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Riga International Film Festival announces full lineup

The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) invites audiences in Riga and throughout Latvia to join the festival’s eighth edition on 14-24 October this year. Over 100 films will screen in 10 thematic sections, including 5 competition programmes. Tickets for all RIGA IFF screenings are on sale now on the festival’s website.

In-person screenings will be held at the “green” epidemiological security level, which means that in-person screenings and events will only be accessible with an interoperable COVID-19 vaccination or recovery certificate. Screenings will take place at the Splendid Palace cinema, and at the Ziedonis Hall in the National Library of Latvia. Most of the programme will be available online to all festival guests from anywhere in Latvia.

For the first time in the festival’s history, there will be several in-person screenings at RIGA IFF branches outside the capital: in Madona and Valmiera.

This year’s festival slogan is “There is always time.”, which is also reflected in the programmers’ choice of films. The sections include films that masterfully play with the past and the future, with interpretations about the present, with that which might have happened and with visions of the future.

Time has no objective boundaries. It is absolute, but simultaneously unpredictable in form and content. What matters is how we fill time. Cinema can pause time, slow it down, it can reveal and explain time, but never waste it. Dedicate 11 days in October to experience the festival. Expand your consciousness and sharpen your mind – collectively or individually. We will provide you with both options, so you can choose which experience suits you best,” explains RIGA IFF Director Liene Treimane.

The festival will open on 14 October with The Rossellinis, a film that brings together Latvian filmmakers and a legendary cinema dynasty (it is co-produced by VFS Films, co-written by Dāvis Sīmanis, and filmed by cinematographer Valdis Celmiņš). The director of the documentary is Alessandro Rossellini, the grandson of the influential Italian neorealist director Roberto Rossellini. In the film, he traces nearly 100 years of creativity under the influence of this “artistic patriarch”, while also shining a light into the shadows that accompany the heirs to his fame. A part of the film’s international team will be attending the festival’s Opening Night and there will be an opportunity to attend an in-person conversation with them on the following day, 15 October. The opening screening also introduces the festival’s retrospective programme – THE ROSSELLINIS AND THE CENTURY.

This year, cinephiles will be particularly excited about FESTIVAL SELECTION. This section includes 16 films that have screened at acclaimed European and international festivals. Among them is renowned French director Leos Carax’s Annette, a psychedelic and operatic musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, which opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won the award for Best Director. Fans will also be excited to see The French Dispatch, the latest film from audience and critics’ darling, Wes Anderson, while enfant terrible Gaspar Noé will once again test the limits of the cinematic format with his visually striking Lux Æterna starring Charlotte Gainsbourg (she also appears playing a very different role in the delicately constructed chamber drama Suzanne Andler).

The section NORDIC HIGHLIGHTS is a favourite with local audiences. Here you can enjoy the best of Nordic cinema – the 10-film programme includes the darkly existential comedy Riders of Justice, starring Mads Mikkelsen who plays a war veteran whose grief has turned to anger, and Pleasure, which is a provocative look at the trajectory of one woman’s career in the porn industry.

This year, the festival has a particularly broad selection of local film premieres. These are best represented in the HOME MADE Premieres section, but also in the main competition, RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition, with Laila Pakalniņa’s In the Mirror, which uses the selfie aesthetic to reimagine the story of Snow White for a narcissistic and image-obsessed generation.  Rebecca Lamarche-Vadels’ and Dāvis Sīmanisand suddenly it all blossoms, a journey through the Riga International Art Biennial, RIBOCA 2, will also screen at the festival as will several other strong feature debuts by Latvian filmmakers.

The eighth RIGA IFF will pay special attention to the youngest audiences – the festival’s children’s film programme KIDS’ REEL will this year not only take place over both RIGA IFF weekends, but also boasts two competitions that will be easily accessible online throughout Latvia.

This year, the festival’s SHORT RIGA section will continue to highlight the latest in cinematic art with its International Short Film Competition that is split into six screenings, while the National Competition will feature both acclaimed filmmakers and newcomers with distinct points of view competing for the prize.

The RIGA IFF FORUM for film industry professionals will take place alongside the public film programme. Here local and international film professionals will have the opportunity to share their experience and knowledge with one another.

For the full festival programme, tickets, passes and more detailed information about the festival visit rigaiff.lv

The festival receives support from the State Culture Capital Foundation, Creative Europe MEDIA, the National Film Centre and Riga City Council. 

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