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                                                                                                                     Thursday 16 May 2019

               audiences are those which are suitable for a family.”
               While domestic success has been intensely satisfying, there                               FIVE FILMS TO WATCH
               has also been increasing interest in Latvian films on an
               international scale. One of the highlights of the year will                              A CITY BY THE RIVER
               undoubtedly be Oleg, directed by Juris Kursietis, screening
               as part of Directors’ Fortnight, and produced by Tasse Film.                             Director, Viestur Kairish; Producer, Guntis
               The Latvian, Lithuanian, Belgian and French co-production                                Trekteris; Production Company, Ego Media, 2020.
               follows the titular character who gets a job in Brussels only to   FIVE PRODUCERS TO WATCH  Told from the late 1930s until the end of World
               find his non-citizen status will mean that he will sink to some                          War II, the   lm tells the story of a sign painter
               of the lowest depths.                          AIJA BĒRZI A                              who must do the bidding of whatever regime
               Finnish, Latvian and Czech co-production Dogs Don’t Wear   AND ALISE  ELZE                 nds itself in power. A story of how to stick to
               Pants, directed by J-P Valkeapää, will also screen in Directors’    TASSE FILM           one’s principles without actually betraying
               Fortnight. The film — a minority co-production with Tasse                                anyone.
               Film — was shot in Latvia.                     With Oleg due to screen in Directors’ Fortnight,
               “This year’s Cannes will provide a great opportunity for the   alongside the minority co-production Dogs
               industry to discover more from talented Latvian director Juris   Don’t Wear Pants, Tasse Film is set to have a   JELGAVA 94
               Kursietis whose film Oleg follows 2014’s Modris, which was   very successful and visible Cannes. Looking to   Director, Janis Abele; Producer, Antra Cilinska;
               also a huge success on the festival circuit,” Rietuma says.   build upon the success of the likes of Mellow   Production Company, Juris Podnieks Studio.
               “We’re also delighted that Inese Boka Grube of Mistrus Media   Mud (2016) which screened in Berlin’s
               was selected by European Film Promotion to be part of   Generation 14Plus — where it took home the   Taking us into the life of teenagers in a small
               Producers on the Move.”                        Crystal Bear — Tasse Film has a reputation for   Latvian city during 1994, the   lm follows the life
               Outside of Cannes, Latvia is looking forward to more   producing fi lms that resonates with a diversity   of Jānis who is trying to   nd his place in the
               international visibility over the coming year. Fresh from a   of international audiences.  world.    is is not only a coming-of-age story but
               May retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the                                   the portrait of the 1990s generation in Latvia that
               aforementioned Laila Pakalnina will release her latest   INESE BOKA GRŪBE                grew up as the country entered its ‘second
               documentary The Spoon, due to play in competition at a   AND GINTS GRŪBE                 independence’.
               major European film festival that will be announced in the    MISTRUS MEDIA
               coming weeks.                                                                            NOTHING CAN STOP US NOW
                                                              Mistrus Media’s slate has already had an
               FESTIVALS BOOST DOCS                           impressive showing on the festival circuit over   Director, Andris Gauja; Producer, Andris Gauja;
               Another major name in documentary filmmaking will also   the past few years with Breathing into Marble   Production Company, Riverbed, 2019.
               fly the flag for Latvia over the coming months. Ukrainian-  (2018) premiering in Karlovy Vary’s East of the   After falling for his intern, Ralfs, an eccentric
               Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky, who now resides in Latvia,   West competition in 2018 and The Chronicles   music producer, convinces his wife, lover and
               recently had his film Gorbachev. The Last Word funded by   of Melanie debuting as part of Tallinn Black   teenage daughter to live together under the same
               the NFC. The film comes hot on the heels of the massive   Nights Film Festival in 2016. Their latest   roof. When Ralfs’ wife   nds out that his lover is
               success of Putin’s Witnesses.                  feature is The Mover (2019), a World War II   pregnant, his relationship experiment turns into a
               Mansky is also famous for organising the Artdocfest, a festival   story of a an ordinary Latvian man who   ruthless psychological battleground and Ralfs is
               showcasing the very best Russian documentaries. This is now   shelters persecuted Jews, that has already   forced to decide what he’s willing to sacri  ce in
               brought to Latvia every year as the full Artdocfest competition   screened in Munich and Moscow and will   order to retain custody of his daughter.
