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RIGA IFF Announces Open Call for Competition Sections
The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) is opening submissions for features, shorts, and music videos to its six competition sections. All submissions will be free of charge for one month, until 17 April. The festival will take place this autumn from 14 to 24 October.   The festival’s main award The RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition is the festival's central event. This year, it will once again bring together current, artistically outstanding films from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries that expand the language of cinema. A jury of international film professionals will award the winner of this competition with the RIGA IFF “Rooster”, a bronze statuette in eight parts as well as a cash prize.   A wider film programme for the youngest audience members The popular KIDS WEEKEND section has now become KIDS' REEL. It has not only outgrown its weekend slot, but now also incorporates two international competitions. The films selected for the feature and the short competition will be judged by members of the European Children's Film Association (ECFA), and the winners will be nominated for ECFA awards. The nomination gives these films the chance to win the award for best European short or feature film.   SHORT RIGA – creative short films from around the world The eighth RIGA IFF continues to look for brilliant and creative short films for the SHORT RIGA International, National and Baltic Music Video competitions. Films selected for the SHORT RIGA International and National competitions will also compete to receive a nomination for a European award. This section of the festival is looking for short films in different genres from all over the world that will not only compete for the RIGA IFF “Silver Grass Snake” award and a cash prize, but also for a nomination for the European Film Academy’s (EFA) European Short Film 2021 award. The BALTIC MUSIC VIDEO Competition (BMV) section is unique in the region and continues to prove that music videos are an independent, exciting and creative format in their own right. The section will feature works that broaden the understanding of the language and possibilities of music videos. The competition screening will be attended by filmmakers, an international jury and audience members who will weigh in on the winner of the third RIGA IFF "Silver Grass Snake" award. Further information about submission regulations and deadlines can be found on The Riga International Film Festival will take place for the eighth time in 2021. Over the years, it has become one of the most important international film events in Latvia and the Baltic region, with broad, high-quality programming intended for both audiences and film professionals. RIGA IFF is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Riga City Council.
RIGA IFF Announces Internship Positions
The Riga International Film Festival, which will take place from 14 to 24 October this year, announces that applications for internships are now open. There are internship positions in various areas of the festival such as in the Communications Department, Audience & Guest Services, as well as positions to assist the festival’s curators. Working in an internship position at the festival is versatile and interdisciplinary, and interns gain insight into a variety of fields. The internships are aimed both at students in culture-related fields as well as for students in other fields. The internships will be adapted to the current epidemiological situation and trends in the job market making it possible to carry out all tasks remotely. Last year’s festival shows that working remotely is not an obstacle to becoming a fully integrated team member, or to executing all internship duties. The internship will take place in two cycles – from April to July and from August to October. Applications for internship positions are open until 28 March . Applications will be considered and responded to during the first week of April. Interviews will be arranged with the selected applicants. More information about the internship periods in various RIGA IFF departments, requirements and the skills that can be acquired through the internship can be found on the festival website: (Latvian only).
RIGA IFF announces 2021 dates and publishes video archive
Events at RIGA IFF 2020 brought together many film industry professionals, experts and cinema-goers - both in person and online. As of today, video recordings of the most engaging public discussions, lectures and interviews have been compiled into an archive that can be found on the festival website. In the autumn of 2021, the festival will once again invite audiences to enjoy an extensive program dedicated to both cinema lovers and industry professionals from 14 to 24 October. To round off a season characterised by the ability to identify and accept the unknown, an overview of the 2020 festival has also been published alongside video recordings of the festival’s events. In the 2020 video archive you can, amongst others, view the following: A masterclass by Director Gints Zilbalodis, director of the internationally acclaimed feature film “Away”; Inspirational lectures by international augmented reality professionals, which were a part of RIGA IFF GOES XR; ARCHITECT'S CUT Guest Curator Viesturs Celmiņš’ discussion with Architects Sintija Vaivadis and Evelīna Ozola; A discussion on climate change organised in cooperation with the Latvian Fund for Nature that took place after the screening of the film “Aniara”; Interviews with a total of 25 directors who participated in the SHORT RIGA program; Green Charter For Film Festivals – a lecture series about sustainable filmmaking and organising environmentally friendly cinema events. You can access the archive at RIGA IFF is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the EU Creative Europe – MEDIA program, the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Riga City Council.  
