FESTIVALS: Baltic Sea Docs 2020 to Take Place Online

    Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Baltic Sea Docs 2019 photo: Agnese Zeltina

    RIGA: The 24th edition of Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (Baltic Sea Docs) will take place online from 29 August to 6 September 2020. The Riga based international documentary film event, consisting of a pitching forum and film screenings, will take a new shape in the context of current restrictions due to Covid-19.

    The activities of the pitching forum will include closed workshop sessions for participants of the 24 selected projects. A group of nine international tutors will work with the projects preparing them for the pitch, which will take place on 3 – 4 September. Awards include a 2,500 EUR cash prize and a post-production prize.

    For the first time, Baltic Sea Docs will cooperate with the platform Pitch the Doc. Projects can have their profiles created on the site, branded with the Baltic Sea Docs name, and ensuring follow up for the decision makers of the event and others.

    Talks and seminars will be accessible to participants and accredited guests: talks with Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys, Latvian producer Uldis Cekulis (both moderated by Tue Steen Müller); a seminar on documentary film series run by Elina Pohjola from Citizen Jane Productions, Finland (organised by CE Media Office Latvia).

    Festival director Zane Balčus told FNE: “Observing many events over the summer, online solutions have proven themselves to be viable, and the main components of festivals, industry and training events have run successfully. The need to transfer Baltic Sea Docs industry activities to the digital space was clear in early summer, when the travel restrictions and public gatherings were very limited if allowed at all. The core elements of Baltic Sea Docs will happen as before, but with some adjustments (for example, the workshop will be spread out over a longer period of time). Already now we can say that we will miss the networking, meeting participants and guests in person, creating connections on the spot.”

    The film programme will be screened 1 – 6 September on the website www.filmas.lv, administered by the National Film Centre of Latvia (the organiser of Baltic Sea Docs), and two physical screenings will take place in Riga (at a cinema and outdoors). Online screenings will be geoblocked for Latvia only, and each film will be screened twice at specific screening times. Part of the screenings will be followed by pre-recorded interviews with the directors.

    baltic sea docs logoThe seminar on docuseries will be part of a new initiative created by the Institute of Documentary Film (Czech Republic), in partnership with Baltic Sea Docs and Sunny Side of the Doc (France). It is aimed at providing feedback and knowledge for filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe to develop documentary series. The first part of the planned activities will take off linked to the Baltic Sea Docs, and follow in the spring in Prague during East Doc Platform, but conclude next summer at Sunny Side of the Doc. 

    Baltic Sea Docs is financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media, and the Riga City Council.