Baltic Shorts Residency announces its newest participants


Three Baltic filmmakers given opportunity to develop short film scripts as part of  6th edition of the Baltic Shorts Residency

The Baltic Shorts Residency has announced the selected participants taking part in its sixth edition. Between 1st and 21st June, three filmmakers will have the chance to hone their short film screenplays advised by screenwriting expert Anna Ciennik (France). These filmmakers are Martynas Norvaišas (Lithuania), Jazeps Podnieks (Latvia) and Alesja Suzdaltseva (Estonia).

The Baltic Shorts Residency 2024 will take place in Kintai, a small Lithuanian town situated in a rural environment off the coast of the Curonian Lagoon. Participants will stay at “Kintai Arts”, an artistic residence which provides a forum for all artistic branches and interdisciplinary work.

This year Lithuania will be represented by emerging director, DoP Martynas Norvaišas, who will develop the script for “Suez” – a hybrid film in which different mediums, ranging from TV news and social networks to conventional film, clash as it follows one person’s yearn to break free from the status quo. The film explores personal stagnation and the desire to escape, told through the prism of world events.

After graduating from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre with a degree in Cinematography (BA) in 2014, Norvaišas began his career as both a camera assistant and a DOP in the film and commercial industries. After finishing an MA in Photography and Media Art at Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, he started an individual creative practice with a primary focus on the ever-changing concept of masculinity. His debut short documentary “I Buy” – which explores consumerism and existentialism – premiered at the Vilnius Film Festival in spring 2024.

Latvian director Jazeps Podnieks will attend the Residency with the script of the fiction short film “Boy With The Whistle”. The film tells the story of fourteen-year-old Janko, who runs away from home after an argument between his parents and embarks on a magical journey. Along the way, Janko faces his own fears and must overcome strange yet magical challenges.

Jazeps Podnieks graduated from the Latvian Academy of Culture’s National Film School in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in film directing. He is passionate about delving into the intersections of documentary, fiction, and experimental cinema, while also embracing unconventional narrative structures. Themes of mysticism and the obscure often permeate his work. In 2022 his film “Tempest” was awarded the Latvian National Film Prize “Lielais Kristaps” as the best short fiction film of the year.

Estonian filmmaker Alesja Suzdaltseva will be working on her short film project “Coronation” (co-scriptwriter Nora Aleksandra Tsahkna). The story, set against the backdrop of Sami traditions, delves into a journey of coming of age, the strength of spirit, and the necessity of making difficult decisions when love confronts fear, and age-old traditions are tested by time.

Alesja Suzdaltseva, an Estonian director and storyteller, is known for her realistic tales set in fantasy worlds. She graduated from the Baltic Film, Media and Arts School as a film director. Her sci-fi short film “The Rise” has won 13 awards and screened at 22 festivals. She’s also directed 5 short films and two full-length documentary TV series in Arctic Norway beyond the Polar Circle. In 2023 Alesja represented Estonia at the Cannes Lions Young Lions Film Competition. Right now she is working as a director at Gorodenkoff Productions.

The Baltic Shorts Residency is organized by the Lithuanian Short Film Agency “Lithuanian Shorts”, which is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The residency is sponsored by Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture, partners – Kintai Arts, PÖFF Shorts | Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Riga International Film Festival, Riga International Short Film Festival 2ANNAS and Latvian Animation Association.