13 – 23 October | RIGA IFF
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News

RIGA IFF Sets Dates for Co-production Market and Invites Participants
RIGA IFF Showcase is a series of industry screenings, film and series project pitches that is set to take place from 20 – 22 October on-site in Riga. With the aim of representing the local film industry, the event, which was previously held online under the name of Latvian Film Showcase, will return this year covering a broader region to include upcoming films and series from the Baltic countries and Ukraine. RIGA IFF Showcase – a compact and accessible event – is a valuable meeting platform for building new bridges with the Baltic film industry and obtaining a perspective of carefully selected Ukrainian works. The event takes place over three days and will include project pitches for films and series in development, pre-production, production, or post-production, closed industry screenings of works that have recently been completed, as well as networking events. Filmmakers with majority productions from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, or Ukraine can submit their projects and completed films / series until 29 August 23.59 (EEST). A confirmation email to the selected project submitters will be sent no later than 5 September, 2022. RIGA IFF cordially invites distributors, sales representatives, producers, and other professionals to attend the RIGA IFF Showcase! Please email showcase@rigaiff.lv for more information about the event as well as travel and accommodation arrangements. RIGA IFF Showcase is supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia.
RIGA IFF Launches This Year’s Visual Identity and Announces the First Films
The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF), which is returning this autumn for the ninth time with an extensive film programme and a wide range of industry events, is announcing this year's theme and visual identity. The festival will take place from 13 to 23 October and will offer its audiences a diverse and high-quality cinematic experience. Some of the films in the official programme have been selected from the world's biggest film festivals, others are world premieres of local films or the creative visions by exceptional filmmakers. The programme features six competitions and will be shown in over 100 screenings in Riga and throughout Latvia (both in person and online). The festival will also feature a programme of events organised in collaboration with Kyiv Critics' Week that will include a selection of contemporary Ukrainian cinema and an international panel discussion series on post-colonialism in the media space. This year, RIGA IFF has chosen to base it's visual identity around a line from a poem by the controversial and sometimes shocking, but undeniably brilliant director and writer Pier Paolo Pasolini, who is the focus of the festival's retrospective programme: "The sweet chaos of daily good and evil". This message is also reflected in the visual identity that the festival's designers have created. The visuals are anchored by a variation on the familiar festival typeface that is surrounded by various seemingly recognisable, yet abstract shapes that blend dreaming and wakefulness, warmth and cold, comfort and provocation. RIGA IFF Festival Director Liene Treimane explains this year’s theme: "The ordinary is infused with meaning when it fades before something extraordinary. Days of great loss, apocalyptic fear, and intense hope alternate with days where you can take quiet pleasure in the beauty of everyday matters, previously overlooked. The need to structure the glorious chaos of life, to order it into good, bad, beautiful, and ugly is a never-ending exercise in perception. It is these attempts at consciousness that cinema seeks to tame and archive, to analyse and assemble into a rhythm." From 8 June, the festival will be offering a limited number of 10-ticket packages at a special discounted price, as well as a festival pass that will allow holders to attend any RIGA IFF screening – in person and online. This is an opportunity to give yourself or a friend the gift of encountering festival favourites in advance. Among them are: Mikhaël Hers’ Passengers of the Night, that screened in competition at Berlinale, in which Charlotte Gainsbourg deals with the twists and turns of life via the radio waves; award-winning Eami from the Rotterdam International Film Festival, which poetically depicts a five-year-old Ayoreo girl's relationship with a vanishing forest and its inhabitants; Godland that played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section, which follows a young Danish priest’s harsh journey as a missionary in 19th-century Iceland and is directed by Hlynur Pálmason (A White, White Day, 2019) in collaboration with actor Ingvar Sigurdsson. Icelandic film Beautiful Beings, which screened at Berlinale, offers an unusual mix of mysticism and exploration of intergenerational violence with a twisted view of adolescent masculinity, while Amanda Kramer's Please Baby Please is a surprising gender-deconstructing psychedelic musical. Hatching, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, pulls back the curtains on the idyllic family image on social media. This Finnish body horror was made together with Latvian film studio Mistrus Media and in cooperation with many local film professionals. This selection only represents a small part of the full festival programme, which will be announced gradually throughout the summer! https://youtu.be/HAo8X7U5kUM RIGA IFF receives support from the State Culture Capital Foundation, the National Film Centre, and Creative Europe MEDIA.