               is shown as part of the Riga International Film Festival, the   screen in the Cannes market on 16 May.
               country’s largest film festival which also has a fulsome                                 WHAT SILENT GERDA KNOWS
               programme of features, shorts and industry events.  ROBERTS VINOVSKIS
               “Documentaries are also well served by Baltic Sea Docs,    LOCOMOTIVE                    Director, Yevgeni Pashkevich; producer, Yevgeni
               organised by the National Film Centre for over two decades.   PRODUCTIONS                Pashkevich, Nida Filma, 2019.
               The international and established platform for documentary                                  e   lm is set in the present day in a cultural and
               filmmakers screens films as well as bringing many important   Visnovkis has forged a strong relationship with   ethnographic reserve in Latvia, where the
               movers and shakers in the documentary world to the region,”   director Aik Karapetian who has released a   material world and atmosphere of the 1930s has
               Rietuma says.                                  number of genre fi lms, something of a rarity   been recreated as fully as possible. Upon entering
               Animation is also an integral part of the Latvian film industry,   for the Baltic regions. Among them are the   the retreat, guests are required to leave behind all
               with two features ready for 2019. These are Edmunds Jansons’   psychological thriller Firstborn (2017) and the   the accessories of modern life — clothing,
               Jēkabs, Mimi and the Talking Dogs, the very first Latvian-  bloody horror The Man in the Orange Jacket   vehicles and means of communication. A sudden
               Polish co-production which has already sold to numerous   (2014). He will also produce My Love Affair   summer heat wave drives the guests into madness,
               territories. The Estonian-Latvian co-production Lotte and the   with Marriage (2019), the eagerly awaited   and the surreal and burlesque situation turns into
               Lost Dragons, directed by Heiki Ernits, Janno Põldma,   follow-up to Rocks In My Pockets (2014) from   the opposite of drama.
               continues the popular franchise as it unites the animation teams   renowned Latvian animator Signe Baumane.
               of two Baltic countries. Gints Zilbalodis’ 3D feature Away,                              BLIZZARD OF SOULS
               described as a one-man animation project, will make its debut    JĀNIS KALĒJS
               in competition at Annecy.                      AND IVO CEPLEVIČS                         Director, Dzintars Dreibergs; Producers, Dzintars
               Like its Baltic cousins, Latvia continues to court international    FILM ANGELS PRODUCTION   Dreibergs and Inga Pra evska; Production
               productions and offers strong incentives for people to come                              Company, Kult  lma, 2019.
               and film in the country. Indeed, Latvia was the first of the   Film Angels has been behind a number of      e love story of sixteen-year-old Arturs is
               Baltic countries to introduce a cash rebate in 2013. Since then   domestic successes including Homo Novus   interrupted by the World War I and — after
               more than 40 international projects have been completed   (2018) — the biggest domestic fi lm of 2018   facing tragedy — he joins the army. But war is
               with the support of Latvia’s two cash rebate funding sources   — and the upbeat comedy Sangarid (2017).    nothing like Arturs imagines as he discovers his
               operated by the National Film Centre and Riga Film Fund                                  homeland is just a playground for other nations.
               (part of Riga City Council). After approving new regulations   SABĪNE ANDERSONE
               from the beginning of the year, it is now possible to combine    ATOM ART
               the funds from NFC’s Cash Rebate Scheme with the Riga
               Council’s Riga Film Fund funding. This rebate can reach up   Known for its success with animated shorts,
               to an impressive 50%.                          Atom Art will look to move into the feature-
               The biggest cash rebate project in 2018 was the TV show   fi lm world in 2019 with the release of
               Heirs of the Night from Lemming Film in The Netherlands,   animated feature Jacob, Mimmi and the
               which saw an expenditure in Latvia of around €3m. The   Talking Dogs by Edmunds Jansons.
               project was serviced by Tasse Film.✦

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