Baltic Shorts Residency

BALTIC SHORTS RESIDENCY is a three-week intensive short film script development residency program dedicated to the filmmakers from the Baltic countries who are willing to dive deep into the writing process along with the professional consultations. Its purpose is to give selected scriptwriters or directors the opportunity to develop a new short film script with the help of scriptwriting consultant Anna Ciennik while staying at the remote Lithuanian town Kintai. After the residency program participants are committed to apply to the newest edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum.

Eligible applicants – Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian film directors and scriptwriters who have finished at least one short film project and are developing a new project (not TV series) that is fiction/animation up to 30 minutes and aimed at an international audience.

The 6th edition of BALTIC SHORTS RESIDENCY will take place on 1-21 June 2024, in Kintai (Klaipėda region, Lithuania). 


The Open Call to the 6th edition of Baltic Shorts Residency was closed.


“Lithuanian Shorts” is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture. Project is sponsored by Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture.

Partners: Kintai Arts, PÖFF Shorts | Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Riga International Film Festival, Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS and Latvian Animation Association.

Script consultant - Anna Ciennik

Anna Ciennik is a French Polish script consultant based in Paris with a strong knowledge of the industry. She works for Ikusmira Berriak Residency, La Résidence du Festival de Cannes, Locarno Residency, Open Doors, Torino Film Lab, Cinemart, European Short Pitch, among others. Her credits include Clara Sola by Nathalie Álvares Mesén (Director’s Fortnight 2021) and Amparo by Simón Mesa Soto (Cannes Critics’ Week 2021). She has been the Industry Village Manager of Les Arcs Films Festival and curated five of its coproduction event editions between 2017 and 2021. Anna is a member of the Collectif 5050.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2019

Over more than 30 applications were submitted to the first edition of Baltic Shorts Residency. Selected was Estonian fiction film  project “The Lesson” (new title – “Jungle. Law”) written and directed by Madli Lääne.

A story of the project is based on the real facts happened in Estonia few years ago. It will talk about a group of teenagers and their humiliating behaviour toward young innocent girl. “I am interested in the borderline moments, where the situation gets out of the hands of the teenagers, mainly because of their lack of the life experience and self confidence,” – said Madli Lääne.

The “Baltic Shorts Residency” took place on June 3-21 at “Kintai Arts” artspace (Lithuania). During three-weeks residency period Madli Lääne had script consultations – several online sessions and one intensive script workshop at the residency location – with the creative advisor Wim Vanacker.

M. Lääne project Jungle.Law has already featured in many pitching sessions and industry events such as the 2019 Baltic Pitching Forum and MIDPOINT Shorts.

Read the interview with M. Lääne about her experience in the Baltic Shorts Residency here.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2020

Three Baltic filmmakers were selected to participate at the 2nd edition of Baltic Shorts Residency. Filmmaker from Latvia Raitis Abele (project “Tool”), Lithuanian emerging film director Jorūnė Greičiūtė (project “The Trip”) and Estonian scriptwriter Jaanika Arum (project “Skin of a Mandarin”) were chosen over more than 30 received applications. Baltic Shorts Residency 2020 took place on 1-19 of June in Kintai (Lithuania). Selected participants had online script consultations with creative advisor Wim Vanacker. 

Latvian filmmaker Raitis Abele was selected for his short animation project “Tool” which tells a mysterious story moving the viewers to the 16th-18th centuries and Latvian lands — Courland’s Duke Gotthard brings a box with a secret plant that is thought to have therapeutic powers to treat infertility. It is planned to use a mix of 2D, classical animation and rotoscoping techniques in the production of Raitis’ short film. R. Abele has studied filmmaking at New York Film Academy and also obtained Master’s degree as a clinical psychologist at University of Latvia. Mostly he works together with his brothers Lauris Abele (also a director) and Marcis Abele (d.o.p.) as a trio. Most recent works are historical docudrama “Baltic Tribes | Last Pagans of Europe” and psychedelic cinema trip a dramedy “Troubled Minds” (to be released late 2020).

An emerging film director from Lithuania Jorūnė Greičiūtė came to the residency with the short fiction project “The Trip”. It tells a story about a young couple traveling the foreign roads to a seminar of a famous relationship guru but suddenly after a night in the middle of nowhere their car disappears. J. Greičiūtė studied Philosophy at Vilnius University from 2009 to 2013. After these studies Jorūnė started working in the film industry on various international and Lithuanian projects as a costume continuity person. From 2016 she started working as a script supervisor and in 2018 started MA studies in Film Directing at Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre.

Estonian scriptwriter Jaanika Arum passed the selection applying with a short film project “Skin of a Mandarin”. It is a sensitive story about ingrained traditions and beliefs through a world of a young Orthodox woman, whose mother has freshly passed away. Jannika Arum graduated Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre as an actress. She has a variety of experiences playing both, in films and theatres. For a wider audience she is mostly known for her work in films: “Free Range” by Veiko Õunpuu, “Polarboy” by Anu Aun, “Days that confused” by Triin Ruumet. She has also created two solo performances: “Falling. Together. Moment” (Tartu New Theatre, 2015), “Betweenspace” (Von Krahl, 2017). She has collaborated with different international and local artists for video and room installations.

