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Launched in 2018 as part of a San Sebastián Festival initiative to become a hub for fast-tracking new tech film-TV initiatives, this year’s expanded edition of the Zinemaldia & Technology event, the Zinemaldia Start Up Challenge, awarded three prizes on Thursday for the best Spanish, best entrepreneurial and best European projects after a morning of pitching.

Best Spanish project went to the innovative music app Motmo.pro from Bruno de Zabala and Janire Vázquez. Entrepreneurial Project prize was won by Mine S. from Riccardo Belingheri, and Massimiliano Moioli from Italy. Both projects receive $10,000 ($10,000).

The Spanish brother and sister team, Teresa Benítez Martínez and Francisco Benítez Martínez, took home €3,000 for best European project for kino_greentoken.

“We realized there  was nothing showing the carbon footprint on set and developed this project to solve the problem,” Francisco Benitez Martinez told Variety. “We are thrilled to receive this award.”

“We are delighted by winning the Zinemaldia Startup Challenge. We have an amazing team building the platform where the original artists teach you how their songs should be played, by not only using music, but audiovisual content too,” added De Zabala. “We just tried to make the best pitch possible and to make good contact with the audience here. It was such an amazing experience.”

This year, 55 projects were submitted. The 10 finalists that pitched on Thursday worked in different tech elements to their projects, including AI, blockchain, streaming and VFX /SFX.

2022’s event included a specific competition for Spanish startups and entrepreneurs, launched under the Spanish Screenings initiative here at the festival.

The five Spanish projects pitched today also took in: Izi Record, a technology for creating AI-based content; Quantic Brains Technologies, which is focused on the integral generation of audiovisual content, also using AI; 

The Video Network, which is  a management platform that simplifies the production process. kino_greentoken focuses on the digital transformation of emission and waste management by the audiovisual industry with blockchain technology.

In the international competition, Mine S has developed a modular system to simplify and help economize different steps in the creation process. 

Zinemaldia Start Up Challenge 2022
Zinemaldia Start Up Challenge 2022 Credit: Liza Foreman

PentoPix  from the U. K., pitched an AI-assisted text-to-3D creative suite to generate storyboards and pre-produce content. A second U:K:project, Smash, uses blockchain technology to connect creators with platform and TV content managers; Violette, from Denmark, has developed a firearm replica to improve on-set firearms security, a subject which which has been in the news after a fatal accident on the set of “Rust” with Alec Baldwin.

A proposal from Britain’s Watchers focuses on how to add a social interaction component to streaming platforms. All participants receive one year’s access to an incubation space at a Business Innovation Centres (BICs) in the Basque Technology Parks Network. Meanwhile, winners from the first three competitions have all gone on to develop their business strategies, the festival said. Largo AI (2019) has found clients in more than 20 countries; Filmchain (2020) has launched in multiple territories; whilst Kinetix, (2021) is up and running in a Beta version.

Backing the Zinemaldia initiative is the Basque Government’s Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment.

The Spanish Screenings XXL is  an international market place for Spanish audiovisual production, and is part of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) developed to boost Spain’s role as a European audiovisual hub.

Said Daniel Karpantschoff of Violette, “We were a featured startup in Berlin at the European Film Market, just prior to Corona, in a similar setting. These events, especially after “Rust,” help us establish that the industry filming is done properly, not just in the market-place but also from industry leaders, directors, cast, producers and festivals. No one should go to work, telling stories about fear, while fearing for their safety. Being invited here is, for us, a huge statement that the industry agrees.”