Producers from Lithuania, Romania, Denmark and Finland were the recipients of five awards presented at the Baltic Event’s Co-Production Market (Nov 26-29).

This year’s Screen International Best Pitch Award went to Lithuanian producer Uljana Kim of Vilnius-based Studio Uljana Kim who was pitching Kristijonas Vildžiūnas’s fourth feature Seneca’s Day which is set to be the first co-production between the three Baltic states.

The €1.48m drama, which also has France’s Philippe Avril attached as a co-producer via his Strasbourg-based company Unlimited, has already received development support from the Lithuanian Film Centre and MEDIA.

Previous winners of the Screen International award, which follows the winning project editorially from development into production and subsequent distribution, includes Petri Kotwica’s Rat King, Alexei German Jr.’s Under Electric Clouds and Jaak Kilmi’s The Hoppers.

Cannes Producers Network

Cannes’ Producers Network gave two free accreditations for its 2014 edition to two promising young producers, the Baltic Event’s first ever Danish participant Millie Haynes and Lithuanian producer Lukas Trimonis.

Haynes’s project, Maja Friis’ documentary hybrid Say Something, Pierrot!, already has the Danish Film Institute and New Danish Screen attached as partners, and was looking for co-producers, presales and a sales agent in Tallinn.

Meanwhile, Trimonis’ In Script is developing fellow NFTS graduate Egle Vertelyte’s feature debut Miracle which has already received support from the Lithuanian Film Centre and MEDIA.

The tragicomic drama, which Trimonis had presented as part of the Baltic Bridge East by West training programme, also has Wostok Ltd, the UK company he co-founded with Jelena Goldbach, as a co-producer.

The Best Project award  – with €5,000 worth of post-production services granted by the Estonian Digital Centre – went to the Romanian project, the drama comedy Miracle In Cluj, pitched by the executive producer Melinda Boros and director Botond Püsök, from Cluj-based SpotFilm.

A new award this year, the Clear Light Award, with €5,400 worth of lighting services by the Estonian company Digital Sputnik, went to Making Movies Oy producers Kaarle Aho and Kai Nordberg and Finland’s newest rising star director Jussi Hiltunen for their Lapland western, the €1.5m Law of the Land.

Coming Soon

This year’s Coming Soon showcase of forthcoming productions from the three Baltic states include new films by Estonia’s Ilmar Raag and René Vilbre and the controversial Lithuanian director Emilis Velyvis.

Production will be completed in January on Raag’s latest feature I’m Not Coming Back, produced by Amrion Productions with Russia’s CTB Film Company, Finland’s Helsinki Film, Belarusfilm and Kazakhfilm.

The Yellow Affair will be handling international sales on the €1.5m production.

Raag, who was presenting his most recent film Kertu at the parallel Baltic Event Screenings, told Screen Daily that his previous film A Lady In Paris has posted more than 130,000 admissions on its theatrical release via Cetera International in Japan this autumn.

Meanwhile, Vilbre (Mat The Cat) will see his family film Kid Detectives & The Secret of the White Lady opening in Estonian cinemas in December to be followed by a six-part TV series version aired on national television in February 2014.

Kino Kultas’ production of Velyvis’ English-language action comedy Redirected, with Vinnie Jones, Oliver Jackson and Anthony Strachan, shot in London and Lithuania, was on the lookout for a sales agent at the Baltic Event.

In addition, the comedy genre was chosen for two new films from Finland: Samuli Valkama’s No, Thank You, based on the bestselling novel by Anna-Leena Härkönen, and Inari Niemi’s fiction debut Summertime which will be released by Nordisk Film in Finland on August 1, 2014.

Baltic Bridge East by West (B’EST)

Producers and sales agents attending the Baltic Event’s Co-Production Market also had an opportunity to hear pitches of projects developed as part of this year’s edition of the Baltic Bridge East by West programme.

Kyrgyz producer Altynai Koichumanova of Oy Art, who also presented Aygul Bakanova’s feature debut Drifting Snow in the co-production market, participated in the B’EST workshop with Ayktan Arym Kubat’s new feature project Centaur (Kentavr).

The €1.18m drama will reunite the partners from the director’s last film The Light Thief – France’s A.S.A.P. Films, Germany’s Pallas Film and sales agent The Match Factory - and also see Kubat playing the lead role again.

Principal photography is scheduled for autumn 2014 and already has backing from the CNC’s World Cinema Fund, Belgian, French and Japanese distrubutors, and Kyrgyz financing.

Koichumanova pointed out the film’s subject of the threat of losing traditions and identity is “very topical for contemporary Kyrgyzstan”.

Vienna-based Ursula Wohlschlager of Witcraft Scenario said that Chulpan Khamatova and Merab Ninidze are attached as cast members for debutant Elena Tikhonova’s comedy Caviar set among immigrant women in Vienna, while Azeri film-maker Ru Hasanov revealed that he has the Russian actor Yuri Kolokolnikov – recently cast as Styr  for the fourth season of Game Of Thrones TV series – lined up to appear in his comedy-drama Northbound which was also pitched at the Moscow Business Square last June.

Production news from Finland, Croatia and Kyrgyzstan

Principal photography is scheduled to begin in February on Klaus Härö’s next feature The Fencer (Miekkailija), the film’s German co-producer Jörg Bundschuh of Munich-based Kickfilm told Screen Daily during the Baltic Event.

The €2m co-production by Finland’s Making Movies and Estonia’s Allfilm was recently awarded €300,000 by Eurimages and €200,000 by Bavaria’s FFF Bayern earlier in the year.

Set in the early 1950’s, The Fencer centres on a young man who arrives in a small Estonian coastal town after fleeing the Communist secret police in Leningrad. He becomes a fencing teacher and trains his team to prepare for the all-Soviet schools Championships.

Croatian director Pavo Marinkovic revealed that Tudor Giurgiu’s production outfit Libra Film is likely to be the Romanian co-producer on his next feature, the comedy Ministry Of Love, which is being produced by Stanislav Babic’s Telefilm with the Czech Republic’s 8Heads Productions.

Marinkovic’s last film, the feature documentary Occupation, had its world premiere at this year’s Karlovy International Film Festival and opened the documentary programme at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August.

In addition, Kyrgyz producer Altynai Koichumanova had good news from her nation’s Ministry of Culture which has finally decided to provide some financial support for film projects in the arthouse field.

Backing of between €70,000-€100,000 will be made available from 2014 for three Kyrgyz arthouse features which can also be structured as co-productions with foreign partners.

French producer Marc Baschet added that moves were afoot to revive a former agreement between Kyrgyzstan and France’s CNC.

Apart from the two-three arthouse films made annually by such “name” directors as Ayktan Arym Kubat, Ernest Abdyjaparov, and Marat Sarulu, the Kyrgyz production scene is dominated by 70 low-budget films which are produced for between €1,500-€15,000 by local private companies or independent filmmakers, but are only for local consumption.

This year’s Baltic Event was attended by over 280 participants from 30 countries including such sales agents as Fandango, Reel Suspects, Urban Distribution International, Aktis Film International, TrustNordisk, Film Republic and Fortissimo Films as well as a new generation of European producers ranging from UK-based Fyodor Druzin (Curb Denizen Productions) through Poland’s Lukas Dzieciol (Opus Film) to Hamburg-based Sebastian Weyland (Heimathafen Film) and Cosima Maria Degler (Unafilm) – and such established players as Christoph Thoke (Mogador Film), Paul Thiltges (PTD) and Yevgeny Gindilis (Tvindie). (ends)