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CIRCLE goes to Cannes!

We are excited to introduce the four projects by our alumnae to be presented for the fifth year in our CIRCLE Docs-In-Progress Showcase. 

Many thanks to our partners and dear friends from Cannes Docs and Marché du Film! More info about the CIRCLE Docs-in-Progress here.

CIRCLE Showcase at Cannes Docs / Docs-In-Progress will take place on Monday, 20 May, 11:45 - 13:00 at Screening Room Lérins 4, Riviera, Palais de Festival. The Showcase will be viewable online for online badge holders right after the onsite presentation in Cannes (link to be published on official Cannes Docs website on Monday 20 May).

The past editions of the Showcase were marked by great successes: in 2022 “Twice Colonized”, co-written by Lin Alluna and her protagonist, the greenlandic lawyer and activist Aaju Peter, won the Docs-in-Progress Award, premiered at Sundance Film Festival, before opening both CPH:DOX (Copenhagen) and Hot Docs (Toronto) film festivals in 2023.

This year, “Ever Since I Knew Myself” by our alumna Maka Gogaladze received support from IDFA Bertha Fund and celebrated its World premiere at Vision du Reél, while the essay film “XiXi” by Fan Wu premiered in Hot Docs 2024, International Competition, receiving the Emerging International Filmmaker Award.

This year selection will higliht another four talented filmmakers coming from Iran and Germany, Ukraine, Italy and Azerbaijan as stated by Biljana Tutorov, CIRCLE's Program Director, in conversation with Variety.

Discover the CIRCLE Showcase Line-Up:


Directed by: Imam Hasanov (Azerbaijan)

Produced by: Maria Ibrahimova (Cinex Production, Azerbaijan)

Developed through: CIRCLE 2021

Synopsis: Mamed, a determined ex-footballer, adventures in rural Azerbaijan to coach the village's first girls' football team, challenging the deep-seated traditions. Despite hurdles, Mamed and his wife Svetlana strive to form a team, defying societal norms fixated on early marriages. Discovering hope in an orphanage, they recruit Parishan, Fidan, Nahida, Suraya, and Farida, each with a tale of resilience. The film delves into their struggle against patriarchy, showcasing the power of dreams amidst adversity. Against Azerbaijan's ancient allure, the movie embodies courage and unity, resonating with hope in a historically burdened world.


Directed by: Faezeh Nikoozad (Iran, Germany)

Produced by: Julia Cöllen (Funferfilm, Germany)

Developed through: CIRCLE 2023

Synopsis: The filmmaker Faezeh connects to her homeland Iran through her two best friends, also filmmakers - Narges, exiled in Germany for political reasons and Hamideh, unable to leave Iran. Together, they explore the notion of home through the lenses of their cameras, capture dispersed experiences and reveal filmmaking practice as a universal haven providing a sense of comfort across borders. Starting with the archive footage of their final moments together, they seek to reunite fifteen years later amid turmoil, and continue their cinematic dialogue.


Directed by: Polina Kelm (Ukraine)

Produced by: Rok Biček (Cvinger Film, Slovenia)

Developed through: CIRCLE 2022

Synopsis: In a mental health institution in Kyiv, a theater troupe of patients stages a prophetic play, as the full invasion of Ukraine is about to happen. In an endless loop, they rebel against the theatre director Serhiy, but always come back to rehearse with him. The play is never ready for the premiere as if an invisible force stands in the way. Time seems to have stopped, it’s constantly snowing outside the windows and inside the institution - unnatural sounds start filling the air. We begin to understand that the play’s plot is unexpectedly more realistic and large-scale than we thought. Miracles require great faith and work. Dark times are coming and the hospital suddenly becomes the brightest place around. 


Directed by: Alba Zari (Italy)

Produced by: Manuela Buono (Slingshot Films, Italy)

Developed through: CIRCLE 2020

Synopsis: Alba, at 25, discovers Johnny isn't her real father, unraveling a web of family secrets. Her grandmother Rosa fled Trieste in the 80s with her mother Ivana, joining a cult in Bangkok, practicing "Flirty Fishing" for new members. Alba was born there as Jesus Baby, with a brother from another member. After a decade, Rosa fled back to Italy with Ivana and the children. Alba, devoid of cult memories, uncovers her past through research and hints from Rosa and Ivana. Rosa denies her past, becoming a wedding planner, while Ivana, suffering psychiatric issues, struggles with her past. "White Lies" delves into three women's journeys for reconciliation and redemption through Alba's artistic lens.

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