The competition programme showcases films from the Baltic Sea region and Nordic Countries characterised by innovative cinematic language and distinct artistic expression. There are no genre or style restrictions – films may fall into documentary, fiction, animation, or any cross-genre category.
Surprisingly different schools, traditions and visions can be discovered within the geographical scope of this competition. The selected works embody RIGA IFF’s reflections on tomorrow’s cinema today.
RIGA IFF is looking for a distinct voice and innovative cinematic language from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries. The RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition reflects transition and contemporary trends in cinema; by establishing a specific geographic frame, these reflections become even more intriguing as the cinematic works made on different sides of the same sea represent distinctly different schools, traditions, languages and visions. The 10 films that are ultimately selected represent a present-day contemplation on the cinema of tomorrow.
The competition programme is comprised of 10 feature films with a minimum running time of 60 minutes for which the majority of production credit has been sourced in the Baltic Sea region (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation and Sweden) and in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, including their associated territories – Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands). There are no genre restrictions – documentaries, fiction films, animation, or any cross-genre category will be considered.
All submitted films must have been completed after 20 June 2020, and they can not have been screened in Latvia before the Riga IFF 2021 dates. There is one exception to this rule – although it is preferable that Latvian films premiere at RIGA IFF 2021, this is not a requirement.
The 10 selected titles are evaluated by an international jury consisting of industry experts, filmmakers, and representatives from the international film festival community.
The RIGA IFF Award has been designed in collaboration with artist Ervins Broks. The winning director can share this eight-piece figurine – a rooster cast in bronze – with their crew. The winner also receives a monetary prize of EUR 2,000. The Awards Ceremony takes place on the second Saturday of the festival.
The call for submissions opens on 17 March 2021 and closes on 20 June 2021. The submission fee per entry is EUR 10 and all submissions are free of charge for one month, until 16 April 23:59. The results will be announced by 10 September 2021.
Since 2007, Jenni Domingo has been the International Promotion Coordinator at the Finnish Film Foundation. She represents Finland as a member of Festival Group of Scandinavian Films, an organisation that works to promote the visibility and accessibility of Nordic films and to establish and strengthen contacts with festivals and distribution companies worldwide. Prior to joining the Finnish Film Foundation, Domingo worked as a production manager and producer on various projects for television and for the Espoo Ciné International Film Festival, one of Finland's leading film festivals dedicated to new trends in cinema.
Swedish director Anna Eborn's debut feature documentary Pine Ridge (2013) premiered in the Official Selection at the Venice Film Festival. A year later, it won the award for Best Nordic Documentary at the Gothenburg Film Festival. Four more films of various lengths followed, including hybrid films, which screened in Busan, Rotterdam, CPH:DOX, Visions du Reel and other festivals. Her latest film Transnistra (2019) was filmed on 16mm film and won the VPRO award at the Rotterdam Film Festival.
Viktors Freibergs is one of the most prominent personalities working in film theory in Latvia: he is a theorist, historian and lecturer as well as an Associate Professor and the Director of the Communication Studies Department at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia. He has a characteristically dark sense of humour, with which most students from the many generations he has educated would certainly agree. In 2020, he received the Dzintars Sodums Literary Prize for his book Kinomāna slimības vesture (The History of a Cinephile’s Illness, 2019), which is Freibergs’ impressionistic record of how he has been unable to separate subjective cinema from his own life.
Born in Brazil and partly raised in Amsterdam, Ana Souza has studied in Warwick and California and now lives in Los Angeles. She is the Manager of the Programming department and a Programmer on the features team for the Sundance Film Festival, focusing on fiction films across sections. She is also the Head Programmer for the Sun Valley Film Festival, and the Producer for this year's Palm Springs International ShortFest Forum. She has amongst others, worked at the American Film Institute (AFI), the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Industry Academy, Outfest, the LA Latino International Film Festival, and has produced several short films. Souza’s curatorial focus is on Latin American cinema and indigenous and national cinemas.
Igor Soukmanov works with developing Belarusian film festival culture and calls himself an "advocate of film". He is a curator, film publicist and critic who studied journalism at the Belarusian State University and film history at the Russian State University of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow. After graduating, Soukmanov moved to Minsk where he created and hosted weekly programmes about cinema for television and radio. He was the Programme Director at the Minsk International Film Festival for 11 years where he selected feature films for the main programme and retrospective screenings. He continues to write and his articles can be found in the Russian film magazine Iskusstvo Kino.