Back 2024.05.14

The third season of Baltic Women in Film Mentorship program strengthens the community in the audiovisual industries

The mentorship program “Baltic Women in Film Mentorship” has successfully completed its third season, which started in autumn of 2023 and ended in spring of 2024. 14 mentees from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia participated in the program and successful program outcomes include submitted funding applications, projects in development as well as the ability to strengthen the Baltic audiovisual community.


Progress of the program and international events

The mentorship program was open to women under the age of 30, who wanted an opportunity to be mentored by industry experts and encouraged to develop their professional skills, competences and create new audiovisual projects. The first event took place during Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF), where Saulius Alksnis, an expert in career development and mentorship topics, introduced the participants to the principles of mentorship and helped mentees to set their goals for the rest of the program. 

In-person meetings with mentors and other mentees took place during industry events of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Vilnius Short Film Festival as well. The mentorship program also included workshops on relevant topics, such as an intimacy coordination workshop with lecturer, director and intimacy coordinator Irma Pužauskaite (Lithuania), who gave an insight into why intimacy coordination should be a necessity, not a luxury in each filming, as well as a workshop for mentees and mentors on mental health in the film industry with Rebecca Day,  psychotherapist and founder of Film In Mind (United Kingdom).

The last in-person meeting was held during the “Meeting Point – Vilnius” event and it was a workshop consisting of three sessions with Swedish producer Helene Granqvist and Danish screenwriter Valeria Richter. During the workshop, mentees learned about self-pitching techniques and how to make their presentations authentic and individual. “They showed us the importance of recognizing the negative influences that hinder progress and taught us how to understand ourselves, our motivations, and how to effectively pursue our goals,” said mentee Melānija Gulbe, who is a producer from Latvia.

Networking and on-going projects

Most of the mentees and mentors not only have discovered professional similarities, but also personal ones. Estonian director and mentee Alesja Suzdaltseva was particularly pleased with her mentor Lithuanian film director Kristina Buožytė as they discovered many similarities in their working styles and interest in producing, while also directing.

Lithuanian screenwriter and filmmaker Rugilė Pranculytė, together with the help of her mentor Lithuanian producer Rūta Petronytė, has submitted a funding application to the Lithuanian Film Centre to fund the post-production of her film, while filmmaker and curator Martyna Ratnik has joined the team of the same non-governmental organization “Meno avilys”, where her mentor Lithuanian film curator Ona Kotryna Dikavičiūtė works. 

Estonian screenwriter Heneliis Notton made a long-lasting contact with her mentor Latvian director Marta Elīna Martinsons in a form of future collaborations, also, she was pleased that the program has helped her rediscover the identity of the Baltics and strengthen the community of professionals in the film and television industries. Mentor and film producer Justė Michailinaitė had a lot of purposeful meetings with her mentee Estonian producer Inger Põder: “My mentee was getting ready to film her first short film, that is why we talked a lot about process of preparation, including mental one as well”.

Organization of the “Baltic Women in Film Mentorship” program

„Baltic Women in Film Mentorship“ is the first mentorship program exclusively for women in film and TV industries of the Baltic states. The duration of the program was seven months (October 2023 – April 2024). The mentorship program is organized by Lithuanian short film agency “Lithuanian Shorts” and “Women in Film & Television Lithuania” association, in partnership with Riga International Film Festival (Latvia), Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia), “Meeting Point – Vilnius” (Lithuania), and the European Women Audiovisual Network (EWA, Belgium). The funding was granted by the Nordic cultural institute “Nordic Culture Point”, the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture.