The 9th Meeting Point – Vilnius focuses on debut directors and innovative marketing strategies
by Vassilis Economou
- The 23rd Vilnius IFF’s industry conference will host 23 European debut film projects and a series of fine-tuned discussions with film experts focusing on emerging filmmakers
The 23rd Vilnius International Film Festival Kino Pavasaris (15-29 March) is organising the ninth edition of its industry conference, Meeting Point – Vilnius (MPV), which will run from 27-29 March. Set to welcome more than 300 international guests this year, MPV is the leading film-industry event in Lithuania and one of the most important meet-ups in Eastern Europe.
Regarding this year’s MPV, Rita Stanelytė, head of industry, stated to Cineuropa: “One of the main topics that we focus on during Meeting Point - Vilnius is marketing and film promotion, whereas, to my mind, this has been omitted in our part of Europe. Therefore, during the workshops, discussion panels and one-on-one meetings, we want to fill in the practical information gap, inasmuch as we want to foster innovative attitudes towards filmmaking, the distribution of debut films and the entrepreneurial skills of the young filmmakers. At its ninth edition, as every year, MPV is focusing on debut filmmakers from the whole of Europe.”
Dedicated to Lithuanian professionals, the first day, or Zero Day, will, through a series of panel discussions, focus on the production of quality TV series, the distribution of Lithuanian films and the #MeToo movement in the local film industry. Furthermore, on the second day, MPV will showcase 14 Lithuanian film projects by established filmmakers, which are currently in production, including Mantas Kvedaravičius’ (Mariupolis [+see also:
interview: Mantas Kvedaravicius
film profile]) debut work of fiction (see the news), Ivan Tverdovsky’s (Zoology [+see also:
interview: Ivan I Tverdovsky
film profile]) third feature (see the news), the new films by locals Ignas Jonynas (The Gambler [+see also:
interview: Ignas Jonynas
film profile]) and Lina Lužytė (Together For Ever [+see also:
film profile]), and the new documentaries by Latvia’s Laila Pakalnina (Dawn [+see also:
film profile]) and Giedrė Žickytė.
MPV’s international section also starts on the second day, when, apart from the famous Morning Run in Vilnius, industry experts Xavier Henry-Rashid (Film Republic) and Wendy Bernfeld (The Rights Stuff) will focus on new sales models and digital content licencing, respectively, while Danish marketing guru Cristian Have (Have Communications) will present strategies on film promotion. The conference talks will continue the next day with festival strategist Kathleen McInnis (See-Through Films) offering insightful suggestions to emerging filmmakers regarding their festival participation. Furthermore, film finance expert Linda Beath of Ideal Filmworks will map out the challenges of the Digital Single Market and the relevant new business models.
On the third and final day, MPV’s Coming Soon Session (29 March) will present 23 European film projects (both fictions and documentaries) by debutant filmmakers, which are currently in post-production, to a curated audience of film professionals, aiming to launch their careers on the festival circuit. Three of the projects will also be selected to participate in the Vilnius Goes to Cannes industry works-in-progress screening, held during the 2018 Cannes Film Market.
Starting with host country Lithuania, eight projects have been selected that vary enormously in terms of their genre and topics. They include the historical psychological drama Isaac by Jurgis Matulevičius, Summer Survivors [+see also:
film profile], an ironic road movie written and directed by Marija Kavtaradzė, The Mules by well-known journalist Martynas Starkus, and the documentary feature Nijole by Italian director Sandro Bozzolo, on the Colombian philosopher and politician of Lithuanian descent Antanas Mockus and his mother, Nijolė Šivickas.
Neighbouring countries also have a strong presence in the Coming Soon Session. Latvia is represented by two film projects, EVA by Kristians Riekstins and the creative movie Under the Upturned Moon by Kārlis Lesiņš. Likewise, Belarus is contributing two projects: Crystal Swan [+see also:
film profile] by Darya Zhuk, a co-production with Germany and USA, depicts the story of an eager DJ, while Liubou Ziamtsova’s documentary Artyom's Upbringing follows the problems at an orphanage and was selected as a guest participant in the Bel:Cinema industry days of the Minsk International Film Festival. Poland will also have two projects, the dramatic The End of the Valley of Tears by Jarosław Wszędybył and Wood Grouse and the Mystery of Vanishing Windows by Wojciech Solarz. Finally, Russia today is a Russian-German political documentary about Kaliningrad, by Annegret Sachse.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are also well represented with three film projects, By a Sharp Knife by Teodor Kuhn, Domestique [+see also:
interview: Adam Sedlák
film profile] by Adam Sedlák and Japan by Pavel Ruzyak. The Balkans include the emotionally charged drama AVA by Kosovar director Lendita Zeqiraj, the Macedonian co-production with Kosovo and Albania Unforgettable Spring in Forgotten Village by Kushtrim Bekteshi, and the documentary Bruce Lee and the Outlaw [+see also:
film profile], which was shot over six years in Bucharest by Dutch documentarian Joost Vandebrug. The selection is rounded off by two historical film projects, Stalin Today by Ketevan Nozadze (Georgia) and The Raid by Sergey Lysenko (Ukraine).
Below are the 23 projects selected to take part in the 2018 Coming Soon Session:
Artyom's Upbringing – Liubou Ziamtsova (Belarus) – guest project
AGA – Lendita Zeqiraj
Producer: Bujar Kabashi (Kosovo)
By a Sharp Knife – Teodor Kuhn
Producer: Jakub Viktorin (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Crystal Swan – Darya Zhuk (Belarus/Germany/USA)
EVA – Kristians Riekstins
Producer: Gints Grube (Latvia)
Gentle Warriors – Marija Stonytė
Producers: Giedrė Žickyte (Lithuania)
In Praise of Action – Aistė Jauraitė, Skaistė Jauraitė (Lithuania)
Isaac – Jurgis Matulevičius
Producer: Stasys Baltakis (Lithuania)
Japan – Pavel Ruzyak (Czech Republic)
Motherland – Tomas Vengris
Producer: Uljana Kim (Lithuania)
Nijole – Sandro Bozzolo
Producer: Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė (Lithuania)
Russia today – Annegret Sachse (Germany/Russia)
Sasha Was Here – Ernestas Jankauskas
Producer: Gabija Siurbytė (Lithuania)
Stalin Today – Ketevan Nozadze (Georgia)
The End of the Valley of Tears – Jarosław Wszędybył
Producer: Przemysław Miękinia (Poland/Romania)
The Mules – Martynas Starkus
Producer: Juliana Miliut (Lithuania)
The Raid – Sergei Lysenko
Producer: Andrii Granytsia (Ukraine)
Under the Upturned Moon – Kārlis Lesiņš
Producer: Dominiks Jarmakovičs (Latvia)
Unforgettable Spring in Forgotten Village – Kushtrim Bekteshi
Producer: Sasho Pavlovski (Macedonia/Albania/Kosovo)
Wood Grouse and the Mystery of Vanishing Windows – Wojciech Solarz
Producer: Dominika Stecyk (Poland)
MPV is organised together with the Lithuanian Film Center, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Creative Europe Media Desk Lithuania, the Audiovisual Authors Producers Rights Association (AVAKA), the Danish Cultural Institute, Baltic View, Noir Lumiere and Vilnius Film Cluster.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.