33rd European Film Awards Presented Virtually From 8 to 12 December
Today marks the beginning of the 33rd European Film Awards (EFA) which will be presented as a series of virtual events every evening at 21:00 (Latvia time) from 8 to 12 December. Riga International Film Festival is an official livestream partner of the EFA and all events can be watched below.  The ceremony honours the achievements of European cinema in various categories and welcomes outstanding European filmmakers. Among the nominees (explore the full list here) a host of films screened during RIGA IFF 2020 can be found – Undine, Martin Eden, Berlin Alexanderplatz, to name a few.  Perhaps most importantly, Regina Pessoa's Uncle Thomas, Accounting For The Days is the European Short Film Award candidate selected at RIGA IFF 2019 and the winner will be announced on Thursday, 10 December. The programme kicks off on Tuesday, 8 December, with a discussion dedicated to the re-structuring, re-engineering and re-aligning the European film industry – “From Survival to Revival: Building the Post-Covid Future” (with Mark Cousins, Agnieszka Holland, Kirsten Niehuus and Thomas Vinterberg).  From 9 to 11 December during the “EFAs at Eight” various awards will be presented, save for the main EFA categories. On 12 December the awards in Film, Documentary, Discovery, Director, Actress, Actor, Screenwriter, Innovative Storytelling categories will be presented. Full programme can be explored at the European Film Awards website. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden; max-width: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }
A Celebration of Cinema in Person and Online across Latvia – the Seventh Riga International Film Festival Concludes and Announces the Winners
The seventh Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) ended on Sunday 25 October. This year, the festival lineup consisted of 129 films in 10 thematic programs and was presented in a new format – films were available for viewing in person as well as online across Latvia. Viewers in Riga, Jurmala, Ogre, Liepaja and Valmiera used the festival's online screenings most frequently. Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s drama Conference (Konferentsiya, Russia), a film about overcoming post-traumatic stress disorder over the course of many years and coming to terms with a tragic event, won the festival's feature film competition's main prize. In their statement, the jury describes the film as “tackling the complicated issues of memory, fear and guilt in a very precise and restricted fashion. It manages to strike an impressive balance between perfectionistic aesthetics and a portraiture of characters that are fundamentally human in their moral imperfection”. It has to be mentioned that this is not the first time that the director receives an award at RIGA IFF – in 2016, Tverdovsky's Zoology became an audience favourite. Working remotely this year, the jury commented on their festival experience in videos that are available below. Videos of the competition winners' speeches as well as speeches by other directors whose films screened at RIGA IFF this year can also be seen on the website. Liene Treimane, the Director of RIGA IFF: "This year has proven that a festival can be different. Cinephiles can still come together despite having to watch films on screens in their homes and having to distance and observe the multiple restrictions that have been imposed on cinemas. This year, we created a festival like none of us had ever experienced before: it was made up of 129 films in 66 in-person and 50 online screenings, and countless online meetings with film professionals from around the world. I would like to extend a special thank you to the festival’s daring team, including the over 100 tireless volunteers, as well as to all of our viewers.” The FEATURE FILM COMPETITION programme included eight films from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries. This programme combined outstanding narrative and documentary features, as well as the long-awaited national premiere of the surreal tragicomedy What Silent Gerda Knows (Ko zina Klusā Gerda, Latvia). The feature films were judged by an international jury – director and producer Laila Pakalniņa, Marge Liiske, Head of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event at the Black Nights Film Festival, Dmitrij Gluscevskij, a Programmer at the European Film Forum Scanorama in Lithuania, Eva Markovits a Film Programmer at the legendary Cinémathèque Française, and Theo Tsappos from the Swedish Film Institute. The main prize at RIGA IFF is the festival’s symbol – a bronze cast of the Rooster of Riga created by artist Ervins Broks. The prize is made up of 8 parts as a reminder that a film can only be created as a collaboration. The director of the winning feature will also receive a cash prize of 2,000 euros, generously supplied by the insurance company BALTA. The jury’s special mention goes to director Illum Jacobi’s reflection on philosopher Edmund Burke, in The Trouble with Nature (Denmark, France) – a subtle satire, under the guise of a costume drama, on humans’ relationship with the wildness of flora and fauna. Nadja Andrasev's animated short film Symbiosis (France) won the International Competition of the short film section SHORT RIGA, which tells the story of a deceived woman who begins to investigate her husband's lovers. Alise Zariņa's short film II Lines (Divas strīpiņas, Latvia) won the SHORT RIGA National Competition, a film in which six male actors relive 12 women’s personal stories about abortion. The winners of both competitions were selected by Wim Vanacker, a member of the Selection Committee for the Official Short Film Competition of the Cannes Film Festival, Signe Birkova, a Director and Co-founder of the Baltic Analog Lab, and Mikhail Zheleznikov, an organiser