Baltic Event 2017 ends on a high note
by Tristan Priimägi
- Tallinn’s Baltic Event Co-Production Market presented its largest slate to date this year, showcasing 20 projects
The 16th edition of Baltic Event at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival featured 16 projects in the main selection, accompanied by two additional ones from the festival’s focus region, Flanders, and two more in the pilot First Stop Estonia section.
For the first time, Baltic Event decided to welcome projects from outside its usual territories of Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine. The open call for international applications with a plan to co-produce in the aforementioned region failed to bring any players from outside the area through to the final round, but there was a reasonable amount of interest, and suitable applicants were either moved to other sections of the market or encouraged to re-submit next year.
“After implementing the Eurimages monetary prize that we gave out for the third time this year, the number of submissions has grown exponentially,” comments Leana Jalukse, Baltic Event Co-Production Market manager. “This year, a high number of submissions came from the Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine, but we’re continuously working to attract projects from all over our home territories, and hope that more people from outside the region take notice of this opportunity and apply.”
It came as no surprise that a large number of projects dealt with history in one way or another. “We are elated that we have got this wide variety of original, modern, universally understandable stories, and it’s a pleasure to put together a really strong line-up out of those applications. However, many of those stories deal with the immediate or more distant past,” confirms Jalukse. “This year, a distinct sub-theme could also be distinguished – the theme of borders. Borders separating families, illegal border crossings, refugee themes… These stories take place everywhere from Ukraine and Crimea to Iraq.”
Amongst the participants, there were five projects from the Baltics, including Lithuania’s Antigone (by Oskaras Koršunovas), about a sister’s quest for her presumably dead brother, who is running a “death ship” across the Mediterranean; Estonia’s The Sleeping Beast (by Jaak Kilmi), about a children’s game that turns unexpectedly dark; and Latvian director Reinis Kalvins’ thriller The Shift, about a taxi driver trying to work off his debt. Four projects hailed from Scandinavia, including the Eurimages Award winner, The Great Bear by Jan Forsström (see the news), about one woman’s relationship with a shaman and her consequent transformation into one. Russia and Ukraine had two projects selected for the market, and a healthy number of countries like Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Serbia and Georgia were represented by one project each, acting as the main producer.
Baltic Event is the largest international co-production market in North-Eastern Europe. Its aim is to promote up-and-coming talent, provide easy access to the biggest players in the industry, and to bridge co-productions between the East and the West.
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