Baltic Pitching Forum 2021 Winners Announced
The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius saw some of the brightest stars in Baltic and Nordic filmmaking come together with leading industry professionals for the Baltic Pitching Forum (BPF), which ran between October 7-9 2021.
The event saw projects pitched by participants from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and this year’s guest country Sweden. These projects were pitched live (with opportunities for industry professionals to also watch online) in front of two panels of film professionals who bestowed awards on some of the BPF participants at an award ceremony held on Saturday night.
Schrödinger, from Estonian director Sergei Kibus and producer Kadriann Kibus, was the winner of participant rights at the European Short Film Co-production Forum Euro Connection, which is a part of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France, which will be held in February 2022. The wildly ambitious animation project deconstructs quantum physics to deliver an engaging tale of acceptance as it tells the story of a cat named Schrödinger who leads a carefree life with his human. But one day, an incident will change the nature and perception of his existence completely.
On receiving the award, director Sergei Kibus said: “I want to thank everyone for your support. It was really special to be here and share the energy, creativity and passion with other creators. I will always remember this moment!”
Latvian Fiction project A Crack, from director Ieva Norvele and producer Aija Bērziņa received an invite to Torino Short Film Market and its Pitching Session “You Only Pitch Twice,” which will take place in December 2021. When a large crack appears on the walls of a typical tenement building in Latvia, a house meeting is called and the tensions rife within the residents are soon laid bare for all to see. An intensely personal story, the film is an examination of the divides that are still apparent in not only Latvian society, but in the world as whole. Norvele said: “This award encourages us to continue and keep going.”
A special mention went to Swedish director and producer Linn Markussen for her project Yellow Grass. The film is suffused with an air of the strange, the surreal and the satirical as it tells the story of a woman named Charlotte who starts an affair with a man that strangely looks identical to her husband.
These winners were selected by the BPF Panel members Massimo D’orzi (director, writer and producer, representative of Torino Short Film Market, Italy), Laurent Crouzeix (coordinator of Euro Connection, Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Market, France), Ben Vandendaele (producer, sales agent and distributor, founder of Bekke Films and Radiator IP Sales, Belgium), Emilie Dubois (producer, Insolence Productions, France) and Sari Volanen (TV commissioning editor at Yle TV, Finland).
The Baltic Producers Jury MEDIA Award – initiated by the Creative Europe offices in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and coming with a 1000 EUR cash prize – went to Estonian project Weight of Light by director Anna Hints and producer Evelin Penttilä. The award was given for their high quality presentation and their willingness to touch upon a challenging topic with a project about a teenage rag-picker girl who secretly documents the world of poverty and patriarchy she lives in with a discarded photo camera she found in a vast garbage dump yard of Delhi.
Hints said: “It has been an amazing experience to be here with all of you and I think we all are winners”.
A special mention went to the project Reminiscence by Lithuanian director Kristijonas Dirsė which, according to the jury, has the potential to be developed into a strong film with a unique grasp of the short film form.The film follows a dying couple, with one of them suffering from dementia. But as she retreats to the past, secrets will be dredged up.
This year’s Baltic Producers Jury was made up of Andreas Kask (Estonia), Ieva Ūbele (Latvia) and Marija Razgutė (Lithuania).
Rimantė Daugėlaitė-Cegelskienė, Head of the Baltic Pitching Forum and Lithuanian Shorts said:
“It was an emotional year with many of the participants – even as we observed strict health protocols – experiencing talking to people face to face again. The joy of togetherness combined with the excellent projects and supportive industry, reinforced why the Baltic Pitching Forum has become such a renowned event across the global industry.”
This year’s BPF programme also included public events by renowned professionals: “Go Out and Pitch!” by pitching expert Gabriele Brunnenmeyer, “MEDIA 2021-2027: What’s in there for shorts?” by the Head of MEDIA Office at Creative Europe Desk Lithuania Austėja Milvydaitė, “Short Film Sales and Distribution Mechanisms” by top short films sales agent Ben Vandendaele, panel discussion “Anatomy of Festival Programming – the Nordic and Baltic Landscape” by representatives of said regions short film festivals and organised by the Nordic-Baltic Shorts Network and a BPF Alumni screening together with a Q&A session.
The 10th Baltic Pitching Forum will take place on October 6-8, 2022.
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 International Film Festival Black Nights) and Estonian Short Film Center ShortEst. It is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Lithuanian Film Center, Sweden-Lithuania Cooperation Fund and Audiovisual Works Copyright Association “AVAKA”, Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture. Partners – Nordisk Panorama Market, Uppsala Short Film Festival, Swedish Film Institute, Creative Europe Desk MEDIA Offices in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.