“Being from a small country is not a hindrance but an advantage because you have a story that no one has heard of,” Lithuanian actor and showrunner Gabija Siurbyte (“Troll Farm”) told the Beats TV panel during Industry@Tallinn & This week’s Baltic. Event, organized by the Black Nights Film Festival. It was the kind of optimism and positive spirit that characterized the industry forum, which comprised an impressive array of industry panels, workshops and keynote sessions, as well as including some innovations of its own.
Having changed the festival schedule a week earlier, thus avoiding the Thanksgiving weekend, it has managed to attract several important industry figures, including the producer Gale Anne Hurd (“The Terminator,” “The Walking Dead”), who gave two talks and offered inspiration from his career, in addition to answering questions about the role of AI and the end of the recent strikes, siding firmly with the unions and berating executives. monsters as worse as the Queen of “Aliens”.
Other guests included former Paramount executive Ari Tan, who spoke about the importance of adopting a clear strategy conscious of the ultimate goal of distribution and profitability.
Special emphasis was placed on education and training with events taking place under the umbrella of the Discovery Campus, offering aspiring film workers (from screenwriters to producers, cinematographers and musicians) practical advice and inspiration from the cutting edge of the industry.
AI was a dominant topic, but the panels, while alert to potential dangers, legal and otherwise, took pains to present the emerging technology as a tool to be embraced rather than a danger to be feared. However, there was also some great experience on hand when veteran composer John Altman (“The Ruttles”) gave a talk on writing his Emmy-winning score for “RKO 281” and cinematographer Philippe Ros (“Oceans”) He talked about how to negotiate the thorny communication issue between a cinematographer, the director and the actors.
There were also sessions for school teachers on incorporating film education into the classroom to promote film literacy. A Finnish school teacher talking to Variety She was excited about the usefulness of the courses in helping her start an after-school film club and the tools available. One such tool, the European Film Factory, allows teachers and students to access films from across the continent and provides teaching materials for teachers to incorporate into any type of lesson. In this way, the objective is to promote understanding of the breadth of world cinema among young audiences.
“We are training the trainers,” said Estonian Film Institute director Edith Sepp. Variety. Marge Liiske, industry director at Black Nights, agreed: “In addition to the Discovery Campus, we also have launch pads for producers. A participant in our producer program said that participating was worth four years of study.”
Some future projects received a significant boost with the Script Pool prize of 5,000 euros awarded to Leon Yersin’s script “What Remains”. In the Works in Progress section, “Mamifera” by Liliana Torres won the International Award, “Crónicas del Sur” by Ignas Miskinis won the Baltic Award and “Two of Me” by Raúl and Romeo Esko won the Just Film Award aimed at young people. . The Baltic Projects Prize, worth 10,000 euros, went to Joonas Berghäll and Hannes Vartiainen for “The Elf”; the award for best pitch was won by Sahara Karimi and Wanda Adamik Hrycova; and the Producers Network award went to Anna Gawlita and Marta Szymanowska.
Sepp is aware that this group of future filmmakers needs a thriving industry to work in, but is optimistic after seeing private investment increase. “Gradually, additional funds have been invested to produce public-friendly films, which has taken enormous pressure off the film institute. “We can concentrate on more artistic films like ‘Invisible Fight’, which was shown in Locarno this year, where the filmmaker can go crazy and invent stories about Kung Fu and the Orthodox Church.” To continue this growth, infrastructure is urgently needed and plans to build a sound studio near Tallinn will be signed later this month.
However, with growth comes responsibility and Liiske is aware that the festival and the industry in general must take into account that the key to its vision of the future is a commitment to sustainability: “We are measuring our footprint and trying to ensure that Food does not go to waste. We encourage the use of public transportation. These are kind of small things you might think, but that’s what warms my heart.”