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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.
RIGA IFF Invites You to the Film Programme and Exhibition PIONEERING WOMEN IN FILM
At this year's festival, as part of the project PIONEERING WOMEN IN FILM, the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF), in cooperation with the Embassy of Sweden in Latvia, the Swedish Institute and the Swedish Film Institute, will pay special attention to the works and significance of female directors in the history of film. The PIONEERING WOMEN IN FILM programme includes three films in different styles and genres that showcase the directors' unique styles and viewpoints. The films will be accompanied by an exhibition in the courtyard of the Splendid Palace cinema at 61 Elizabetes iela, which will be on view for the duration of the festival. At the exhibition, you will be able to acquaint yourself with several outstanding personalities in cinema history, including Alice Guy-Blaché, a contemporary of the Lumière brothers and the first female filmmaker in the world. The programme includes the following films: On Saturday, 17 October, at 13:00, Mai Zetterling’s Loving Couples (1964) will screen at the Splendid Palace cinema and online simultaneously. Loving Couples is a story about three women in a maternity ward at the beginning of the 20th century. The film daringly touches on many topics that are still considered controversial today. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or in 1965 and sparked a small scandal at the Cannes Film Festival with scenes that were considered too provocative at the time. On Monday, 19 October at 18:00 director Karin Swanström's film Girl in Tails (1926) will screen at Splendid Palace and online simultaneously. The film is one of the best examples of Swedish silent cinema, and the last film that Swanström (1873–1942) directed. The director herself plays the widow of a venerable clergyman who acts as a spiteful moral arbiter in the local community, where young women behave "even more shamelessly than during the Renaissance". The director continued her acting career and became the creative director and leading producer at Sweden's largest film studio, Svensk Filmindustri, and thus the most influential woman in the nation’s film industry. On Thursday, 22 October at 19:00 the futuristic film Aniara by directors Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja will screen in Ziedonis Hall at the National Library of Latvia and online simultaneously. In the film, people flee their self-made natural disasters on Earth by relocating to Mars, but end up going off course. Ultimately they even lose the support of the artificial intelligence device MIMA, which enables the travellers to watch their own memories of Earth in virtual reality. Find out more about the festival’s programme, upcoming events and individual films on the RIGA IFF website: All national security requirements will be ensured at every in-person screening.
RIGA IFF aicina jaunos kinomīļus pieteikties darbam bērnu žūrijā
Rīgas Starptautiskais kino festivāls (RIGA IFF), kas šogad notiks no 15. līdz 25. oktobrim, aicina 7 – 12 gadus vecus kino cienītājus pieteikties dalībai bērnu žūrijā. Žūrijas dalībniekiem būs iespēja tiešsaistē piekļūt visiem bērnu filmu programmas KIDS WEEKEND iekļautajiem darbiem, izraudzīties labāko un to apbalvot.  Bērnu žūrija ir ikgadēja un iemīļota tradīcija, ko RIGA IFF attīsta jau no festivāla pirmssākumiem. Tā dod iespēju bērniem izteikt savu viedokli, kā arī paraudzīties uz kino no jauna skatpunkta, izvērtējot un pārrunājot filmās redzēto. Pērn bērnu žūrija par labāko atzina vācu režisores Katjas Benrātes versiju par Astridas Lindgrēnes Pepiju Garzeķi – komēdiju Roka maina pasauli. Šogad programmā iekļautas Zviedrijā pazīstamās komēdijas bērniem par Andešsonu ģimeni un tajā augošo puisēnu Sūni. Režisora Jūna Holmberga veidotās filmas Sūne – vedējs un Sūne pret Sūni būs skatāmas dubultseansā. Tāpat programmā iekļauta arī aizvadītā gada labākā Eiropas bērnu filma Romijas salons – aizkustinošs nīderlandiešu kino vēstījums par saskaršanos ar Alcheimera slimību ģimenē. Šāgada KIDS WEEKEND būs skatāma arī slovāku režisores Martinas Sakovas veidotā, nostaļģiskā piedzīvojumu drāma Vasaras dumpinieki. Lai pieteiktos dalībai žūrijā, pretendentiem jānofilmējas līdz 2 minūtēm garā video vai jāuzraksta filmas apraksts, kurā jāizklāsta viedoklis par sev tuvu filmu vai kādu no latviešu kinodarbiem, kas noskatāms portālā Video vai rakstiskais pieteikums līdz 2. oktobrim jānosūta KIDS WEEKEND kuratorei Kristīnei Simsonei uz e-pasta adresi Video vēlams izmantot kādu no video augušupielādes pakalpojumiem (YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo vai Facebook), e-pastā iekļaujot saiti uz video, savukārt recenzijas iekļaujamas arī pašā vēstulē, vai