van Niekerk she’s working for the Amsterdam-based commercial production company In Case Of Fire, directing commercials for brands such as Heineken and Centraal Beheer. 

Synopsis Spacekees

SPACEKEES is a film about the first kid born and raised on planet Mars, the eleven-year-old Kees. Kees lives on the red planet with four adults; his mother Josephine and father Wolter (two renowned scientists) and Felix (a technician) and Myrthe (a psychologist/doctor). These four astronauts were send to Mars twelve years ago to found a colony. Their daily lives are now followed 24/7 by the extremely popular reality show THERE IS LIFE ON MARS, simply because the mission to Mars is financed by the unfriendly creators of this show.

While Kees tries really hard to keep up with the expectations of his rational, scientific parents and deals with the pressure of being “the future of humanity”, he realises that he’s very different from his parents. Kees loves to express himself with things like drawing, his own creative little inventions or learning different languages. He is learning Spanish for example, so he can communicate with his pink pet flamingo José Antonio Fernandez (adopted by Kees’ parents after testing the liveability of their settlement on Mars). Kees thinks José is always quiet because he only understands Spanish and he’s lonely. Unfortunately, Kees can relate to this loneliness, being the only kid on a planet where he’s not even allowed to go outside.

When Luna (a cool little girl who is living on Earth) tries to contact him, life on Mars changes for good. And the more he learns about life on Earth, the more he desires to discover what life on this other planet has to offer. SPACEKEES tells the story of a little boy’s urge to understand where he comes from, who he is and most importantly: how he relates to other children. 

 


Nominated by Icelandic Film Centre (Iceland)
Project: LOCAL JOKE
Writers: Styrmir Sigurðsson & Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir

 

Styrmir (born 1967.) snuck himself into local TV stations as a teenager. He went on to study filmmaking and directing at ACCD in Pasadena. Back in Iceland he landed a job directing countless documentary short subjects for RUV.  He went on to develop and direct Fóstbræður, a landmark comedy series in Iceland, that regularly sits at the top of “Best Icelandic TV of all time“ lists.  For the last fifteen years Styrmir has directed hundreds of adverts both in Iceland and abroad and is represented by Aylene Gardiner Agency abroad. For his work Styrmir has been nominated for and won Icelandic Ad Awards many times.

In 2010 Styrmir directed the 12-episode TV comedy series Hlemmavídeó for Channel 2, nominated for Edda Awards. In 2015 he finished the documentary Lobster Soup Included that was premiered at RIFF festival 2015 and recently shown on RUV.

Styrmir has a degree in jazz piano and has composed music both for film and TV. His band Geislar released its first album in 2014, Containing The Dark that he both composed and produced to rave reviews. Styrmir has taught at The Icelandic Film School, Iceland Academy of the Arts and Hafnarfjörður Music School.

Bryndís (born March 24, 1982) is an Icelandic author and folklorist. She started her writing career at fifteen when she co-authored the book Orðabelgur Ormars ofurmennis (The Word balloon of Worm Wonderman). In 2011 she returned to writing with the children's book Flugan sem stöðvaði stríðið (The Fly Who Ended the War) which won the Icelandic Children's Book Prize (2011). Three years later she published the young adult book Hafnfirðingabrandarinn (The Local Joke) which won both the Icelandic Literary Prize (2014) and the Icelandic Women's Literature Prize (or Fjöruverðlaunin 2014).

In 2015 she co-authored the book, Leitin að tilgangi unglingsins, with two teenagers, Arnór Björnsson and Óli Gunnar Gunnarsson. The Fly Who Ended the War will soon be published in Korea, The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and France.

Currently Bryndís is working as a folklorist, host and a screenwriter for the TV-series Reimleikar (e. The Haunting) on ghosts, elves, trolls and other supernatural beings in Icelandic folklore. The series will be broadcasted at the National Television (RÚV) this autumn. Bryndís is an adjunct professor at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.

Synopsis Local Joke

In December 1999, Klara, a fifteen-year-old girl is left with her grandmother while her parents leave for the Canary Islands. The school’s Christmas ball looms on the horizon, as well as a popularity contest and a string of dates at the town’s only café.

Soon we learn that Klara is quite peculiar. She suffers from anxiety that she tries to control mainly with sugar. She’s constantly analysing the situations she finds herself in and her own reactions to them with amusing results. She wants to be social but deals with some sort of social anxiety disorder at the same time. The story begins when her parents decide, as her father is recovering after being hospitalised, to go to the Canary Islands for a little getaway. They decide that Klara should stay with her grandmother while away. Klara is lonely at school. She misses her best friend that moved to the US recently. However, she makes friends with María, a girl from the Faroe Islands that is being bullied at school. Klara needs to decide if she’s going to stand by María or try to blend in with the “cool” kids. Klara finds herself in a tricky situation when invited to a party with the popular girls after having promised Maria to meet her at a café at the same time. Klara decides to go to the party, a decision she soon regrets. Not least when she learns her name was put inside parenthesis on the guest list. She and María strengthen their friendship and unite with Halldóra (another friend of  Klara). Halldóra confines in them that she’s a lesbian. Subsequently Klara starts evaluating her own emotions and sexual orientation.

At her grandmother’s place a family secret is being unveiled. The story of Ingimar, Klara’s great uncle (her grandmother’s brother) that was deemed an oddball by the community. He drowned in 1959 when going out to sea during a storm on a small boat by himself. He had been an inventor and did research on diverse topics that his peers found both irrelevant and eccentric. After his death his diaries and research material was taken and deliberately destroyed in a fire. There is a cloud of suspicion hanging over the family’s involvement in these events. Klara arranges for her great aunt, Hallbera to return from the US. She’s raunchy and unconventional and before Klara knows it, she finds herself with her (and their accomplices) at the cemetery in the middle of the night digging up family secrets.