REPORT: Baltic Pitching Forum 2021
- We present a rundown of the selected projects, along with the main award winners of this year’s edition, which ran in Vilnius from 7-9 October
It’s a wrap for the 9th edition of the Baltic Pitching Forum. Once more, the prestigious short-focused event ran in Vilnius from 7-9 October and saw the participation of projects from the three Baltic republics and this year’s guest country, Sweden. The projects were pitched live and online in front of two panels of professionals who bestowed several awards on some of the participants at the award ceremony held on Saturday night.
Here, we present an overview of the selected projects along with the main award winners:
Schrödinger – Sergei Kibus (Estonia)
Produced by Kadriann Kibus for Rebel Frame and budgeted at €225,000, this animated short aims to deconstruct quantum physics to deliver an engaging tale of acceptance, as it tells the story of a cat named Schrödinger who leads a carefree life with his human. One day, however, an incident will change the nature and perception of his existence completely. The project won participant rights at the European Short Film Co-production Forum Euro Connection, part of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, set to take place next February.
A Crack – Ieva Norvele (Latvia)
The project was invited to take part in the Torino Short Film Market and its pitching session “You Only Pitch Twice.” Produced by Aija Bērziņa for Tasse Film, the story of this short begins when a large crack appears on the walls of a typical tenement building in Latvia. A house meeting is called and the tensions rife within the residents are soon laid bare for all to see. This fiction project has been described as “an intensely personal story” and “an examination of the divides that are still apparent not only in Latvian society, but in the world as a whole.”
Yellow Grass – Linn Markussen (Sweden)
The project, “suffused with an air of the strange, the surreal and the satirical,” won a special mention from the jury. It tells the story of a woman called Charlotte who begins an affair with a man who, strangely, looks identical to her husband. The project is produced by the young director herself, an alumna of the New York Film Academy.
Weight of Light – Anna Hints (Estonia)
Budgeted at €110,000 and staged by Evelin Penttilä and Johanna Maria Paulson for Stellar Film, this fiction project won the Baltic Producers Jury MEDIA award, consisting of a €1,000 cash prize. It revolves around a teenage rag-picker girl who secretly documents the world of poverty and patriarchy she lives in with a discarded photo camera she found in a vast garbage dump yard of Delhi.
Reminiscence – Kristijonas Dirsė (Lithuania)
The project won a special mention, as the jurors found “it has the potential to be developed into a strong film with a unique grasp of the short film form.” It follows retired set designer Juozapas and his wife Genovaite. Genovaite suffers from an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s and her fading memory keeps clinging to the moment when they first moved into their flat as a young family in 1964. Juozapas has two lethal doses of morphine – one for her, one for himself.
Man’s Labour – Oskar Lehemaa (Estonia)
Produced by brand-new studio Bad Hair Productions, this crazy 15-minute short depicts macho loudmouth Henri visiting his old buddy Toomas. It quickly becomes apparent that the evening is not about watching sports and drinking beer. Instead, Toomas has summoned Henri to help him with an important bodily function: he’s about to give birth.
A Thread – Kristina Tverdohleba (Latvia)
A Full Glass Media presentation, this animated short focuses on a cheerful young woman who meets a sad guy with a big hole in his chest. She’s convinced no one but herself can cheer him up. All her attempts to fill up his heart are just a waste of her emotions. Trying to help the stranger, she finds herself completely lost in a dark forest.
Big Loop - Small Loop – Žanete Skarule (Latvia)
The story of this short, inspired by real events, is set in the 1970s. An engineering student, Paulis finds his well-respected professor Kalns in a situation with another man. Struggling with his own sexual identity, Paulis is looking for answers within a society built on codes and double morality. The project is a Mima Film production.
Champion – Tomas Mitkus (Lithuania)
Produced by SP “Studio Mitkus,” this animated sci-fi project centres on a spaceship captain, who finds out that one of her crew broke a taboo law on an alien planet and is sentenced to death. The only way to save him, however, is to fight in a ritualistic mortal duel in an alien gladiator arena.
Isolation – Ieva Veiverytė (Lithuania)
The premise of this short sees a truck driver get out of his cab to go for a pee. Suddenly, he hears a beep as the vehicle’s door shuts behind him and locks. Trapped outside, half naked on a chilly night, he desperately needs to find a way back in. The project is staged by Broom Films.
22 Hours – Peter Aitman (Sweden)
The short, pitched by Sweden’s Parapix, is set during WW2. In it, a pianist is captured by Russian troops. They put him in front of a piano and tell him he can live as long as he can play it.
Anise Underground – John Paul Bichard (Sweden)
Bichard Studios’ short has been defined as “a film poem about transformation.” It follows Anise, who embarks on a surreal, dreamlike journey that jumps between archetypal characters in a series of unnerving, dislocated landscapes. The film references classic folktales, reveries and the compression of time in trauma.
Commenting on the outcome of this year’s edition, Baltic Pitching Forum’s head Rimantė Daugėlaitė-Cegelskienė said: “It was an emotional year with many of the participants – even as we observed strict health protocols – experiencing talking to people face to face again. The joy of togetherness, combined with the excellent projects and supportive industry, reinforced why the Baltic Pitching Forum has become such a renowned event across the global industry.”
The next gathering will take place from 6-8 October 2022.
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