24 projects to participate in Baltic Sea Docs 2023

  • 2023-07-18

Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (Baltic Sea Docs) has finalized the project selection for its 27th edition, scheduled to take place on September 3-10. As the leading documentary pitching event in the Baltic countries, Baltic Sea Docs focuses on projects from the wider Baltic Sea region, Eastern Europe, and Caucasus. The selection includes 20 projects to be presented in Riga for the first time and four projects in the forum's new “Coming Soon” session, featuring projects in the post-production stage that have previously been pitched at other Baltic Sea Docs editions. The 24 selected projects represent film studios from 11 countries, including Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, Estonia, and Georgia.

“This year, Baltic Sea Docs will offer a broader programme of industry activities. We are pleased to follow up on and promote several projects from previous editions that are now approaching their premieres, and to encourage further strengthening of ties between Baltic and other European producers. 

As always, great attention is given to documentaries from the Baltic countries in the selection of Baltic Sea Docs projects. We also note numerous strong submissions from Ukraine this year, reflecting the filmmakers' sensitive approach to current events in the country after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Using different cinematic approaches, these projects explore various topics including direct experiences of war (Another Man's Diary), the impact of warfare on the environment (Divia), imprint on the fate of people (Eros and Thanatos), and the significance of film archives as essential memory institutions (Archive. Box#64). Overall, we are delighted to see both experienced and emerging filmmakers among the selected participants,” comments Zane Balčus, the head of Baltic Sea Docs.

The Baltic Sea Docs pitching sessions are scheduled for September 7-8. Prior to the pitch, the new project teams will work on their presentations with a team of international industry experts. This year's tutor team includes experienced documentary film consultant Tue Steen Müller and documentary developer Mikael Opstrup (Denmark), film directors Salomé Jashi (Georgia) and Alisa Kovalenko (Ukraine), film editor Phil Jandaly (Sweden), and producer Simon Kilmurry (USA). 

The projects will be presented to a panel of decision-makers representing TV channels, sales and distribution companies such as BBC (UK), YLE (Finland), NHK (Japan), Rise and Shine (Germany), Lightdox (Switzerland), filmdelights (Austria), Cat&Docs (France), and others. 

This year's event will also host Travelling Docs, an initiative organized by Creative Europe MEDIA desks that offers additional industry activities at a different documentary event each year. “Travelling Docs. Share Your Stories” will be a networking activity aimed to facilitate connections between Baltic and other European documentary producers. Additionally, the Creative Europe MEDIA Desk of Latvia will offer a seminar on the phenomenon of a documentary approach in fiction films. 

Among the 20 new projects participating, two have been invited to Baltic Sea Docs as a result of collaboration with other industry platforms. Project “Divia” (director Dmytro Hreshko), which explores the impact of war and Russian aggression on nature and ecology of Ukraine, was invited from the B2B Doc Visegrad Pitch at East Doc Platform in Prague. “Eros and Thanatos” (director Dmytro Tiazhlov), a project about the creative journey of two unconventional Ukrainian musicians, was selected from the CineDOC-Tbilisi mentoring programme. 

Several projects will receive awards presented by the forum and its partners. The forum will continue its collaboration with Current Time TV, a leading broadcaster focusing on the region, which will present a cash award to one project. Over the next two years, the forum will also present IDFA's Spotlight award, which includes participation, travel, and accommodation for the director who will be invited to IDFA's next edition and participate in a tailored program within the IDFA Industry and training activities. The Baltic Sea Docs award will involve mentoring. The complete list of awards will be announced prior to the start of the event.

The 20 new projects selected for Baltic Sea Docs:

Another Man's Diary | Ukraine    

dir. Olexandr Tkachenko | prod. Illia Gladshtein | Phalanstery Films

Archive. Box#64 | Ukraine

dir. Eva Dzhyshyashvili | prod. Natalia Libet | 2Brave Productions

Artworks in Agony | Latvia / Lithuania

dir. Elizabete Gricmane, Ramune Rakauskaite | prod. Uldis Cekulis, Paula Jansone, Arunas Matelis | VFS Films / Studio Nominum

Brothers in the Hunt | Latvia

dir. Ieva Ozolina | prod. Madara Melberga | Fa Filma

Cecilia's Project | Poland / Sweden

dir. Edward Porembny | prod. Edward Porembny, Magnus Paulsson | AMP Polska Edward Porembny / Solid Entertainment AB

Divia | Ukraine / Poland

dir. Dmytro Hreshko | prod. Polina Herman, Glib Lukianets | UP UA STUDIO / Gogol Film

Eros and Thanatos | Ukraine

dir. Dmytro Tiazhlov | prod. Ella Shtyka | Indie Media Polis

The First Swallow | Georgia    

dir. Joanna Roj, Sandro Wysocki | prod. Glib Lukianets | Gogol Film

House of Ants | Poland

dir. Katarzyna Kultys | prod. Adam Ślesicki | FILM FRAME

How to Talk to Lydia? | Germany / Moldova

dir. Rusudan Gaprindashvili | prod. Hans Gralke, Anna Dziapshipa | Black Market Film Production / Sakdoc

In the Winds of the Icefields (wt) | Estonia

dir. Mihkel Oksmann | prod. Hõbe Ilus | Sui

The Misfit | Finland

dir. Miikka Poutiainen | prod. Miikka Poutiainen, Sami Salminen | PinkAgency Productions

Once We Were Heroes | Finland

dir. Oliwia Tonteri | prod. Aino Halonen, Kamil Skałkowski | production company Kompot Ltd / Kalejdoskop Film

Sacrum and Profanum in Pievenai | Lithuania

dir. Giedrė Beinoriūtė | prod. Jurga Gluskinienė | Monoklis

Totem | Estonia

dir./prod. Birgit Rosenberg | Door 2 Production

Vanessa (wt) | Sweden

dir. Åsa Ekman, Martina Iverus, Oscar Hedin | prod. Marina-Evelina Cracana, Oscar Hedin | Film and Tell

Voice/Over | Czechia 

dir. Bálint Révész | prod. Radovan Síbrt, Viki Réka Kiss | PINK

War in Chornobyl | Ukraine

dir. Oleksiy Radynski | prod. Lyuba Knorozok | Kinotron Group

We Are the Granddaughters Of The Witches You Couldn’t Burn (wt) | Georgia

dir. Mariam Chachia | prod. Sophio Bendiashvili | OpyoDoc / Enkeny Films

Yalla Yalla | Lithuania

dir. Mindaugas Survila | prod. Giedrė Žickytė | Moonmakers

Projects at the Coming Soon session:

If Everyone Just Leaves | Sweden

dir. Karin Wegsjö, Nazira Abzalova | prod. Karin Wegsjö | KW produktion ab

Podnieks on Podnieks. Witness of History | Latvia

dir. Antra Cilinska, Anna Viduleja | prod. Antra Cilinska | Juris Podnieks Studio

Up In the Air | Ukraine

dir., prod. Oksana Syhareva | Private entrepreneur Syhareva Oksana

When Harmattan Blows | Poland

dir., prod. Edyta Wróblewska | SK Film Studio

Established in 1997 in Denmark, Baltic Sea Docs has been held in Riga since 2006. Every year the forum gathers around 150 documentary film professionals from over 20 countries and serves as an important meeting hub for documentary filmmakers from the countries of the Baltic sea region, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and beyond. 

Baltic Sea Docs is organized by the National Film Centre of Latvia and supported by the Creative Europe MEDIA programme, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia and Limbaži district municipality. More information about the selected film projects and the event is available on the Baltic Sea Docs website: http://balticseadocs.lv/industry/