March 5 2020. Yianna Sarri, head of Thessaloniki’s Agora Doc Market, laid out the measures put in place to deliver an effective business event despite the postponement of the Thessaloniki Doc Fest due to concerns over coronavirus.
“These days are pretty weird but it was our chance to show fast reflexes. The three main Agora Doc Market pillars will still take place exclusively online, for the first time. The Agora Doc Market with 400 documentaries from all over the world will be available for 2 months. The Agora Thessaloniki Pitching Forum with 12 projects and the Agora Docs in Progress with 11 projects will be presented to their respective juries and a selection of industry professionals, that would have been present in the screenings, in the next week,” she told Business Doc Europe.
“We will even announce on Thursday March 12 – as it was initially planned – the Agora Doc Market Awards. We only have to wait a few months to meet each other again in Thessaloniki in person and continue what was sadly lost in this edition – fruitful meetings and good humoured networking!”
The Agora statement reads in full:
“After the postponement of the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, a significant part of the initiatives and projects hosted by Agora Doc Market, the development branch of the Festival, will be carried out online with the support of the European program Creative Europe MEDIA.
“Specifically, three main initiatives of the Agora Doc Market will take place in the next few days.
1. The Thessaloniki Pitching Forum, a co-production and co-financing platform for creative, television and new media documentaries. Twelve projects are presented. This new initiative by TDF aims to boost production in Southeast Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle Eastern regions. The awards of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum are: The Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award (2,000 euro), the ERT – Thessaloniki Pitching Forum Award (2,000 euro) to a Greek project, the Mediterranean Film Institute Award (MFI Script2Film Workshop), that offers a DocLab scholarship worth 2,500 euro, as well as accommodation in Nisyros and Rhodes islands where the MFI takes place). Further awards are: the DAE – Documentary Association of Europe Award (Consultation and free membership), the Aylon Productions Digital Services Award (Digitization by Aylon Productions) and the Beldocs Award (Accommodation and Accreditation for the next International Documentary Festival Beldocs).
2. The Agora Doc Market presents the Agora Docs in Progress: 11 projects from South-eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region participate in closed sessions exclusively for Thessaloniki’s accredited industry professionals, sales agents, distributors, producers and festival programmers. The post production company Two Thirty Five offers the main DiP award (post-production services), which is accompanied by a free accreditation and accommodation for the Visions du Réel festival in April. The MuSou company offers an award for music and sound services and the Greek Film Centre offers an award of 3,000 euro in cash. For the first time, Neaniko Plano will present an award for Subtitling.
3. In collaboration with Cinando, the Agora presents its digital video library, giving the opportunity to accredited industry professionals, sales agents, distributors, producers and festival programmers from all over the world to watch and evaluate documentaries from Greece and abroad, in order to include them in their festival programs.
“We want to thank the participants of the Agora Doc Market, the filmmakers, the jury members and the award sponsors, who, after the announcement that the TDF is postponed, agreed to continue their work via the Internet.
“Ten documentary experts (TV commissioners, festival representatives and sales agents) from all over the world, defying the challenges of time zones, will take part in the online pitching session of the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum.
“The Agora awards will be announced on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Good luck to all the projects!
“The Festival continues to consider the prospect of hosting the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival at the end of May/beginning of June. We monitor the situation with the coronavirus in Greece and abroad, we are in coordination with the competent authorities and we examine every possible solution.”