San Sebastian Launches New Technologies Startup Challenge

MADRID  —  The San Sebastian Film Festival has announced the Zinemaldia Startup Challenge, a new section dedicated to entrepreneurs and new or emerging startups proposing novel technologies meant to impact the audiovisual industry.

Nine European countries were responsible for 32 submissions received in this, the event’s inaugural campaign. Of the lot, five virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and blockchain projects were selected from four countries to pitch on Sept 22, with the eventually winning project to receive €10,000 ($11,200), a year’s free access to an incubation space within the Basque technology park network and potential investment funding of up to €500,000 ($560,000).

Flow Cut, an augmented reality project developed by Spanish entrepreneurs Elbio Nielsen and Fernando Chiarri, is an immersive video creation tool using AR technologies. The software is intended to allow users to convert any space into a professional studio without having to move anymore gear than a few small handheld devices.

From Swiss startup Shield, LargoAI is an artificial intelligence software which employs data-driven intelligence to indicate patterns and recipes for success within the motion picture industry.

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From France, Scenso.tv weighs in as an SVOD service using proprietary blockchain protocols to identify, secure and distribute revenues stemming from AV content to the appropriate rights holders. The blockchain was developed and is maintained by Polkatulk.

Shield By Brave, another domestic entry, is an artificial intelligence age verification system that can be integrated into digital content distribution platforms. The software will, anonymously, analyze a user’s facial features to precisely establish the person’s age so that, when appropriate, it can block adult content.

Finally, Volgrams is an AR project from Ireland which enables actual recordings to be converted into volumetric holograms – Volgrams – which can be experienced from any angle on any device. The service promises to be helpful in the recruitment of Jedi when there is no other hope.

Beyond the pitchings, the finalists will be invited to attend a masterclass and four presentations from companies in related fields.

The section is being presented with support from the Basque Government, through its Department of Economic Development and Infrastructure, and Creative Europe Media thanks to the European Film Forum. Vicomtech, an applied research center, is also collaborating on the initiative.

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