Two projects – “The Tool” by Raitis Abele and “Skin of a Mandarin” by Jaanika Aarum – were selected for the 8th edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum that took place on 7-9 October 2020 virtually. Jaanika Aarum was awarded the EURO CONNECTION prize – participant rights at the European Coproduction forum EURO CONNECTION 2021.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2021

“Baltic Shorts Residency 2021” welcomed three participants: film director from Lithuania Akvilė Gelažiūtė (project “2.2 Atmospheres or Medium Pressure”), Estonian director and scriptwriter Juri Krutii (project “Side Hesitation”) and Latvian filmmaker Žanete Skarule (project “Big Loop – Small Loop”)

Lithuanian fiction and documentary film director Akvilė Gelažiūtė was selected for the “Baltic Shorts Residency” for her short fiction project “2.2 Atmospheres or Medium Pressure”. The story revolves around the main protagonist Gabija – whilst she and her boyfriend can’t decide whether to buy a male or female puppy, the girl is suddenly invited to return home because of the death of a distant relative. This journey starts to reveal why this choice is so difficult to make. A. Gelažiūtė is a doctoral student of Film Directing at Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy. Her feature documentary “Deminas: The Two Towers” (2015) won as The Best Student Movie of the year at Lithuanian National Film Awards “Silver Crane”. Currently, she is working as a lecturer of Media Production in VilniusTech University and doing artistic research on the topic “Absurd Humor Strategies in Cinema”.

An emerging film director and scriptwriter from Estonia Juri Krutii will come to the residency with the short fiction project “Side Hesitation”. “Side Hesitation” is an unnoticeable yet complex move used in ballroom dancing’s staple dance routine of waltz. The story follows a young teen Madis and his struggle with jealousy and own sexual awakening in the setting of competitive ballroom dancing. As his confusion escalates, he finds himself cornered and makes decisions that puts everything he loves on the line. J. Krutii’s film background takes root in film studies and has then developed in practice resulting with an MFA in writing/directing from Screen Academy of Scotland as well as the UK-wide well received debut short “Eudaimonia” (2018). Heavily influenced by theory and cinema of immersion, Juri strives to create culturally relevant and visually compelling work.

Latvian filmmaker Žanete Skarule passed the selection of this year’s “Baltic Shorts Residency” applying with a short film project “Big Loop – Small Loop”. It is a sensitive story about a freshman architecture student Pauls who has discovered feelings for his professor Kalns, yet 1970s Soviet Union is a complicated background for this relationship. Over the years, Ž. Skarule has worked in film production in New York and Los Angeles, where she also graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in film directing. Žanete works with different genres and techniques – fiction, documentary, experimental, and installation – using both analog and digital mediums. Her debut award-winning documentary “Flying Monks Temple” (2017) tells a story of a utopian architectural object created for flying performances at the top of sacred Songshan mountain in China. Besides filmmaking, Žanete is involved in art and film curation.

“Big Loop – Small Loop” was selected for the 9th edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum that took place on 7-9 October 2021.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2022

For the forth edition of Baltic short film script development residency “Baltic Shorts Residency” three short film projects from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were chosen from almost 30 received applications. The selected participants — a film director from Lithuania Klaudija Matvejevaitė-Duškina (project “Clay”), Latvian filmmaker Tīna Zariņa (project “LIMO”) and Estonian animator Sander Joon  (project “Offside”) will be developing their scripts for three weeks on 1-19 June in Lithuanian town Kintai.

An emerging film director from Lithuania Klaudija Matvejevaitė-Duškina will come to the residency with the short fiction project Clay, which analyses a single, elderly and extremely introverted woman’s brush with the spiritual world. MatvejevaitėDuškina was focused on fine arts for 12 years before graduating from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in filmmaking. Her previous short films have been showcased in both national and international film festivals. In 2018, her short film The Last Day was recognised as the Lithuanian short film that had travelled to the largest number of film festivals during the calendar year.

Latvian filmmaker Tīna Zariņa was selected for the residency with her short film project LIMO, an analysis of a near dystopian future in which a limousine driver has to synchronize his mind with a limousine’s artificial intelligence. Zariņa completed her studies in the directing department at the Latvian Academy of Culture, National Film School. Her short films have gained recognition at local and European film festivals. Currently engaged in music video production, Tīna has also studied analog photography and contemporary photography.