pievienojamas kā pielikumi. Žūrijas dalībnieki tiks izraudzīti konkursa kārtā, par konkursa rezultātiem tiekot informēti ne vēlāk kā 4. oktobrī. RIGA IFF bērnu žūrijas dalībniekiem būs iespēja: — iegūt festivāla akreditācijas karti; — kopā ar ģimeni skatīties KIDS WEEKEND filmas tiešsaistē; — piedalīties festivāla noslēguma ceremonijā. RIGA IFF bērnu žūrijas dalībnieku pienākumos ietilpst: — KIDS WEEKEND filmu skatīšanās 17. un 18. oktobrī; — dalība RIGA IFF bērnu žūrijas apspriedēs; — kopā ar pārējiem žūrijas pārstāvjiem izvēlēties labāko filmu un tās veidotājiem pasniegt balvu; — pārstāvēt festivālu un žūriju komunikācijā ar medijiem. Īpaši padomāts arī par pirmsskolas vecuma skatītājiem, kuri aicināti uz programmas centrālo notikumu – īsfilmu cikla Lupatiņi jaunāko epizožu pirmizrādi. Lupatiņu pirmizrāde vienīgajā KIDS WEEKEND klātienes seansā notiks 17. oktobrī pl. 11:00 kinoteātrī Splendid Palace (ar paralēlu seansu tiešsaistē). Atkārtojuma seanss, kurā tiks izrādītas ārvalstu animācijas īsfilmu izlase, savukārt notiks 18. oktobrī pl. 11:00 tiešsaistē. Rīgas Starptautiskais kino festivāls norisināsies no 15. līdz 25. oktobrim kinoteātros Splendid Palace, KSuns, Kino Bize, kā arī Latvijas Nacionālajā bibliotēkā un Kaņepes Kultūras centrā. Festivāla ietvaros notiks tiks izrādītas 148 filmas, ko papildinās lekcijas, diskusijas un citi pasākumi. Biļetes un vairāk informācijas
Riga International Film Festival Announces Full Lineup and Opens Box Office
Spanning eleven days and featuring 129 films presented in ten thematic programs – the seventh Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) will take place this year between 15 and 25 October. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy films that have played at prestigious international film festivals, get acquainted with expressive and bold viewpoints from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries, as well as experience strong directorial debuts and long-awaited domestic films. Tickets for all RIGA IFF screenings can be purchased as of today – screenings will be taking place both in cinemas and online this year in response to the ongoing health crisis in the world. This year's festival will open with a unique experience – the cine-concert Where is the Truth?! that will be available for viewing world-wide. At the event, the recently restored Where is the Truth?!, which is the oldest surviving feature film made on Latvian territory, will be accompanied by original music composed by Artūrs Liepiņš and Jēkabs Nīmanis. It will be possible to attend the cine-concert in person as well, but tickets are limited. The 13 carefully curated films screening in FESTIVAL SELECTION can be described as the cream of the crop. One of the section’s standouts is DAU. Natasha that premiered at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival. The film is one of the works produced as part of the 12-year-long DAU project at Europe's largest film set and caused a scandal both because of its scope and ethical duality. The festival will also feature The Book of Vision produced by the legendary Terrence Malick – a glorious reflection on time, illness and death, in which a surreal, fantastic costume drama intertwines with an intense story about a woman's struggle. Agnieszka Holland, a favourite among cinéastes, participates in this section with Charlatan – a story about Jan Mikolašek, a controversial personality in Czech history. Mikolašek was a healer and herbalist who could count representatives of two authoritarian states among his “patients”. Rare Beasts, the directorial debut of popular actress Billie Piper, asks questions about the relentless, but ultimately hollow, struggle for eternal satisfaction and happiness. This year, eight works from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries will compete for the main prize in RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition. Yevgeni Pashkevich's What Silent Gerda Knows will have its national premiere in competition – it is an absurdly tragicomic story about a frenzy at a boarding house caused by its residents and the summer heat starring a selection of outstanding Latvian actors and brilliant talents from the neighbouring countries. Ivan I. Tverdovsky's The Conference takes a closer look at a tragic chapter in Russian history – the terrorist attack at the Dubrovka Theater in Moscow on October 23, 2002, where almost a thousand people were captured during the musical Nord-Ost and held hostage for three days. The drama tells the story of Natalia, a woman who escaped, but lost her son. The film asks how you can endure family hatred and the scars created by incomprehensibly cruel situations. FOUND IN BERLINALE is a section created in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in Riga. The films featured here are a selection from