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Baltic Shorts are big

Sep 11, 2013
By Laurence Boyce

VILNIUS - The forthcoming Baltic Pitching Forum will see filmmakers from the region build on their artistic and business success over recent years.
Over the past few years short films originating in the Baltics and from Baltic filmmakers have gained an increasing recognition across the world. Filmmakers such as Tanel Toom, the Estonian filmmaker whose short film The Confession was nominated for an Academy Award, and institutions including the Baltic Film and Media School in Tallinn have meant that cinema audiences from across the globe have been able to experience the quality and depth of work coming out of the region. Many of the young filmmakers making shorts now will go on to the new wave of Baltic filmmakers, taking the region’s cinema into new and exciting territories over the coming years.

Yet – despite the successes – getting recognition for both shorts and Baltic filmmakers is still something of an uphill struggle. The forthcoming Baltic Pitching Forum, to be held in Vilnius between Oct. 11-12 this year, will attempt to rectify that.
“The Baltic Short Film Pitching Forum is dedicated for the promotion of the Baltic region, presenting talented filmmakers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia,” explains Rimante Daugelaite, the head of Vilnius Film Shorts, talking exclusively to The Baltic Times. “For a long time there were no specific events or platforms for the presentation of ideas and films from upcoming filmmakers in the Baltics, and it’s essential to create an environment where those talented individuals can not only be seen, but also to thrive.”

The Baltic Pitching Forum is organized by the Lithuanian Short Film Agency “Lithuanian Shorts,” in association with the Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS in Latvia and Student and Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers in Estonia. The two day event will see 9 Baltic filmmakers (3 from each country) take part in training sessions whilst also meeting influential members of the film industry. The participating filmmakers will be chosen by a selection panel from those who have submitted projects, with the submission process due to close in September.

Focusing on such ideas as pitching (i.e. the art of selling the idea of your film to get the money to make it), international co-production and presentation of projects, it’s hoped that bringing people together will help not only spark creativity, but also foster important working relationships amongst the participating filmmakers. Also, with numerous influential film industry professionals taking part, including producers, TV commissioners, film fund representatives, film festivals and film distributors, the event will help the participants gain greater knowledge and visibility.
The forum will also give a prize to the project judged to be the best by the 7 person industry panel attending the event. The winner will receive travel to the 39th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival – considered the ‘Cannes’ of short film festivals – next year.

The ultimate result should be better and more exciting films for audiences across the world. As Daugelaite explains: “The Baltic Pitching Forum is focused on long term partnerships and seeks to show how networking is important. We, as festival organizers, hope to see fresh and exciting short films from the Baltics with a high artistic level which, over the coming years, could equally compete in the European and international film industries. Also, the prize of the Forum will encourage the filmmakers to bring their ideas to the broader film arena and present their new projects to the film producers, TV commissioners, fund representatives, distributors and others.”

She added: “We’re sure that the Baltic Pitching Forum will gain international recognition and prove that the Baltics are an active and creative region that is worthy of investment, both financially and creatively.”

 

Projects for the Baltic Pitching Forum can be submitted until Sept. 6. Go to www.filmshorts.lt/Baltic_Pitching_Forum for all the information.

The Baltic Pitching Forum will take place 11-12th October in Vilnius as part of Vilnius Film Shorts.

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