REPORT: Baltic Event Works in Progress 2020
- We take a closer look at the projects presented at this year's online edition of Tallinn's Baltic Event Works in Progress
A completely different Works in Progress session was organised this year at the Baltic Event of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, as the industry section Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event is running entirely online (read the news) with the projects presented on a digital platform. The WIP sessions started with the welcoming notes by Marge Liiske, managing director of Baltic Event, and Maria Ulfsak, project manager for Baltic Event Works in Progress, who also introduced the three members of the jury for Baltic Event and International Works in Progress, Isabel Ivars-Sancho (Films Boutique), Ilaria Gomarasca (First Cut+) and Nikolaj Nikitin (Febiofest).
The session was entirely focused on seven new projects hailing from the three Baltic countries and Finland, all competing for the €10,000 Post Production Award and the €3,000 Baltic Event Works in Progress Award.
Hosting country Estonia was represented by two projects: Melchior The Apothecary, the latest film from Elmo Nüganen, coming four years after 1944 [+see also:
film profile] which was the country’s submission to the Oscars. The medieval detective thriller, based on the books by Indrek Hargla, revolves around Melchior Wakenstede, a clever and curious apothecary who, in addition to healing the sick, solves murders that shake Tallinn (read the news). This is the first instalment of a trilogy, with all of the films set to complete filming by next month, while four more books might be adapted in the future. Budgeted at €3 million, the co-production has on board five Estonian producers – Kristian Taska (Taska Film), Esko Rips (Nafta Films), Tanel Tatter and Veiko Esken (Apollo Film Productions), Armin Karu (HansaFilm) – along with Lativa’s Jānis Kalējs (Film Angels Productions), and Phillip Kreuzer (Maze Pictures) from Germany.
Based on true events, Kalev takes us back to the summer of 1990, when the Soviet Union was crumbling and Estonia fighting for independence. Local basketball team Kalev decides, against all odds and popular opinion, to participate in the USSR championship and reach the finals. Directed by debutant filmmaker Ove Musting, and co-penned by him with Mehis Pihla and Martin Algus, the sports drama is currently filming. Aiming for a release by next October, it is co-produced by Pille Rünk (Allfilm) and Maria Avdjushko (Ugri Film).
Lithuania also brought two projects to the Baltic Event, with Ernestas Jankauskas returning to Tallinn with his sophomore dramedy featuring elements of magical realism, I Am Fine, Thanks, two years after the premiere of his debut Sasha Was Here [+see also:
film profile] at Black Nights’ First Feature Competition. The film tells the story of a woman, Maria, who is searching for love after checking herself out of a rehabilitation clinic where she was treated for panic attacks. As Maria tries to regain the trust of her family, she suppresses her condition, making things even harder for her. Written by Birute Kapustinskaite, the film is produced by Gabija Siurbyte and Greta Akcijonaite (Dansu films) and it will be completed in January.
Debutant writer-director Dovile Šarutyte was deeply affected by her father’s passing for her drama A Feature Film About Life. Her heroine, Dovile, returns from holidays when she learns that her father has died, and due to shortage of money, she decides to organise the funeral by herself, instead of hiring a professional. Dovile will have to rush around to make sure that everything is as planned for her farewell. Co-written by Titas Laucius, the film is produced by Uljana Kim (Studio Uljana Kim) and it will be completed next year.
From Latvia, Lovable is Stanislavs Tokalovs’ (What Nobody Can See) sophomore feature, exploring the world of a young man who is very eager to find his way to success, but misses the chance to create meaningful relationships. He only realises this when his girlfriend dies unexpectedly, and he finds himself having to take care of her ten-year-old son. The story, based on Tokalovs’ personal fears and experiences, is co-written by him and Waldemar Kalinowski and is produced by Aija Bērziņa (Tasse Film) in co-production with Evelin Penttila for Estonia’s Stellar Film.
Latvian writer-director Matīss Kaža has already released his debut fiction feature this year, while his sophomore Where the Road Leads is being finalised (read the news) and his third film, Neon Spring, is already in post-production. Set in the suburbs of Riga, the contemporary youth drama follows 20-year-old Laine, who abruptly becomes the mother figure for her younger brother overnight, at a time in her life where she is starting to question her sexuality after falling for partygoer Gunda. Co-written by the film’s lead actress Marija Luīze Meļķe and Kaža, Neon Spring is co-produced by Dace Siatkovska and the director for Deep Sea Studios and is scheduled to be completed by spring.
Finally, Finland introduced A Girl’s Room which won the Eurimages Co-production Development Award two years ago at the Baltic Event — that’s “where everything started,” as French producer Sébastian Aubert mentioned in his pitch. Written and directed by debutant Finnish helmer Aino Suni, the film is a drama with thriller elements. The story follows Elena, an aspiring rapper who moves to the South of France, where she falls in love with her younger step sister Sofia. When Sofia understands Elena’s desperate love, she takes advantage of her, leading to a power game between the girls. The film is co-produced by Sébastien Aubert (Adastra Films), Ilona Tolmunen (Made), and Frauke Kolbmüller (Oma Inge Film), and Kinology is handling the sales.
Here is the full list of Baltic Event Works in Progress projects:
A Feature Film About Life - Dovilė Šarutytė (Lithuania)
Producer: Uljana Kim (Studio Uljana Kim)
I Am Fine, Thanks - Ernestas Jankauskas (Lithuania)
Producers: Gabija Siurbyte, Greta Akcijonaite (Dansu films)
Kalev - Ove Musting (Estonia)
Producers: Pille Rünk (Allfilm) and Maria Avdjushko (Ugri Film)
Melchior The Apothecary - Elmo Nüganen (Estonia/Latvia/Germany)
Producers: Kristian Taska (Taska Film), Esko Rips (Nafta Films), Tanel Tatter, Veiko Esken (Apollo Film Productions), Armin Karu (HansaFilm), Jānis Kalējs (Film Angels Productions), Phillip Kreuzer (Maze Pictures)
Neon Spring - Matīss Kaža (Latvia)
Producers: Dace Siatkovska, Matīss Kaža (Deep Sea Studios)
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