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The San Sebastian Film Festival will host a second edition of its Zinemaldia Startup Challenge this year, only this time held entirely online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zinemaldia & Technology, launched in 2018 and dedicated to entrepreneurs and new or emerging startups proposing novel technologies meant to impact the audiovisual industry, will be held online on Friday, Sept. 25 and include presentations from each of the five finalists and a masterclass, this year Audiovisual Sound, From the Origin to the Full Immersive, delivered by Marc Orts, a sound technician and head of Sound Department at Deluxe, Spain.

With five finalists, this year’s pitching pool is smaller than the nine it hosted in 2019, but not for lack of interest. While 32 companies submitted projects for consideration in 2019, this year saw that number jump to 40. Automation is the name of the game this time round, with several of the finalists promising to speed up and remove tedious, labor intensive parts of production and distribution.

Coming from Spain, the U.K., Norway and Germany, the five finalists will compete for a $12,000 cash prize, and free access for a year to an incubation space within the Basque Country Technology Park Network and access to development financing of nearly $600,000.

From the U.K., PromoMii uses artificial intelligence to mitigate time spent on labor-intensive activities involved in video editing such as logging, transcribing and analyzing by automating those processes. Utilizing the automated procedures, the tool allows users to increase exposure to their content by creating personalized videos and promotional materials on a larger scale.

Also from the U.K., FilmChain employs blockchain software to support creators, financiers, sales agents and distributors by automating money flow through the value chain and improving rights tracking. The service can collect, distribute and analyze revenues for content from all corners of the audiovisual industry.

Norway’s Compliance Management Solution for the Film and TV Industry is a web-based platform through which video editors can upload their footage to be automatically checked against regulations, while also automating certain steps in the process.

Meanwhile, Germany’s La Quinta Pared (The Fifth Wall) allows audiences to control on-screen action through software downloaded onto a second screen, such as a mobile phone or tablet. Offering up new forms of trans-media involvement, the software creates near endless narrative opportunities.

A digital marketing platform, Cinemart is this year’s lone Spanish finalist. The software uses advergaming – interactive, ad-fueled entertainment downloaded directly to audiences’ personal devices – to collect big data for exhibitors and events.

Last year, Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won the event’s first-ever Startup Challenge with its software which provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and production, the software can help predict audience responses. Evaluated on a country-by-country basis, it can also be used in distribution planning.

This year’s section is once again presented with support from the Basque government, through its Department of Economic Development and Infrastructures. The startup challenge is part of the larger Zinemaldia & Technology event, organized by the San Sebastian Festival and local tech organizations Tecnalia, Tabakalera through its 2deo audiovisual lab, and Petronor, in collaboration with applied research center Vicomtech.

Additionally, outside support comes from the European Film Forum initiative, with backing from Creative Europe Media program as part of the organization’s objective to strengthen the European film and audiovisual industry.

Zinemaldia & Technology is held during the San Sebastian Festival as the event aims to position itself as a global spotlight for new and upcoming technologies intended for use in the audiovisual industry.