Germany's largest film event – the Berlin International Film Festival. The festival not only defines the strength and scope of the German film industry, but also identifies new trends and debuts bright talents to the world. The section opens on 20 October with Undine, a love story by Christian Petzold. The film, which is based on a folk tale, is about a water nymph, an industrial diver and a once divided city merging into one. Highly anticipated, one of the most talked about films from the previous Berlinale is also part of this section – the over three-hour-long, monumental Berlin, Alexanderplatz. The section NORDIC HIGHLIGHTS features the most outstanding films from the Nordic countries. The section covers everything from a review of the history of Swedish cinema seen through the work of outstanding female directors – Girl in Tails and Loving Couples – to a reflection on contemporary society through several documentaries – Photographer of War, The Raft, and the unusual, deeply personal film essay Själö – Island of Souls. The section’s opening film will be the film The Garden by Icelandic director Ragnar Bragason (Children, Parents, Metalhead), a black comedy with a toxic mother-son relationship at the center that delivers a witty criticism of legislative excess. This year, the section HOME MADE, which usually focuses on the international achievements of Latvian production studios, features several prominent Lithuanian films: In the Dusk, by well-known Lithuanian film director Šarunas Bartas that was included in the official competition of this year's Cannes Film Festival; director Ignas Jonynas’ (The Gambler) latest film Invisible; Motherland, by Tomas Vengris, touches on a topic that the director is no stranger to himself having grown up in a Lithuanian immigrant family in the United States – a young woman returns to newly independent Lithuania with her teenage son hoping to privatise the estate that belonged to her parents who were deported and died in exile. The first weekend of RIGA IFF is traditionally dedicated to families and children with the KIDS WEEKEND section. International films that the whole family can enjoy together will be available online, as well the latest instalments in the beloved animated series about the Shammies. For the third year in a row the architectural film program ARCHITECT'S CUT will take place in cooperation with the National Library of Latvia. This year the programme was created by a guest curator – the social anthropologist and urban planner Viesturs Celmiņš. As usual, the SHORT RIGA section will provide a broad and innovative overview of the cinema landscape by presenting gems from various international short film festivals, bold new local shorts, as well as artistically innovative music videos. The 41 shorts in the lineup will not only compete for the title of Best Short Film in the international and national SHORT RIGA competition, but as of this year, RIGA IFF joins 24 other festivals that can nominate films for the prestigious European Short Film category of the European Film Academy Awards. The competitions will feature 7 world- and 9 national premieres. The FESTIVAL DARLINGS section, dedicated to the most popular shorts from 2019 and 2020, includes the films The Fall and Nimic by world-renowned directors Jonathan Glazer and Yorgos Lanthimos. The section IN KINO VERITAS, curated by director Pēteris Krilovs, will offer an insight of one of the most significant movements in cinema history – the Czech New Wave. The section will feature Juraj Herz’s darkly ironic The Cremator and Milos Forman's social satire The Firemen’s Ball. A screening of Jan Nemec's Diamonds of the Night will be a special highlight. Newly restored, the film will appear on the silver screen in Latvia for the first time. The festival will also feature an extensive online program for industry professionals featuring educational and inspirational lectures and a 28-hour hackathon. At the conclusion of RIGA IFF, the winners of the feature film, short film and music video competitions will be awarded. The online screenings this year will allow viewers across Latvia, not just in Riga, to enjoy the festival without having to leave their homes. Tickets for all screenings can be purchased on the festival website and at Biļešu Serviss box offices. Instructions for how to redeem your ticket can be found at It should be noted that all online screenings, as well as the in-person screenings, will have a set start and end time. Please make sure to plan your attendance at the festival carefully. The full festival lineup and tickets to all screenings are available on the festival’s website: RIGA IFF is organised with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, the European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, the National Film Centre and Riga City Council.
