MEDIMED is a market for the audiovisual industry where pre-sales and sales of finished projects and documentaries are made. The 15th edition of MEDIMED, which has the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, was held at Hotel Calipolis in Sitges (Spain) on 17, 18 and 19 October. This is a really unique business space designed to facilitate creative and professional exchange between independent producers, broadcasters and distributors, in order to promote co-production of documentaries in European and southern Mediterranean countries.
The importance of this initiative is that it is the only international market for documentaries organized in Catalonia and one of the few in Spain. Over 300 professionals from more than 50 European, American and Asian countries presented their latest productions, and there was also a selection of 28 projects seeking funding.
Calipolis Hotel in Sitges
On the MEDIMED website you can find more details, but beyond the very interesting market that encourages production of audiovisual documentaries, what we want to highlight here is a new initiative that started this year: the MEDIMED Cross Training. I was invited to be an observer and participate in a talk at this event, so here is my chronicle of the event.
This year, aware of the increase in crossmedia and transmedia contents in the international community, the organisation decided to create MEDIMED Cross Training. Basically conceived as a workshop to boost projects at different stages of development, it is a unique opportunity to contrast projects with an elite group of mentors from around the world. This was a big chance for six projects to make a quantum leap in this intensive two-day workshop.
Capri Hotel in Sitges
The program has a set of masterclasses to address key issues and a series of half hour meetings to cover the details of each project and refine future possibilities for co-production. The event was perfectly coordinated by Tània Balló with help from her team from the production company intropíaMedia. Among the experts who formed the elite group of mentors were Gerry Flahive (National Film Board of Canada, Modern Story), Amélie Leenhart (Tribeca Film Institute), Clint Beharry (Harmony Institute), Théo Le Du (Cosmographik), Miguel Campos (Spanish TV, Audiovisual Innovation Laboratory), Ferran Clavell (Catalan Interactive Corporation), Jordi Martin and Toni Camacho (Ubisoft). The event was moderated by Alex Pearson.
Six projects had the chance to boost their development. Below is a summary of each of these projects.
Bugarach is a documentary film produced by Ventura Durall, Salvador Sunyer and Sergi Cameron (Nanouk Films) which in only a few months has been at the most important festivals throughout the world. Cameron is now leading the webdoc, a docu-game that places the user in a unique village which was supposedly conceived to be the last place to remain after the Mayan cataclysm. But no one took the warning of Bugarach seriously until the world was coming to an end. In early 2012, the citizens of this small town in southern France went to church, swam in lakes and voted in the upcoming presidential elections in their country. But during the growing paranoia and doomsday prophecies, Bugarach is the last and only place on the planet to survive. History records worldwide attention, attracting interest from the international media, mystics, prophets and all those seeking an opportunity for salvation and redemption.
Bugarach, the movie
The webdoc format positions the user in Bugarach one year before the end of the world. The purpose of this project is to create a game to go through the actual space with a clear objective: to survive the end of the world. The game allows users to move through the village, entering the homes of the characters or exploring the woods for clues and hidden characters.
Las Sinsombrero is a project directed by Tània Balló and Serrana Torres (Intropía Media) aimed at rescuing from oblivion the women who belong to the most important artistic generation in Spanish history, known as the Generation of 27. In 1914, a group of intelligent and courageous women who fought for women’s rights in Spain emerged. Their legacy allowed, a few years later, their more advantaged students (1927) to be released from their corsets, understood not so much as a piece of clothing but as an intellectual and social limitation that constrained their role to mothers and wives. This release led to a repositioning within the intellectual and cultural life of Spain in the 20s and 30s.
The life and legacy of these women are fundamental for understanding the culture and history of a country that never reclaimed them. Their relentless fight and talent made them the most important generation of female thinkers and artists of Spanish cultural history. Among them were Victoria Kent, Margarita Nelken, Mary Maeztu, Clara Campoamor, Lejárraga Maria, Maria and Carmen Baroja Goyri, central axes of all female consciousness returned to the woman’s world and dignity, and major influencers of María Teresa León, Shell Mendez, Maruja Mallo, Ernestina de Champourcin, Röesset Margarita Gil, María Zambrano, Holy Angels, Josefina de la Torre and Remedios Varo.
This project is in an advanced stage of development, composed by a linear documentary, a webdoc, an educational platform, a wiki and other parts waiting for funding to be produced. The project will be available in early 2015.
No estamos solos [We are not alone] is a film and interactive project created by Lucia Andujar (Various Issues and Questions). Although the interactive part is in an early stage of development, the project builds maps of activists who through their efforts have managed to transform their anger into a source of inspiration in Spain. Ordinary people who decided to take action to change the status quo in a country beaten down by a ferocious crisis.
No estamos solos
The project explores the reasons and dreams of the people who made the anonymous crowd take to the streets of several cities through their personal and collective activities. The audiovisual film has already been recorded and is in an advanced stage of edition, whereas now Lucia is working on creating a collaborative platform with the idea that it will develop an active community around the issue generated.
Perfeminist is a tansmedia documentary directed by Marta Figueras and Aritz Cirbián (Compact), a feminist protest movement, a struggle to fight gender inequality. Perfeminist is a group that aims to create awareness among women in every way and does not leave anyone indifferent to their art forms, including the violation of the body and breaking stereotypes. One proposal is to carry out a revolution in the streets around the sexual freedom of women, their knowledge of their own gender.
The Earth Masters is a project by Alba Sotorra and Maialen Galarraga (FemmeFilms) which aims to find the ultimate solution to climate collapse. Scientists and engineers are investigating ways to manipulate the cloud cover of the Earth, changing the chemical composition of the oceans and the planet’s surface with a layer of particles reflecting the sunlight. The Earth Masters explores how far we are willing to go to maintain our unsustainable lifestyles, offering a deep reflection to change our view of what surrounds us as a single species.
The Earth Masters
UNOS [Ones] is a project directed by David Losada and Paola Rey (Maloka Media). A story of amazing stories of life projects that do not fit the established model, in accordance with family, society, friends, etc. Five different stories in five different places that connect at the same point of breaking the established social rules. The protagonists are brave characters that do not conform to their usual comfort zone and have therefore decided to change the direction of their life and reality.
Summing up, what happened during the event was that the participants experienced two exciting days where only the best six projects were chosen. Therefore, a few selected Spanish producers had the opportunity to work closely with experts, investors and broadcasters in a relaxed, intimate and exclusive atmosphere. Teams were literally “locked” (in the best sense of the word) for two days in an exclusive and typical Catalan hotel, 50 meters from the beach. This led to intense contact with mentors and organization, access to some other MEDIMED initiatives and, due to the place the event was held – Sitges – the opportunity to swim at the beautiful beach. And a few did…
I believe this initiative was an effective mix of debates, panel discussions, case studies and networking events that created an atmosphere that allowed projects and teams to connect with the real world. Each project advanced significantly during these 48 intensive hours.
This is the fourth initiative in Spain concerning interactive and transmedia documentary during 2014, after interDocsBarcelona, “Como se hace un webdoc” [How we produce a webdoc] and Docs 21. Festival Documental Narrativas Digitales [Docs 21. Documentary Digital Narratives Festival]. We are definitely lucky in Spain!