Vilnius Film Festival to Put Spotlight on Baltic Films

Industry panels, market and competition program aim to bring regional films to a wider audience.

Emerging movie talents from the Baltic region will be in focus at the fifth edition of Meeting Point Vilnius, the industry sidebar of the 19th international film festival Kino Pavasaris, later this month.

The industry confab, which features workshops and panel discussions with agents, distributors and festival programmers from across central and Eastern Europe in attendance, will concentrate on marketing and promotion, organizers say.

The event, which runs March 31-April 3, is aimed at an audience of festival programmers, film producers and others interested in gaining an authoritative insight into current developments in film industry of the Baltic states.

It runs within the film festival, which -- aside from an established main competition program New Europe -- New Names, which showcases the work of talented debut filmmakers from central Eastern Europe -- this year introduces a new competition program, Baltic Gaze, that concentrates on films from the Baltic sea region.

The festival also hosts the Baltic Film Market, bringing the latest Baltic region, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian films and works in progress to festival programmers, buyers and agents. Programmers from Karlovy Vary, San Sebastian, Sarajevo, Moscow, Minsk, Transylvania, Minsk, Thessaloniki, Berline (Berlinale Forum), Gothenburg, Helsinki and other festivals will be among participants.

Producers will have the opportunity to visit a range of top Lithuanian locations. Distributors and sales agents from the region -- on the look out for new, interesting projects -- are also expected to attend.

Meeting Point Vilnius is held in partnership with the Maia Workshops from Italy with Maia Workshops program director Graziella Bildesheim,in attendance. Other guests include Berlinale Eastern Europe delegate Nikolaj Nikitin, who is also founder and director of SOFA -- the School of Film Agents, Alvaro Vega, CEO and founder of DobleSentido, a Spanish cinema marketing, communication, events and training agency; U.K.-based producer Mia Bays of Maia Films; and U.K.-based Peter Buckingham, director of Kube Consultancy, which concentrates on helping independent films find audiences.