Baltic Sea Docs hands out its awards
- The winners included Shut the Fuck Up! by Taisiia Kutuzova, Courage by Aliaksei Paluyan and The Trans Syrian Express by Alina Rudnitskaya
After nine days, the hybrid version of the 24th Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (29 August-6 September) came to a close on Sunday. Two days earlier, the winners of the forum were announced. A total of 24 film-project teams (see the news) took part this year, and the pitching session was held on 3 and 4 September.
A total of four awards were handed out at this edition. The Baltic Sea Docs Award, which offers editing consultancy, was handed to Shut the Fuck Up!, directed by Taisiia Kutuzova, produced by Olga Beskhmelnytsina (Digital Religion) and co-produced by Stephane Siohan (East Roads Films), which follows a young activist, Serhiy, who investigates corruption in his small town near Kyiv and runs for office against the deputy who tried to silence him.
Consisting of a €2,500 cash prize, the Current Time TV Award was given to Courage, directed by Aliaksei Paluyan, produced by Jörn Möllenkamp (Living Pictures Production GbR) and co-produced by Mikalai Laureniuk (Illusion Film Company), which focuses on an underground theatre in Minsk that serves as a creative hub for freedom under an authoritarian regime.
The Documentary Association of Europe Award, which provides campaign consultancy, was awarded to The Trans Syrian Express, a road movie about an exhibition of weapons and other “trophies” from the war in Syria as it travels around Russia, directed by Alina Rudnitskaya and produced by Pertti Veijalainen (Illume Ltd), in co-production with Sergey Vinokurov (317-Films) and Dorota Roszkowska (Arkana).
Furthermore, post-production services, valued at €3,000, offered by BB Post House went to Diary of a Bride of Christ, directed by Marta Smerechynska and produced by Natalia Libet (Digital Religion LLC), which is set in a modern Catholic monastery in Western Ukraine. It observes the lives of the director’s sister and other nuns – the Brides of Christ.
Zane Balčus, project manager of Baltic Sea Docs, commented: “Baltic Sea Docs’ industry activities ran for a week this time – longer than they would have done in a physical form. Our decision to have online, live presentations seemed a little risky at the beginning, but it proved to be highly successful, and also rewarding – seeing all of the participants giving their presentation at the actual moment. The online edition also brought up new aspects necessary to consider and implement in the organisational process of the event. We had enough time to observe other online events and come up with a plan as to how Baltic Sea Docs should run. Thanks to my colleagues and technicians from KT Serviss, we were able to bring to life everything we had planned.”
This edition also marked the fourth year of the collaboration between Baltic Sea Docs and Artdocfest, a festival and industry platform for independent filmmakers from the former Soviet Union. Ten projects participated and were pitched, and the best one was deemed to be What If I Don’t Die?, directed by Elena Laskari and produced by Evgeny Kokusev (Kinoartel LLC), which follows the story of 16-year-old Nastya and her life at a children's hospice. It scooped the $2,000 cash prize donated by Current Time TV.
The forum also organised a seminar on the production of docuseries by Elina Pohjola (see the news), and two master classes by Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys and Latvian producer Uldis Cekulis (see the news). The Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the Creative Europe MEDIA programme and Riga City Council. The next edition of the forum is planned to take place in Riga on 7-12 September 2021.
Here are the awards handed out at the 24th Baltic Sea Docs:
Baltic Sea Docs Award
Shut the Fuck Up! – Taisiia Kutuzova (Ukraine/France)
Producers: Olga Beskhmelnytsina (Digital Religion), Stephane Siohan (East Roads Films)
Current Time TV Award
Courage – Aliaksei Paluyan (Belarus/Germany)
Producers: Jörn Möllenkamp (Living Pictures Production GbR), Mikalai Laureniuk (Illusion Film Company)
Documentary Association of Europe Award
The Trans Syrian Express – Alina Rudnitskaya (Finland/Russia/Poland)
Producers: Pertti Veijalainen (Illume Ltd), Sergey Vinokurov (317-Films), Dorota Roszkowska (Arkana)
BB Post House Award
Diary of a Bride of Christ – Marta Smerechynska (Ukraine)
Producer: Natalia Libet (Digital Religion LLC)
Current Time TV Award – Artdocfest
What If I Don’t Die? – Elena Laskari (Russia)
Producer: Evgeny Kokusev (Kinoartel LLC)
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