On Saturday the 27th of October, Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) announced this year’s winners, presenting the 2018 Best Film Award from the FEATURE FILM COMPETITION programme to Natalia Meshchaninova’s Core of the World – a film that according to the international jury boasts complete vision, exceptional execution and nuanced storytelling.
The Special Mention for “exceptional cinematography, whimsical storytelling and moving sound design” was given to the Norwegian director Jonas Matzow Gulbrandsen’s feature, Valley of Shadows.
The FEATURE FILM COMPETITION comprises films from the Baltic Sea region. The award is an eight-part sculpture that has been designed in cooperation with artist Ervins Broks which interprets the festival’s symbol as one of collaboration in filmmaking, and also an emblem of the city of Riga – a rooster. The award along with a 2000€ cash prize is made possible with the support of the festival’s partner, BALTA.
This year, the jury members were Rainer Sarnet, the winner of the 2017 RIGA IFF Best Film Award, Barbora Ligasova, the representative of the Czech film centre, Dorota Lech, Toronto International Film Festival programmer, Anna Motola, Head of the Love and Anarchy Helsinki International Film Festival as well as film producer Roberts Vinovskis.
FIPRESCI Latvian Section Jury gave their award to director Jesper Ganslandt’s feature film Jimmie, the story of 4-year-old Jimmie and “the chaos he is witness to, characterised by emotional close-up shots and non-linear narrative”.
The RIGA IFF Youth Jury also announced their picks on Saturday, granting the Youth Matters award to Anna’s War by Russian director Aleksey Fedorchenko. The members of the festival’s Youth Jury this year were Alberts Roze, Elza Marta Ruža, Pauls Rubens and Anete Dance.
The festival venue partner’s award – Splendid Palace People’s Choice – went to 7 Billion Years Before the End of the World, the debut feature from Latvian director Jānis Ābele, while the Creamcredit Special Award – a monetary award for a film in the RIGA IFF HOME MADE programme, was granted to To Be Continued – a documentary by Ivars Seleckis, with the aim of supporting the making of the film’s sequel. The film was previously also selected as the Latvian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
The main award of the international competition within the framework of the festival’s short film, experimental cinema and music video programme SHORT RIGA was awarded to Government House by Weiser Herwig. The international jury unanimously agreed: “The award deserved to be given to this socially motivated film that uses genre stylemes in a very peculiar and artistic way, always avoiding cliches. For being a socially motivated abstract horror film blending together performance art with a spooky sound design and a very accurate and extreme research on the mise en scène through an hypnotic light setting, the award goes to a picture that, in our opinion, is all what an experimental film should be, really experimental.”
There were also three Special Mentions – The Linden tree (dir. Arkesh Ajay) in the Live Action, Egg (dir. Martina Scarpelli) in the Animation and All Inclusive (dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilic) in the Documentary category.
The members of the SHORT RIGA International Jury were Per Fikse, the director of Minimalen Short Film Festival in Trondheim, Norway, Chintis Lundgren, animator and Chintis Lundgreni Animatsioonistuudio co-founder, Jānis Putniņš, director of the National Film School of the Latvian Academy of Culture, Ieva Viese-Vigula, Latvian writer and film critic as well as Enrico Vannucci, Short film advisor for the Venice and Quebec City Film Festivals.
The SHORT RIGA Baltic Music Video Competition (BMV) award was given to Zane Zelmene’s music video Space Hammer made for the band Kodek. According to the jury, “Zane Zelmene’s visceral, romantic portrayal of Latvia’s mystical Pokaini forest, shot in black-and-white with frenetic lightning effects fits the modular techno Kodek (real name Raivo Vainovskis) beautifully. The location is a superb choice – with much of Europe’s native forest demolished it’s a stark reminder of how vital and beautiful these places are and why we should keep them. It also serves to enhance the appeal of Kodek, and Zelmene stands out as a promising visual artist in her own right.”
The BMV Jury members were Jessica Manstetten, curator of the MuVi Prize competition programme and MuVi International programme at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, musician Juris Simanovičs, audiovisual media artist, VJ INA VARE, teacher of the Advertising Design programme at the Riga School of Design and Art, Inese Vēriņa-Lubiņa, editor of the music webzine Gigwise, Cai Trefor and Intsikurmu producer Kristine Kebbinau.
The RIGA IFF Children’s Jury gave the Kids Jury Award prize to Christian Lo’s Los Bando. When asked to back her choice, 11-year-old jury member Krista says: “I want to thank the Norwegian film-making crew for making a film as nice as Los Bando, a film filled with music, that takes you on a journey throughout the whole of Norway. The film inspired me to have the courage to dream and to not be afraid to make those dreams come true. After watching Los Bando, I realized that it takes certain skills to develop a friendship and that you always have to be honest with your friends, because if not with them, then who else?” The festival has also acquired rights for the film’s theatrical release in Latvia.
This year’s Children’s Jury members were Arvena Lote Kravčenko, Jēkabs Blanks, Nils Klaverī, Krista Kušķe, Linda Saviča, Žanete Blanka, Ieva Bille, Kate Štāla.
The fifth edition of RIGA IFF is taking place from October 18 – 31. The festival consists of twelve film programmes, diverse industry events and a selection of thought provoking public discussions.
The RIGA IFF is supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia, the European Commission’s programme Creative Europe – MEDIA, the National Film Centre of Latvia, and the Riga City Council.