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SAN SEBASTIÁN 2019 San Sebastián Industry

A Swiss venture is this year’s winner of the Zinemaldia Startup Challenge


- LargoAI outshone four other projects to scoop a prize of €10,000 at this second edition of the Zinemaldia & Technology event

A Swiss venture is this year’s winner of the Zinemaldia Startup Challenge
An image from the LargoAI presentation (© SSIFF)

On Sunday 22 September, the Tabakalera cultural centre played host to the second edition of Zinemaldia & Technology, part of the San Sebastián International Film Festival. The event aims to forge connections between the audiovisual world and emerging technologies, serving as a meeting place for tech companies, filmmakers and audiovisual professionals. Supported by Europa Creativa MEDIA with a view to invigorating the European audiovisual industry, this year’s event highlighted five projects all vying for the top prize. The winner was LargoAI, from LARGO FILM, S.A., a start-up based in Laussane (Switzerland), which uses artificial intelligence and proprietary technology to analyse data and identify formulas for box-office success. This innovative tool can be used to evaluate a film’s commercial prospects based on the script alone, and can also offer insights that can be used to make improvements during production.

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The other contenders in this new contest, which saw representatives make their case in a series of pitches, were the following. FlowCut, an augmented reality project developed by two Bizkaia-born entrepreneurs, Elbio Nielsen and Fernando Chiarri (Taldea Equipo Team). It’s the first video editor designed for an immersive AR environment, offering the user the functionality of a post-production studio with complete freedom of movement. The technology allows audiovisual material to be viewed, edited and exported in various formats, helping keep costs to a minimum. Shield by Brave, which also uses artificial intelligence, this time to provide accurate and precise viewer age verification through facial recognition. Developed by BRAVE CORPORATION, based in Álava, it will support responsible digital content distribution by blocking access to those under the age of 18., created by POLKATULK, based in Paris, which applies blockchain technology to audiovisual management. This French company aspires to become a leading content distributor thanks to secure and transparent copyright management and a disruptive business model based on a certified profit-sharing scheme. Volograms, an innovative program from the Irish company of the same name, that aims to support the creation of content based on virtual and augmented reality. Users will be able to record volumetric holograms that offer an immersive view of their content, using any device.

The jury, comprising Pedro Muñoz-Baroja (Easo Ventures), Vanessa Ruiz-Larrea (Deluxe Spain) and Thierry Baujard (Media Deals), selected LargoIA as the winner of the €10,000 award. The five finalists will also have the opportunity to spend a year at a business incubator in one of the Basque country’s Business Innovation Centres (BICs) — part of the Basque Country Technology Park Network — and will have access to up to €500,000 of funding for continued development.

In his presentation, José Luis Rebodinos, director of the San Sebastián International Film Festival, remarked that “since this time last year, the contest has opted to create a space to connect, reflect on new technologies and discover the latest innovations in this unstoppable and game-changing field. That’s why we want this event to keep expanding at the European level.”

For his part, Emmanuel Joly from Creative Europa MEDIA congratulated the festival organisers for helping forge links between the cinematic and digital worlds: “At MEDIA we support this initiative because, at this point in time when technology is moving forward every day, we believe it is on the right path. Major platforms are changing the audiovisual language and this brings new opportunities, with a huge demand for content. History has shown us the incredible adaptability of the audiovisual world, and the film industry needs to be investing in technology,” he said.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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