Renowned Estonian animation director Sander Joon passed the selection of this year’s “Baltic Shorts Residency” applying with a short film project Offside. It is a project analyzing prejudice and the abuse of power as a football referee’s fear of dogs is realized when the players participating in the competition turn into playful werewolves. Joon has previously directed four films which travelled to festivals such as Annecy, DOK Leipzig, Ottawa, Go Short, Stuttgart, Fredrikstad, Kaboom, Supertoon, Animateka, and GLAS. His most recent work Sierra premiered at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and has won awards from Filmfest Dresden, San Francisco IFF, 2ANNAS, Glasgow IFF, and GLAS. Sander Joon is currently teaching traditional animation at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Two projects developed at the Residency – Latvian director’s Tīna Zariņa’s project LIMO and Estonian animation director’s Sander Joon’s project OFFSIDE – were selected for the 10th edition of Baltic Pitching Forum.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2023

During Baltic Shorts Residency 2023 Lithuania was represented by the audiovisual artist, filmmaker and photographer Kristijonas Dirsė, who worked on his new short film project OUT. It is a dark and funny Christmas tale about a closeted gay man who becomes invisible the moment he wants to come out to his family. He wanders as a ghost in a world where he never existed. The only person able to see him is his scary Aunt Olga, who might be the key to his confession.

Dirsė studied a BA in Film and Music at Brunel University (London) where he worked on interdisciplinary art projects and festivals with students and lecturers. A psychogeography module taught there by the British novelist and intellectual Will Self had a great influence on his work and exploring the city as a character was the basis of imagery for his multimedia performance “This Order Goes Wrong”. In 2014 he moved to Paris, where he worked as a director and editor, along with completing a master’s in Film Directing at Université Paris 8. After 10 years abroad he returned to Vilnius and is finishing his first Lithuanian short film Reminiscence, which was presented at Baltic Pitching Forum 2021.

Latvian scriptwriter and an upcoming film director Monta Gāgane joined the residency with her new drama/comedy Ainas which tells the story of a young woman going on a trip with boyfriend and his family. Not long after she understands that in order to overcome loneliness, she must walk away from her most romantic and seemingly successful relationship.

Monta Gāgane obtained a BA degree in Philosophy at the University of Latvia and a MA degree in Audio-visual arts: Movie Directing and Producing at the Latvian Academy of Culture. She has also finished practical and theoretical courses in analogue and contemporary photography. She is a co-writer of the 2020 Latvian feature film The Pit which earned numerous plaudits at home and abroad.

The third BSR participant was Spanish born director and computer animator Ernesto Redondo Vergara who has been living in Estonia for more than 10 years. The short fiction film Augmented Dissonance is a dystopian story that touches upon topics such as social immigration that revolves around a xenophobic man who discovers his true self.

Vergara has studied in Spain, Cuba and Estonia and has graduated in Audio Visual Media at Tallinn’s Baltic Film School. He has directed three short fiction films including 2022’s Feetless Shoes which is currently travelling the festival circuit.

Baltic Shorts Residency 2024

This year Lithuania will be represented by emerging director, DoP Martynas Norvaišas, who will develop the script for “Suez” – a hybrid film in which different mediums, ranging from TV news and social networks to conventional film, clash as it follows one person’s yearn to break free from the status quo. The film explores personal stagnation and the desire to escape, told through the prism of world events.

After graduating from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre with a degree in Cinematography (BA) in 2014, Norvaišas began his career as both a camera assistant and a DOP in the film and commercial industries. After finishing an MA in Photography and Media Art at Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, he started an individual creative practice with a primary focus on the ever-changing concept of masculinity. His debut short documentary “I Buy” – which explores consumerism and existentialism – premiered at the Vilnius Film Festival in spring 2024.

Latvian director Jazeps Podnieks will attend the Residency with the script of the fiction short film “Boy With The Whistle”. The film tells the story of fourteen-year-old Janko, who runs away from home after an argument between his parents and embarks on a magical journey. Along the way, Janko faces his own fears and must overcome strange yet magical challenges.

Jazeps Podnieks graduated from the Latvian Academy of Culture’s National Film School in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in film directing. He is passionate about delving into the intersections of documentary, fiction, and experimental cinema, while also embracing unconventional narrative structures. Themes of mysticism and the obscure often permeate his work. In 2022 his film “Tempest” was awarded the Latvian National Film Prize “Lielais Kristaps” as the best short fiction film of the year.

Estonian filmmaker Alesja Suzdaltseva will be working on her short film project “Coronation”. The story, set against the backdrop of Sami traditions, delves into a journey of coming of age, the strength of spirit, and the necessity of making difficult decisions when love confronts fear, and age-old traditions are tested by time.

Alesja Suzdaltseva, an Estonian director and storyteller, is known for her realistic tales set in fantasy worlds. She graduated from the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School as a film director. Her sci-fi short film “The Rise” has won 13 awards and screened at 22 festivals. She’s also directed 5 short films and two full-length documentary TV series in Arctic Norway beyond the Polar Circle. In 2023 Alesja represented Estonia at the Cannes Lions Young Lions Film Competition. Right now she is working as a director at Gorodenkoff Productions.

Project sponsors