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How To Save a Dead Friend scoops the Baltic Sea Docs Award


- The 23rd edition of Baltic Sea Docs was brought to a close by the victory of Marusya Syroechkovskaya's project

How To Save a Dead Friend scoops the Baltic Sea Docs Award
One of the pitching sessions on day one of the event (© Baltic Sea Docs/Agnese Zeltiņa)

It's a wrap for the 23rd edition of Riga's Baltic Sea Docs, one of the most prominent European co-financing forums. The event, which this year took place from 3-8 September, comprised a programme of documentary screenings in six Latvian cities, a two-day intensive tutoring session, the two main pitching sessions on Friday and Saturday, and a parallel pitching forum for Russian-language documentaries, organised in co-operation with Artdoc Fest.

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This year, decision-makers Isabel Arrate Fernandez from IDFA Bertha Fund (Netherlands), Christa Auderlitzky from filmdelights (Austria), Aleksandra Derewienko from Cat&Docs (France), Tijana Djukic from Taskovski Films (UK), Margit Balogh from EODocs (Netherlands), Aleksandar Govedarica from Syndicado (Canada), Gitte Hansen from First Hand Films (Switzerland), Agnė Biliūnaitė from LRT (Lithuania), Neraida Cukali from RTSH (Albania), Karlo Funk from ERR (Estonia), Jo Lapping from the BBC (UK), Liene Kalnaella from LTV (Latvia), Anas Khelawy from Al Jazeera (Qatar), Ulrich Brochhagen from MDR (Germany), Hidetoshi Nakamoto from NHK (Japan), Lars Säfström from SVT (Sweden), Markéta Štinglová from Czech Television, Sergei Trofimov from Current Time TV (USA) and Jenny Westergard from YLE (Finland) were invited to the forum.

The first day of pitching was opened by a brief speech by Zane Balčus, the project manager of the event (see the interview), followed by a presentation of the decision-makers by veteran Danish documentary consultants Mikael Opstrup and Tue Steen Müller, who also acted as moderators during the debates following the filmmakers' seven-minute pitches. The second day saw the triumph of Marusya Syroechkovskaya's How To Save a Dead Friend [+see also:
film review
film profile
, which received the newly created Baltic Sea Docs Award for its will to “push boundaries, favouring love and compassion over judgement and anger”.

Here is the full list of pitched projects, in order of presentation:

Prison UnlockedIvars Zviedris
Producer: Guntis Trekteris
Company: Ego Media (Latvia)

No Elephant in the RoomClara Kleininger
Producer: Magdalena Borowiec
Companies: SQUARE Film Studio (Poland), Triba Films (Romania)

RebbellionKeren Chernizon
Producer: Illia Gladshtein
Company: Phalanstery Films (Ukraine)

Super BMia Halme
Producer: Marianne Mäkelä
Company: napafilms (Finland)

Art and the Cold War. Esthetic ResistanceSandra Jõgeva
Producer: Anu Veermäe-Kaldra
Company: Maagiline Masin (Estonia)

72 HoursAnna Savchenko
Producers: Isabel De La Serna, Volia Chajkouskaya
Companies: Playtime Films (Belgium), Volia Films (Belarus/Estonia), SaNoSi Productions (France)

The Kind StrangerSini Hormio and Anu Silfverberg
Producer: Ari Matikainen
Company: Kinocompany (Finland)

How To Save a Dead Friend [+see also:
film review
film profile
Marusya Syroechkovskaya
Producer: Ksenia Gapchenko
Company: Docs Vostok (Russia)

Masha, Out of the Realm of MemoryGiedrė Žickytė
Producer: Christine Le Goff
Companies: ZED (France), Moonmakers (Lithuania)

The Constitution of the New Era: Man Balancer of the Aerial and Aquatic World – Kiril Karakash and Svetislav Podleshanov (also producers)
Companies: OPIUM Film and Bunker Film+ (North Macedonia)

Riga Palace Armands Začs
Producer: Sandijs Semjonovs
Company: SKUBA Films (Latvia)

The Hunt Aistė Stonytė
Producer: Arūnas Matelis
Company: Studio Nominum (Lithuania)

Unpaved Mikael Lypinski
Producer: Małgorzata Kozioł
Companies: East Beats (Poland), Salton Sea Film (Sweden)

Company of Steel Yuliia Hontaruk
Producer: Igor Savychenko
Company: Directory Films (Ukraine)

Mayday GeorgiaRobin Forestier-Walker and Rayhan Demytrie
Producer: Robin Forestier-Walker
Companies: Vision Fabrika (UK), Nushi Films (Georgia)

Roses. Film-Cabaret [+see also:
film review
film profile
Irena Stetsenko
Producer: Oleksandra Kravchenko
Company: DGTL RLGN (Ukraine)

Tango of Life Erica Liffredo and Krista Burāne
Producer: Uldis Cekulis
Companies: VFS Films (Latvia), B&B Films (Italy), Nativa Contenidos (Argentina)

Men on Boat Carl Olsson
Producer: Anne Köhncke
Company: Final Cut for Real (Denmark)

Missing My BodyAlexander Kvatashidze (also producer)
Company: Lokokina Studio (Georgia)

Every Independence Day Yulia Shatun
Producer: Volia Chajkouskaya
Companies: Volia Films (Belarus/Estonia), Marx Films (Estonia)

The Transition Gayane Petrosyan (also producer)
Companies: Baikal Cinema (Russia), Roast Beef Productions (UK)

The Price of Meat Kaspars Goba
Producer: Ieva Goba
Company: Rucka Art Foundation (Latvia)

Fragile Memory Ihor Ivanko
Producers: Mariia Ponomarova, Alexandra Bratyshchenko
Companies: Burlaka Films (Ukraine), DOXY Films (Netherlands)

Ever Since I Know Myself [+see also:
film review
film profile
Maka Gogaladze (also producer)
Company: FORMO Productions (Georgia)

Roma – Olga Zhurba
Producers: Darya Bassel, Viktoriia Khomenko
Companies: Moon Man (Ukraine), Tangerine Tree (Netherlands)

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