RIGA IFF Responds to Signs of Cultural Colonisation Mindset in Film Media
A country the size of Latvia isn’t often OVERrepresented, but seeing their country's name one time too many is exactly what raised quite a few of the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) delegates' eyebrows when they opened Screen International at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Jury grids, usually published during the film industry's largest festivals, are compact tables where the films in official competition programmes are reviewed daily by selected film critics from different countries. In the jury grid published during the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Russian film critic Anton Dolin's affiliation surprisingly read: “Meduza, Latvia”. As those of us present in Cannes received quite a few inquiries regarding our opinion regarding the way our country's affiliation was being used, we decided to voice it publicly. We respect Anton Dolin, and perceive Meduza as one of the most important independent information sources in Russian (and mostly about Russia). However, in this case our country’s name is being used as a cover to protect Screen International from being affiliated with Russia, which we find hypocritical. Technically, the facts are correct – Meduza is registered in and has been operating from Latvia since its creation in 2014 by a group of Russian journalists who left Moscow-based news outlet Lenta due to censorship. Since the beginning, Meduza has defined their focus as primarily being on Russia, never really aiming to serve as a local, Latvian, media outlet. While we are proud that our country's democracy can provide a safe space for journalists from other countries, we do not support Screen International's decision to affiliate the aforementioned critic and outlet with Latvia in the way that they have done. Especially, considering that Meduza has previously been affiliated with Russia (see prior Screen International jury grids from 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021). ​​​​In our eyes, this is an example of a cultural colonialist mindset: Latvia is being represented by a Russian film critic and a news outlet whose motto reads “The real Russia, today”. Latvia, like other countries that have endured Soviet occupation during which the local population was heavily decimated, forcibly deported to Siberia, and subjected to russification, does not use its traumatic Soviet past as a self-defining descriptor. As the Russian Federation proudly declares itself the ideological heir of the Soviet Union, such affiliations feel tone-deaf and we strongly condemn them. To us this is not a trivial incident, but rather an example of how Latvia is yet again being misportrayed as an adjunct of Russia, which it is not. Such misportrayal not only creates a distorted image of Latvian society and its information space, but is also the embodiment of a form of cultural colonisation where smaller cultures and societies are assimilated into larger ones.
Internationally Renowned Jury Members Join RIGA IFF Short Film Competition Selection Committee
Film critic and curator Leo Soesanto heads up the teams behind the Riga International Film Festival’s (RIGA IFF) International and National Short Film Competitions. He will this year be joined by a selection committee made up of accomplished film professionals Nanako Tsukidate, Fairouz M’Silti, and Līga Požarska. The selection committee will curate both competitions. The films in the final lineup will compete for the festival’s top prizes as well as for the chance to be a candidate for nomination in the European Short Film category at the European Film Awards 2023. Nanako Tsukidate is a film critic and journalist, and has been a curator at the Venice, Cannes, and Hiroshima film festivals. The experience with international and multicultural films that she has gained from her writing and by programming European films in Japan will be a welcome addition to the selection committee. Also joining the team this year will be film director, screenwriter, critic, and curator Fairouz M’Silti, who currently teaches film curating. After spending a year at the prestigious La Fémis film school (Fondation Européenne pour les Métiers de l'Image et du Son), she is also currently developing her first feature-length film. Līga Požarska is a film publicist and moderator who has been part of the pre-selection process at the Glasgow Short Film Festival. She will be joining the selection committee for a third time. The selection committee will be overseen by Leo Soesanto, who was on the feature film selection committee for the Cannes Film Festival's Semaine de la Critique programme from 2009 to 2015 and chaired the short film selection committee between 2017 and 2021. From 2016 to 2020, he also worked as a curator at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), the main destination for auteur cinema. The RIGA IFF International Short Film Competition is open for submissions until 23:59 on 31 May, while the National Short Film Competition is open for submissions until 23:59 on 30 June. More information: enter.rigaiff.lv. The Riga International Film Festival will take place for the 9th time from 13 to 23 October this year. RIGA IFF seeks out bright and innovative filmmakers from around the world and showcases their work in six competitions.
