Places to B: a new network to support medium-size festivals

Verzió International Human Rights Film Festival (Budapest, Hungary), Fipadoc International Documentary Film Festival (Biarritz, France) and Biografilm festival (Bologna, Italy) are launching a new network, Places to B – Biarritz, Bologna, Budapest. The three festivals, all with female leadership, share an interest in contemporary European creative documentary films and are committed to managing their activities transparently, and in supporting each other in producing sustainable and diverse international film festival events.

These festivals also share a common interest in nurturing up-and-coming European talents, with a specific focus on female filmmakers. They have also put in place a program to enhance the visibility of their supported projects.

The timing of the festivals – Verzió takes place in November, Fipadoc in January, and Biografilm in June – offers the opportunity for greater cooperation, and will allow film talents, who can develop their projects with the support of festival-run workshops, to present their works throughout the year.

Places to B is designed as a forthright platform for festival teams to discuss festival planning, joint awards, and outreach strategies. Christine Camdessus (festival director/Fipadoc), Leena Pasanen (artistic director/Biografilm) and Stefano Tealdi (pitching expert, head of studies/Biografilm) are supporting Verzió’s DocLab and pitching workshop by participating in the selection process, tutoring projects, and moderating the public pitching session. One of the winning Verzió DocLab projects, Me & Her directed by Eldar Basmanov and Ahmed Fouad Ragab, has been invited to pitch at Bio to B – Industry Days during Biografilm festival in June. Another winning project by Asia Dér, Noémi Szakonyi, Krisztina Meggyes and Máté Vincze, I Haven't Died, was awarded with travel, accommodation and free access to Fipadoc’s Industry Days in 2022. 

Verzió DocLab at the 18th Verzió was the first of the network’s joint activities. The workshop was closed by a pitching forum held on 12 November at the Blinken OSA, with tutors from partner festivals. Thanks to this collaboration, internationally-renowned experts will be in Budapest to extend their support to documentary filmmakers at the most critical juncture in post-production — before their films are released to the festival circuit and beyond.

Oksana Sarkisova, director of Verzió, emphasizes that the network serves multiple communities: «We are starting the new network to exchange our know-how and best practices which will benefit not only the participating festivals, but also emerging documentary talents and our audiences. By running eco-conscious and gender-balanced events, we create platforms where filmmakers and audiences can interact in an open, safe, and creative environment.»

The festivals will also cooperate on further developing already established good practices, such as creating an eco-friendly event, ensuring a gender balance, developing transparent selection mechanisms, and building engaging educational programs.

«To have a female director and to be based in a city with a name starting with B is not compulsory,” – Leena Pasanen, director of Biografilm festival, explains. – Despite of our playful name, we welcome other medium-size festivals to our network, as long as they share our goals and commitments.»

Places to B is an open network that invites other festivals willing to commit to transparency and cooperation for producing vivid, diverse and eco-friendly cultural activities.
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Cover photo: Leena Pasanen (Biografilm), Oksana Sarkisova (Verzió), Christine Camdessus (Fipadoc), photo by Zoltán Adrián