Riga IFF Announces Films in Festival’s Main Competition
This autumn, the seventh Riga International Film Festival will take place 15 – 25 October. One of the most important sections of the festival is the feature film competition. Eight distinct, innovative and artistically challenging films from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries have been selected for the competition this year. Films could be submitted without genre restrictions. The works included in the Feature Film Competition will be judged by an international jury of film professionals – Dmitry Gluscevskij, European Film Forum SCANORAMA, Sophie Mirouze (La Rochelle IFF), Marge Liiske (Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event/POFF), critically acclaimed film director Laila Pakalniņa, and Teo Tsappos (Swedish Film Institute). The winner of the competition will receive the main prize at RIGA IFF – a bronze figurine of a rooster created in collaboration with artist Ervins Broks. It consists of eight parts, which the director of the winning film can hand out to the film’s crew. The winner of the competition also receives a cash prize of 2,000 euros. Sonora Broka, the festival’s Creative Director, explains that "cinema is a mirror-like medium. It is the most reflective of the arts, showing us echoes of the world as it is now. In this set of eight films, the mirror images have acquired another expressive layer of meaning – the auteur’s vision. This vision, although different in each film, reaffirms the need for cinema that represents a space for free thought and artistic expression.” Viewers will only have the opportunity to enjoy the feature competition in person. Both films about brilliant personalities from cinema history, such as Andrey Tarkovsky junior’s film Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, as well as exceptional directorial debuts, such as Jurģis Matulevičius' film Isaac and Eva Marie Rødbro’s I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die, which premiered at IDFA. Other highly anticipated films that have screened at major international film festivals include – The Trouble With Nature, that screened in the Bright Future competition at the Rotterdam Film Festival, In Deep Sleep, that was included in the Berlinale Forum, and Conference by Ivan I. Tverdovsky (known to Riga IFF viewers for Zoology, 2016), which is currently screening in the Venice Film Festival. Daniel Borgman, whose film Loving Pia competed in this competition in 2017, has also returned with the film Resin. It is especially noteworthy that the long-awaited film What Silent Gerda Knows will have its national premiere in competition this year. Feature competition films: The Trouble With Nature, dir: Illum Jacobi, 2020, Denmark In Deep Sleep, dir: Maria Ignatenko, 2020, Russia Isaac (Izaokas), dir: Jurģis Matulevičius, 2019, Lithuania Resin (Harpiks), dir: Daniel Borgman, 2019, Denmark The Conference (Konferentsiya), dir: Ivan I. Tverdovsky, 2020, Russia, Estonia, UK, Italy What Silent Gerda Knows (Ko zina Klusā Gerda), dir: Yevgeni Pashkevich, 2020, Latvia I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die, dir: Eva Marie Rødbro, 2019, Denmark Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, dir: Andrey A. Tarkovsky, 2019, Italy, Russia, Sweden This year, the festival will take place over 11 days, from October 15 to 25. The festival’s motto "Owning the Unknown" is a response to the current epidemiological situation in the world and the challenges this poses. The festival will take place both in person and online this year. In total, 129 films make up this year's festival programme and are divided into ten thematic sections. In addition to these, the festival is comprised of a Baltic music video competition and a series of events dedicated to discussing relevant industry issues and the latest film technologies. The full RIGA IFF programme will be announced on Tuesday, 15 September, and tickets to the cinema as well as for the online screenings will go on sale the same day. Further information about the festival programme and events can be found on the festival’s website, RIGA IFF is organised with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, the European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, the National Film Centre and Riga City Council.