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European Short Pitch 2013

by Marjolaine Bouvier & Emma Vigand

It was the 7th edition of the European Short Pitch in Luxemburg on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd March 2013.

European Short Pitch 2013

European Short Pitch 2013

It was the 7th edition of the European Short Pitch in Luxemburg on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd March 2013. The ESP is an initiative aimed at promoting the European coproduction of short films.

Storified by· Mon, Mar 11 2013 06:56:26

Story by Marjolaine Bouvier & Emma Vigand

After a few rehearsals, a conference onco-production the previous day and a copious breakfast at the hotel,the young directors and their producers found themselves face to facewith potential co-producers at  the famous pitching session that tookplace on March, 2nd.

Creativity, stageplay and humour were buzzing, making this event as pleasant as productive.

In total, 25 short films projects fromscriptwriters and filmmakers aged between 18 to 35, were to bepresented at this 7th edition of the European ShortPitch organised by NISI MASA.

The pitching session unrolled in goodspirits and the European young talents cheerfully played the game. Topitch is to quickly present and promote your film or script, andconvince people to invest in your project in just a few minutes. Creativity, stageplay and humour were buzzing, making this event as pleasant as productive. 

The Russian duo Nikita Sutyrin-NinaBelenitskaya did not hesitate to put on a show to present theirproject To Leave or Not to Live, a movie about the universaland timeless dilemma –  a question that is even harder to answerfor the young well-educated Russians: to leave or not to live?  Ayoung promising scientist who lives in a small science town not farfrom Moscow gets a job offer from a prestigious US institute. Thewhole story is his last day before his departure, and we get torealise that he’s desperately searching for an excuse to stay.

The project, partly financed by theRussian Cinema Fund, has a budget estimated at €50,000. Currentlyin development and pre-production phase, it will be shot inOctober-November 2013. Producer Nikita Sutyrin andscriptwriter-director Nina Belenitskaya are looking for a Europeanco-producer and a distributor.

Karolis Kaupinis, a youngLithuanian director, has for his part presented his project TheNoise Maker without any stageplay, but his deadpan sense ofhumour and his funny tone seduced the audience and enabled him to winthe Best Pitch Award, that was handed to him on the same night.

In a small provincial village in theNorth of Lithuania, a new school bell is about to be installed in aschool that is threatened of closing down as there are not enoughkids enrolled. This is the scenario of the short film that tacklesprogress, future, and the human capacity to hide away from the truthand reality.

The film’s budget was of €58,000 and  the young director, who was planning on shooting the film thisautumn, is looking for European co-production partner in video andsound post-production, public and private funding, and televisionpre-sales.

This casual pitching session was nonetheless fruitful as it allowed 180 encounters between directors and producers thanks to one-to-one meetings.

One of the biggest novelties at thispitching session was James Schlesinger’s presentation inwhich Steve Evets (Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric) took partthanks to a video recording. The young British director – “deeplyromantic” according to him – is trying de find a co-productionwith an experimented production company for his movie The Key of aMan’s Heart, a modern-day fairytale about love intricacies.

This casual pitching session wasnonetheless fruitful as it allowed 180 encounters between directorsand producers thanks to one-to-one meetings. Let’s hope thisedition of the European Short Pitch will help these young talents toachieve their projects.

The day ended with the Best Pitch Awardceremony given, in order, to Karolis Kaupinis (Lithuanie) forThe Noise Maker, Mike Forshaw (UK) for Saturdayand Adina Istrate (Romania) for The Gender ReassignementMusical .

Awards European Short Pitch 20134xc3TXvghXvXflE54iXQKw

Increase in the numberof short film co-productions

On March, 1st,a debate on the development of short films co-production was takingplace in Luxemburg. This debate was organised by Nisi Masa, theEuropean Network of Young Cinema, at the 7thEuropean Short Pitch.

A few years ago the short film co-production concept was only just a dream.


Nisi Masa explains as anintroduction that a few years ago the short film co-productionconcept was only just a dream. Today, it affects more and moreshorts, even non-French producers. France is, let’s not forget, areal heaven for the financing of shorts.  More and more shorts arebeing discovered, with sometimes two or three nationalities attachedand the least expected partnerships, Slovakia and India for example.

To illustrate the subject,Nisi Masa had invited several professionals and chosen to presentfive recently co-produced shorts: Kristoffer Rus’s TheBig Leap, a Polish-Swedish co-production;Dario Samuele Leone’s Dreaming Apecar, anItalian-Romanian co-production; Dénes Nagy’s SoftRain, a Hungarian-Belgian-Swissco-production;  Martin Repka’s Tiger Figth,a Slovakian-Indian-Austrian co-production;and Michaela Pavlatova’s Tram, aCzech-French co-production.

Here is a review of theevening and a summary of three of the screened movies.

As soon as the debatestarted, Campfilmproducer Marcell Gerö insisted on the difference between networkingand longer term relationships. This Hungarian producer believes infriendship rather than networking. For SoftRain, he had known the director for tenyears.  According to him, the people you work with are more importantthan the project itself. Of course, the project must be engaging andinteresting, but the people come first as you will have to thinktogether to successfully complete the movie. Marcell added thatdespite that, you shouldn’t neglect networking between producers.

For DreamingApecar, it was the script which was thestarting point of the co-production. The movie is about an Italianwoman who can’t find a job. She then agrees to look after an80-years-old Romanian man. It is with this story that the Italianproducers decided to get in touch with the Romanian community inItaly, even though the movie isn’t about this particular community.They were warmly welcomed. Now that this community is well integratedin Italy, they want to take part in the production of cultural works.A Romanian entrepreneur company even helped to finance the movie,together with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Italy. Moreover, themain actor, who is famous in Romania, really got involved in theproject.

The producer Kaśka Krośny is still amused thinking that no-one knew it was a short film.

The most striking examplein this debate is without a doubt the Swedish-Polish co-productionThe Big Leap. “Thinkbig,” Kaśka Krośny‘s motto for the production of this movie, isone to be remembered. The film total budget was of €300,000. Thisshort film on the financial crisis gathers a famous director,international actors, live action and animation. Polish company WajdaStudio did the promotion for Big Leap. Theycreated a website and a Facebook page before the movie was even shot.While shooting, actors had two hours a day dedicated to answeringinterviews. The producer Kaśka Krośnyis still amused thinking that no-one knew it was a short film.

Short films co-productionand financing possibilities are increasing and broadening every day;crowdfunding still is quite recent. Today’s producers and directorsare doing their best to find new ways to finance and carry throughtheir projects.  The following day, the European Short Pitchparticipants were to present their project in front of a panel ofproducers, with an extra series of ideas and outlooks on filmmakingimbedded in one corner of their brains from the previous day debates.

What to expect regarding the production of shorts in the future? 

We asked their opinion to two very different producers: 
Ivan Kelava is a freelance producer from Croatia and Kaska Krosny is a East of West Cinema producer from Sweden. 
The production of ShortsCineuropa

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