20 projects have been selected for the Co-Production Market taking place on November 29-December 1, 2017, at Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event during Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. The 16 projects in the main selection are accompanied by two projects from Focus Region Flanders, Belgium, and two additional projects in the pilot First Stop Estonia section.
For its 16th edition, the Baltic Event rules and regulations were changed to welcome projects from outside our region of Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine, with projects from elsewhere welcome to apply if they had plans to co-produce with the afore-mentioned territories. The First Stop Estonia section was added to give a couple of Estonian projects visibility in the early stages of development. The Baltic Event team was thrilled at the record number of submissions with Russia and Ukraine sending the most projects per country. While stories of war, both historic and modern, ranging from national epics to aftermaths of the two world wars, continue to be on the minds and slates of European filmmakers, a new trend was revealed in 2017 – numerous projects dealt with the issue of refugees, crossing the borders, families dealing with separation and loss of loved ones in the war-torn territories. In contrast, the Baltic Event experts included modern family dramas and thrillers as well as coming-of-age stories in the selection.
Starting with the most prevalent topic, Lithuania’s Antigone follows a sister’s quest to find her brother, presumed dead, but actually running a “death ship” across the Mediterranean, Ukraine’s Homeward is a road trip taken by a son and father to bury the elder son’s body in home soil in Crimea, Slovak Krystof (Three Escapes), the only historical piece in the section, portrays the plight of a young postulant who has to cross the border to Bavaria after helping countless other people flee the country, and Sweden’s Ibraham’s Journey is a kind of reverse refugee story following a man returning to his native Iraq, told through a series of flashbacks as he, shot for a thief by his own father, lays dying unrecognised by his family.
Russia’s Revnost, Denmark’s If the Light Takes Us, one of the projects selected from this year’s EAVE Producers’ Workshop, and Georgia’s The Empty House all deal with manipulative, obsessive relationships, with the first seeing a couple’s marriage almost destroyed due to unfounded jealousy, the second following a woman’s journey of liberation from an incestuous relationship with her father, and the last showing the domestic violence through the eyes of a 10-year-old child. Finland’s The Great Bear, which was developed at B’EST EAVE Producers’ Workshop in 2015, is another woman’s liberation story with its heroine being seduced by and then becoming a shaman, and Apartment, Russia, is a chamber piece focusing on the relationship of a couple writing a screenplay about love.
Children are the main characters of Ukraine’s The Floor is Lava, the portrait of a teenager exploring her sexuality, Estonia’s The Sleeping Beast, a dark drama of a children’s game taking a dangerous turn, Hope Ever After, another EAVE project and the second from Finland, following the journey of a mother and daughter after the shock death of their husband and father, and one of the focus region projects, The Girl with the Blue Shadow, the coming-of-age story of a young Iranian refugee in Antwerp, told in the key of magic realism.
The other project from Flanders, Belgium, is The Ginger Lake, an allegorical film depicting a world in which all red-haired people are considered evil. Baltic Event’s first ever project from Serbia, Trials of Chul, shows a young North Korean football player and his paranoid manager coping with life in the “corrupt” West, allowing the audience a glimpse into the mind-set of the world’s most isolated society. Romania’s The Windseeker is a different kind of a trip taken by a man expecting to die of a fatal illness and learning to live in the process. Czech Restore Point is a sci-fi crime thriller set in 2038, while Latvia’s The Shift and Estonia’s The Iconpainter, one of the First Stop Estonia projects, are thrillers set in modern times, the first following a taxi driver attempting to make enough money on a New Year’s Eve to pay a long overdue debt, and the other an eccentric artist whose models appear to perish after being portrayed by him. The slate is rounded off by the second First Stop Estonia project, Beyond the Forest, a psychological drama about an Estonian freedom fighter standing on the ruins of his beloved homeland as well as his principles.
