The eighth edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum (BPF), which took place between 8th and 10th October, came to an end this weekend with successes for projects from all the participating countries. After 12 projects – from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – were pitched to an online audience from across Europe, the Baltic Pitching Forum panel of industry experts and the Baltic Producers’ Jury gave out three main awards.
This year’s BPF Panel consisted of Julie Rousson (member of the International competition selection committee and industry events coordinator, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival), Julie Marnay (Head of European Short Pitch), Cord Dueppe (Head of Sales, interfilm Berlin), Academy Award nominated film director Tanel Toom (Estonia) and Jukka-Pekka Laakso (Director of Tampere Film Festival).
Every year the Panel hands out two awards to two different projects (originating from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) – an invitation to visit Euro Connection, the international co-production forum connected to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and an invitation to the European Short Pitch, a scriptwriting workshop in residency and a co-production forum.
The invitation to participate at the Euro Connection as part of the 43nd Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in February 2021was given to the short fiction project “Skin of a Mandarin” by Jaanika Arum (prod. Tiina Savi) which tells the story of a young woman Anna whose mother has recently passed away.
Tiina Savi, the producer of “Skin of a Mandarin” said:
“We are just overwhelmed with this prize. We considered ourselves already humble winners with just participating because it is such a warm, supporting and friendly environment to share the project.”
Director Eglė Davidavičė and producer Agnė Adomėnė received an invitation to the international scriptwriting workshop and co-production event “European Short Pitch 2021” organized by “Nisi Masa – European Network of Young Cinema” for their short animation project “The One Who Knows”. The film tells a story about an anxious teenager Ūla who one ordinary morning at swimming practice is taken on an unexpected adventure.
The director of the “The One Who Knows”, Eglė Davidavičė said:
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity not only to present my project, but also get to know the creative world of the other filmmakers. I’m happy that the film which explores the themes of beauty, body and self-acceptance seemed to be relevant and needed.”
The Baltic Producers MEDIA Award, a prize of 1000 Euro was awarded to “The Man Who Scooped the Sea” by director and producer Zurab Dzhidzhilava. The mockumentary tells a story about a strange ageless wildman living in the middle of the Curonian Spit. The award was given for the amusing idea and creative approach. The project also received the Special Mention by the BPF Panel.
The Baltic Producers’ Jury gave the Special Mention to the short fiction project “Team Building” by Mateusz Pacewicz (prod. Ludka Kierczak) which focuses on Ada’s first day at her new work.
Pacewicz, the director of the “Team Building” said:
“I’m extremely happy and honored, however I want to stress the fact that this is the prize for the producer of our film – Ludka Kierczak who due to my stormy struggles with internet connection was left alone at the battlefield. She did a spectacular job, crisis management level New Zealand versus Covid-19.”
The Baltic Producers Media Award was initiated by the Creative Europe MEDIA Desks in Estonia. Latvia and Lithuania with an aim to encourage experienced producers to discover emerging talents and share their experience and best practices. This year’s Jury was formed by producers Pille Rünk (Estonia, Allfilm), Antra Cilinska (Latvia, Juris Podnieks Studio), and Gabija Siurbytė (Lithuania, UAB Dansu).
As of last year the BPF decided to expand by inviting a guest country each year. In 2020 the Forum, in partnership with the Polish Film Institute, invited three participants from Poland with the opportunity to pitch their projects alongside the participants from the Baltic States with the guest country projects eligible for the Baltic Producers’ Jury award. With the successful partnership the BPF organisers are looking forward to greeting more guest countries to the Forum’s future editions.
Alongside the pitches, the BPF also organised online lectures by film professionals in the short film industry. Pitching expert Gabriele Brunnenmeyer (Germany), festival programmer and industry events coordinator at Clermont-Ferrand ISFF Julie Rousson (France), distributor at Miyu Distribution Laure Goasguen (France) and film director and winner of BPF 2016 Lizete Upīte (Latvia) shared their insights on short film project development, animated films distribution, festival programming and how to present your project in front of decision-makers.
The BPF has proven again to be an important industry event not only to the Baltic region but the whole European short film community as more than 250 film professionals tuned in to listen to the Open Lectures and Pitching Sessions which, this year, were online due to the current health situation.
Rimantė Daugėlaitė-Cegelskienė, Head of the Baltic Pitching Forum and Lithuanian Shorts said:
“We’re so happy that so many people responded in a positive way to our move online and that we were able to bring the spirit of inclusiveness and sharing of knowledge that makes the Baltic Pitching Forum such a special event. Despite social distancing we all managed to come together and share in some wonderful pitches alongside some invaluable insights into the film industry from our panel and jury. We look forward to coming back together in person in 2021!”
The Baltic Pitching Forum is organised by Lithuanian Short Film Agency “Lithuanian Shorts” in partnership with Riga International Film Festival, Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS, PÖFF Shorts | Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and Estonian Short Film Center | ShortEst. It is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Film Center, Vilnius City Municipality, Polish Film Institute. Partners – Creative Europe Desk MEDIA Offices in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, Polish Animation Producers Association.
The 9th edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum will be held on 7-10 October, 2021.