×

San Sebastian Focus on the Baltics: Fostering Relationships Between Similar Markets

Baltic industry professionals receive a dedicated platform to seek out international partnerships

SAN SEBASTIAN — San Sebastian’s Focus On initiative, now in its fourth year, invites industry professionals from a country, or countries, to expand their networking contacts and participate in industry activities. This year’s featured Focus On region is the Baltics, and the event is hosting representatives from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

The Baltics boast strong comparisons to the Basque Country as marketplaces. The countries have similar populations of around two-million people, around 40-50 film and TV productions a year, and similar numbers of theaters, digital screens and domestic box office market shares.

Fifteen producers from the three countries have brought projects to San Sebastian’s shores, with the opportunity to seek out partners and talk with potential co-producers from across Europe and Latin America to fulfill a range of different needs. Some projects are at early stages of development, while others represent already-finished films looking to produce Spanish-language remakes in Spain and/or Latin America.

Lithuania is represented by five projects. “World of Tanks” is Andrius Lekavicius’s character-driven documentary about collectors of WWII relics up to and including tanks, produced by virtual reality studio VsI 360 Laipsniu Filmai. Another doc, “Gentle Warriors” follows three women who join the Lithuanian army and is produced by Moonmakers. “El Padre Medico” documents the real story behind an early 20th century missionary to Amazonia, Brazil. It’s directed by Vytautas Puidokas and produced by Ironcat.

In fiction, Tomas Smulkis’ “People We Know Are Confused” tells three parallel stories set in Vilnius, a modern city still mired in the past, produced by Just a Moment.  Junajo Giménez’s “Three,” produced by M-Films, is the tale of a sound engineer who’s hearing becomes desynchronized from reality, at first lagging behind before eventually allowing her to hear into the future.

Estonia brings six projects. “Skype Story” from director Kiur Aarma will document the story of the small country’s biggest contribution to the digital age, Skype. The other documentary, “u.Q.” is a biopic based on one of the music industry’s best kept secrets, songwriter Uku Kuut, whose unique sound helped form the musical profile of the 21st century. Both documentaries are produced by Film Tower. “Grown Ups” and “The Dance of Men” will look to show off the country’s funny bone, the former takes place over a crazy night shared by three sisters, the latter is the tale of a filmmaker suffering a crisis of creativity. “O2” is a thriller set in 1939 about an Estonian Captain who faces a solitary fight against the aggressive Soviet Forces which threaten from the East. And “Rain” turns on an 11-year old boy in a small town struggling with family drama.

Five projects come from Latvia. “The Shift Maina” from director Reinis Kalvins is produced by Film Sutdio Mistrus Media and tells a dramatic tale of racketeering in post-Soviet Latvia. Another drama set in the early ‘90s, Janis Abele’s “Jelgave ’94” is part coming of age tale and part cultural portrait of the chaos that engulfed many former Soviet territories after its fall. Liene Linde’s “The Golden Spot” turns on film director Martha and parallels her own life with one of her films. The fourth drama from Latvia comes in “Loveable,” director Stanislavs Tokalovs’ story of a modern-day “broken” family and what happens when the person holding them together suddenly dies. And on the lighter side, Andrejs Ekis’ comedy “Swingers” is an ensemble vehicle which has enjoyed successful remakes in Norway, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Slovakia, and is looking to repeat that feat in Spain.

The Baltics are represented at this year’s festival by a number of finished productions as well. Among them, “Core of the World” from Natalia Meschaninova participates in the New Directors section, and is a co-production between Russia and Lithuania, and Xacio Baño’s “Trot,” co-produced between Spain and Lithuania, will see a Q&A with cast and crew at its Wednesday night screening as part of the Zabaltegi-Tabakalera section.

More Film

  • Sebastian Maniscalco Green Book

    Sebastian Maniscalco Moves Into Movies With 'Green Book' and 'The Irishman'

    As a comedian whose routines not only lampoon Italian stereotypes but demand larger-than-life performances of those cultural peccadilloes, Sebastian Maniscalco has carefully — if inadvertently — created a niche for himself as an actor. In 2018, in between selling out shows at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, he took his first steps [...]

  • Erin Westerman

    Lionsgate Promotes Erin Westerman to President of Motion Picture Production

    Lionsgate has promoted veteran executive Erin Westerman to the post of president of production of its Motion Picture Group. Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake and motion picture group president Nathan Kahane made the announcement Tuesday. The post has been vacant since earlier this year, when it was held as a co-presidency by Peter Kang [...]

  • Sebastian Maniscalco

    Sebastian Maniscalco Celebrates 20 Years in Comedy

    Developing a rapport with hotel staff members is not uncommon for celebrities, especially those who travel frequently enough because of work or press opportunities to have multiple encounters with folks who carry their luggage, make up their rooms and serve them food. But when comedian Sebastian Maniscalco warmly greets the Four Seasons Los Angeles server [...]

  • Malcolm D Lee Uptown Saturday Night

    'Girls Trip' Director Malcolm D. Lee Boards 'Space Jam 2'

    “Girls Trip” director Malcolm D. Lee is replacing Terence Nance as director of “Space Jam 2,” starring LeBron James, for Warner Bros. and James’ SpringHill Entertainment. The departure of Nance, creator of the HBO show “Random Acts of Flyness,” was due to differing visions between Nance and the producers for “Space Jam 2.” Warner Bros. has set [...]

  • Joker movie

    With 'Ad Astra,' 'Joker' Likely, Venice Set for Strong Showing by U.S., Bolstered by Streamers

    Brad Pitt space odyssey “Ad Astra,” Noah Baumbach’s untitled new project, “Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts,” Fernando Meirelles’ “The Pope,” the new “Rambo” installment, and heist thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” starring Mick Jagger as a reclusive art dealer, all look bound for the Venice Film Festival, sources tell Variety. The fest [...]

  • CGV's Massive Imax Screen Order Shows

    CGV's Massive Imax Screen Order Shows Optimism for Chinese Exhibition

    Korean cinema giant CGV has signed a deal with Imax to install a further 40 giant screens in movie theaters in China. The deal suggests that China’s multiplex building boom still has some way to run, and that at least one Korean company is still willing to invest in China, despite China’s currently boycott of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content