Striving to provide a springboard for up-and-coming talents alongside established, award-winning filmmakers, Baltic Event has included ten debuts and five second features in this year’s slate with many of the directors having one or more award-winning shorts under their belt – first features: Nariman Aliev and Kateryna Gornostai (Ukraine), Pieter Dirkx (Belgium), Anna Maria Helgadottir (Iceland, with a project presented by Denmark), Oskaras Koršunovas (Lithuania), Robert Hloz (Czech Republic), Reinis Kalvins (Latvia), Emilia Petterberg (Finland), Rati Tsiteladze (Georgia), and Mihai Sofronea (Romania); second features: Bart Van den Bempt (Belgium), Jan Forsström (Finland), Nigina Sayfullaeva (Russia, originally from Tajikistan), Shaker Tahrer (Sweden, originally from Iraq), and Andrus Tuisk (Estonia). The already renowned names on the slate are Bakur Bakuradze (Georgia), Danilo Bećković (Serbia), Zdenek Jirasky (Czech Republic, with a project presented by Slovakia), Jaak Kilmi and Andres Puustusmaa (Estonia).
A Eurimages Co-Production Development Award worth 20 000 Euro will be handed out by a jury consisting of Katriel Schory, Executive Director, Israel Film Fund, Israel; Kristina Trapp, Chief Executive, EAVE, Luxembourg; and Elena Kotova, National Representative, Eurimages, Czech Republic.
In addition, one project will receive the Screen International Best Pitch Award, offering coverage of the life-cycle of the winning film, and two producers will receive the Cannes Marché du Film Producers’ Network Award for Promising Young Producer with free accreditations to next year’s edition.
Baltic Event Co-Production Market selection 2017:
- Antigone, producer Stasys Baltakis, Film Jam, Lithuania, director Oskaras Koršunovas
- Apartment, producer Julia Mishkinene, Vita Aktiva Production, Russia, director Bakur Bakuradze
- The Empty House, producer Nino Varsimashvili, Artway Film, Georgia, director Rati Tsiteladze
- The Floor is Lava, producers Natalia Libet and Vitaliy Sheremetiev, Esse Production House, Ukraine, director Kateryna Gornostai
- The Great Bear, producers Kaarle Aho and Kai Nordberg, Making Movies Oy, Finland, director Jan Forsström
- Homeward, producers Vladimir Yatsenko and Aleksandra Kostina, Limelite, Ukraine, director Nariman Aliev
- Hope Ever After, producer Ari Matikainen, Kinocompany, Finland, director Emilia Petterberg
- Ibraham’s Journey, producer Peter Krupenin, Hob AB, Sweden, director Shaker Tahrer
- If the Light Takes Us, producer Per Damgaard Hansen, Masterplan Pictures, Denmark , director Anna Maria Helgadottir
- Krystof (Three Escapes), producer Marian Urban, Alef Film & Media, Slovakia, co-producer Olga Raitoralova, Fulfilm, Czech Republic, director Zdenek Jirasky
- Restore Point, producer Jan Kallista, Film Kolektiv, Czech Republic, director Robert Hloz
- Revnost, producer Pavel Odynin, Droog Drooga, Russia, director Nigina Sayfullaeva
- The Shift, producer Gints Grube, Mistrus Media, Latvia, director Reinis Kalvins
- The Sleeping Beast, producer Evelin Penttilä, Stellar Film, Estonia, director Jaak Kilmi
- Trials of Chul, producer Marko Paljić, Mali Budo Ltd., Serbia, director Danilo Beckovic
- The Windseeker, producer Adina Dulcu, Libra Film Productions, Romania, director Mihai Sofronea
Focus Region – Flanders, Belgium
- Ginger Lake, producer Bram Sterckx, Caviar, Belgium, director Pieter Dirkx
- The Girl with the Blue Shadow, producer Ellen De Waele, Serendipity Films, Belgium, director Bart Van Den Bempt
First Stop Estonia
- Beyond the Forest, producer Marju Lepp, Filmivabrik, Estonia, director Andrus Tuisk
- The Iconpainter, producer Esko Rips, Nafta Films, Estonia, director Andres Puustusmaa
Supporters and partners of Baltic Event are Creative Europe MEDIA Programme, Eurimages, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Film Institute, Lithuanian Film Center, National Film Centre of Latvia, Finnish Film Foundation, Flanders Image, Film Commission Poland, Mazovia Warsaw Film Commission, Tallink Hotels, Nordic Hotel Forum, Cannes Marche du Film’s Producers’ Network, Post Control, Baltic View, Apollo Music, Storytek Creative Hub, EAVE, Torino Film Lab, Screen International, Film New Europe, Festival Scope, Liviko, Creative Gate, European Regional Development Fund, and Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.