and curator of the experimental film festival Kinodot. The winners of both SHORT RIGA competitions will receive the prize Zalktis created by artist Maija Vītola. The winner of the international competition will additionally receive a cash prize of 1,000 euros supplied by the insurance company BALTA. Since 2019 Riga International Film Festival and the SHORT RIGA section are one of 24 film institutions in the world who are able to put forward candidates for the prestigious European Film Awards nomination. This year's RIGA IFF Short Film Candidate for the European Film Awards is Gabriel Böhmer’s Push This Button if You Begin to Panic (UK) – using experimental animation techniques, the film tells the story of a person reconciling with their illness. For the sixth year in a row, the Baltic Music Video Competition took place as part of the SHORT RIGA section – this competition is unique to the Baltic States and offers viewers a professional overview of this specific artistic genre. The main prize of this competition, and the third SHORT RIGA Zalktis, was awarded to the video Kapapuu by the group Puuluup made by Zbanski Kino, while special jury mention was given to Bruises On Her Legs directed by Igne Narbutaite and Kabloonak, performed by Kabloonak. The Splendid Palace cinema presented the Audience Award to director Andrey A. Tarkovsky Jr.’s documentary reflection on his father, legendary film director Andrey Tarkovsky. Viewers will be able to watch Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer (Italy, Russia, Sweden) again at a special screening at Splendid Palace on 31 October at 15:30. The children's jury also selected their favourite out of the RIGA IFF family film competition KIDS WEEKEND. The young experts presented their main award to Mischa Kamp's Romy's Salon (Kapsalon Romy, Netherlands), a film about the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter. This year’s RIGA IFF FORUM – a series of events dedicated to both professionals and newcomers to the film industry – took place entirely online for the first time and brought together participants from all over the world. A discussion about the opportunities that “alternative” realities could bring to education and a 28-hour hackathon took place at RIGA IFF GOES XR, and professionals from the Baltic Sea Region and the Nordic countries could study the production of television series in depth at MAGNETIC SERIES. At a discussion about the GREEN CHARTER initiative, solutions for sustainable and climate-friendly cinema were looked at, and creative short film projects were presented at the SHORT RIGA Test Screenings, whereas the BALTIC ANIMATION MEET-UP provided participants with an opportunity to network and expand their knowledge of the field of animation. RIGA IFF took place from 15 to 25 October in person at the Splendid Palace cinema and the National Library of Latvia, and was available online throughout Latvia. A number of lectures, discussions and other events were also available for viewing during the festival, the recordings of which are available for viewing on the festival's YouTube channel. RIGA IFF is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the EU Creative Europe – MEDIA program, the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Riga City Council.
RIGA IFF 2020: Owning the Unknown
Changes affect everyone, and significant changes can rarely be neatly planned in advance, or pencilled in on kitchen calendars. Although unforeseen things happen regularly, almost everyone has had to face this fact of life in the last few months. What can a film festival do in the current circumstances? How should festival creators, spectators, and filmmakers respond? You can identify the unknown, accept it and make it your own. You can recognise that whatever plans you make, anything else might happen instead. One planned scenario is replaced by the next. And they are all ours, both those that have happened and those that are still to come. Through art, we long to experience the unusual and the unexpected. We empathise with and live through others. We are captivated by watching protagonists and the medium of film itself stand in front of the unknown, confidently take the first step and somehow find the right path. We have a choice to perceive the world’s complexities and changes in a variety of ways – with exasperation, suspicion, or serenity. We can also choose to perceive the world with confidence, with a knowledge that we are not captives of the current circumstances, but rather that this experience belongs to us. And that we can do whatever we want with it. It is with this confidence that RIGA IFF announces that it will take place for the seventh time this year, from 15-25 October. The festival will gather viewers, filmmakers and film professionals to  once more face the unknown and make it their own. We invite our audiences to awaken their desire for adventure and discovery, because this year will be rich in innovations. Innovations will weave through the programming as well as the format – the festival is ready to take place both in person and online, depending on what the unknown future will bring. One thing is clear – the festival will take place and will further its mission without compromising on quality.     RIGA IFF 2020 will open sales for 10-ticket packages on 19 May. This is a great opportunity for enthusiasts to secure tickets early at a good price thereby reserving a place at this year’s festival where they will be able to encounter bold, new forms of cinema and storytelling and expand the boundaries of their perception. The unknown surrounds us, in cinema as in life. Let’s observe, let’s allow for the unknown to reveal itself, let’s adjust and let’s be brave. Let there be an even better and fuller life. Let the festival take place again and let it be re-invented. RIGA IFF 2020, 15-25 October.