The 27th edition of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (Baltic Sea Docs) has wrapped up in Riga, Latvia. The event spanned several towns throughout Latvia, with preparatory workshops for film project representatives taking place in the seaside village of Liepupe.
This year’s forum was a gathering of filmmakers not just from the Baltic Sea region but also from Eastern Europe, Georgia, and other parts of the world. In total, 24 film projects represented by film studios from 11 countries were showcased. Out of these, 20 film projects made their debut in Riga, while four films were a part of the new «Coming Soon” session, spotlighting films in post-production.
Zane Balčus, the Baltic Sea Docs project manager, expressed satisfaction with the current edition, emphasising its role as a platform for fostering industry connections.
- Current Time TV Award (€2000 cash): Eros and Thanatos from Ukraine, directed by Dmytro Tiazhlov.
- BB Post House Award (€3000 worth post-production services): Sacrum and Profanum in Pievenai from Lithuania, directed by Giedrė Beinoriūtė.
- IDFA Spotlight Award: Archive. Box#64 from Ukraine, directed by Eva Dzhyshyashvili.
- Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights Award (€2500 cash): War in Chornobyl from Ukraine, directed by Oleksiy Radynski.
- Baltic Sea Docs Award: Granted to directors Mindaugas Survila from Lithuania for Yalla Yalla and Mihkel Oksmann from Estonia for In the Winds of the Icefields, as well as producer Marina-Evelina Cracana from Sweden for Vanessa.
The pitching sessions took place over two days and were overseen by Mikael Opstrup and Tue Steen Müller. The panel consisted of representatives from notable TV channels, distribution companies, and industry events including BBC, YLE, NHK, ZDF/Arte, Berlinale, IDFA, and more.
Baltic Sea Docs further enriched its industry event program this year in partnership with Creative Europe MEDIA Desks. A seminar highlighting the merging of documentary and fiction film techniques was led by Barbara Wurm, head of the Berlinale Forum.
Furthermore, an initiative titled «Travelling Docs. Share Your Stories» was introduced by 11 Creative Europe MEDIA Desks. This networking activity, rotated annually to various documentary events, aimed to nurture collaboration among Baltic, Ukrainian, and European documentary producers.
As for the audience experience, the Baltic Sea Docs film program was designed to cater to both local viewers in Riga and attendees in five regional Latvian towns. Select filmmakers, including Erik Gandini, Alisa Kovalenko, and Vlad Petri, arrived in Latvia to engage with viewers, presenting their films After Work, We Will Not Fade Away, and Between Revolutions, respectively.
Lastly, an online film program was hosted on filmas.lv, featuring films that previously debuted at the forum in their project stages, such as Diary of a Bride of Christ, Gentle Warriors, and See You Never Ever!