The international documentary fair Sunny Side of the Doc has closed its doors on another successful event for the Basque film industry. The rejuvenated image of the Basque Audiovisual Stand, organized by the Etxepare Basque Institute, Eiken cluster and Zineuskadi, was well received, and representatives from Etxepare and Eiken were at the stand to answer questions.
Fifteen Basque film production companies attended the fair this year in La Rochelle, France, from June 24th to 27th: three from Navarre, one from the French Basque Country and 11 from the Basque Autonomous Community. There were more representatives than ever, 23 in total, at the Basque Audiovisual stand. Catherine Ulmer, coordinator of the Lau Haizeetara Coproduction forum sponsored every year by the Ibaia association at the San Sebastian International Film festival, joined the group of Basque producers and event organizers.
The 15 Basque film production companies at this year’s the Sunny Side of the Doc were: Arena Comunicación, On Produkzioak, Gastibeltza Filmak, Media Attack, Sonora Estudios, Haruru Filmak-Kooperatiba, Komiki Films S.L., Pimpi & Nella Films, Fascina Producciones, Taui Media S.L., Maluta FIlms, Tentazioa Produkzioak, Sincro Producción and Brisney S.L.
All the Basque producers and filmmakers at the fair came away with a positive impression of the experience and the business opportunities. “We made the most of our time there,” said Alfredo Torrescalles of Fascina Producciones, “having planned our meetings in advance”. This is becoming common practice at fairs if this type since it leaves less to improvisation. Iratxe Fresneda from Pinpi & Nella Films said: “We met a lot of decision makers at the fair. Producers from Canada, Scotland and Spain were the most interested”. The event was also a success for ON Produkzioak. “We signed distribution contacts for our documentary Bolante baten istoria,” said Iban Toledo. Although Emana films did not enter into any agreements, Miguel Gómez pointed out that “the fair allowed us to make very interesting contacts with whom we expect to sign production agreements in the future”. In conclusion, “The Basque film production companies reported that the experience at the most important documentary fair in the world was very fruitful”, said Alex Aginagalde, audiovisual technician at the Etxepare Basque Institute.
A networking breakfast also took place at the Basque Audiovisual stand during the fair between members from the Celtic Stand – BBC Alba (Scottish Gaelic TV), TG4 (Irish Gaelic TV), Northern Irish TV, and five production companies from Scotland, Wales and Ireland – and 11 Basque film producers. Catherine Ulmer assessed the meeting positively: “I think it’s a great idea, as many coproduction opportunities have come out of it”.
The Basque audiovisual sector is gaining greater recognition every year at some of the world’s leading fairs and festivals, a fact that became patent at this year’s Sunny Side of the Doc.