Watch two striking films that represent contemporary Ukrainian cinema and support children affected by the war
Watch two striking films that represent contemporary Ukrainian cinema and support children and families affected by the war. All proceeds from the screening will be donated to the organisation Голоси дітей (Voices of Children). Stop-Zemlia, which won Best Film in the Berlinale Generation 14plus competition, outlines the psychological mood of today's Ukrainian youth in the aftermath of Maidan and the events of 2014. The semi-autobiographical characters  electrify the pale green classrooms, dispel the gloom, seek to understand their parents, fall in love… All of them look forward to new beginnings. Atlantis was the Ukrainian entry for Best International Feature Film at the 2021 Academy Awards. The film follows Sergei, a war veteran suffering from PTSD, as he tries to find his place in Eastern Ukraine in the year 2025. Since the war with Russia, this part of Ukraine has turned into a muddy field pervaded by despair. Katya, an activist dedicated to identifying those who fell in the war, becomes a ray of hope in the veteran's life. Released in 2019, the film imagines the physical and emotional reality that follows warfare with painful precision, something we can plainly see is not just a figment of the imagination. The charity Voices of Children was chosen together with the filmmakers. The charity has been providing psychological support to Ukrainian children since 2015 and during the war has helped Ukrainian families to evacuate. It also provides psychological first aid to those affected by the war. RIGA IFF will donate 100% of the proceeds from the charity screenings, which will take place from 14 to 30 April. For more information about the initiative, please contact press@rigaiff.lv.
Announcing Open Call for 2022 Competition Sections
The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) will take place from 13 to 23 October 2022. The festival is opening submissions to its six competition sections on 22 March 2022. Filmmakers can submit their feature-length, short, and children's films and music videos free of charge for the first month, until 22 April. The RIGA IFF International Feature Film Competition brings together directors from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries to compete for the main award, the Golden Rooster, and a cash prize of EUR 4,000. The films in competition are judged on their artistic merit, originality, and topicality by a jury of international film professionals. The festival has a special focus on short films, the film format that is most responsive to artistic innovations and social change. This year, RIGA IFF welcomes entries in a variety of genres and themes to submit to the RIGA IFF National and International Short Film Competitions – the selected films will not only compete for the Silver Grass Snake Award and cash prizes of EUR 1,000 and EUR 2,000, but also for the European Film Academy’s European Short Film 2023 Award candidacy. Filmmakers can submit both feature-length and short children's films to the KIDS' REEL section. These films will be judged by members of the European Children's Film Association (ECFA) and the winners will be added to a shortlist of films nominated for the overall ECFA award. The filmmakers will also compete for a prize awarded by the festival's children's jury – the winning film’s screening rights will be purchased by Latvian Television (LTV). The BALTIC MUSIC VIDEO Competition is returning to the festival's line-up after a year's break! This competition is unique to the region and the screening is a special event that brings together a professional jury, enthusiasts and fans of the genre, and music video creators. The selected works also compete for the Silver Grass Snake Award, which this year comes with a cash prize of EUR 1,000. For more information on submission regulations and deadlines, visit enter.rigaiff.lv. RIGA IFF is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the National Film Centre of Latvia, and the MEDIA sub-programme of Creative Europe.