14 – 24 October | RIGA IFF
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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.
​​Film Programmers Léo Soesanto and Laurence Reymond Join the RIGA IFF Team
The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) is happy to announce that curators Léo Soesanto and Laurence Reymond will be joining the festival's short film programme team this year. Soesanto and Reymond are both seasoned professionals who have worked at several world class film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Toronto International Film Festival. RIGA IFF is excited about the experience and expertise this collaboration will bring to the festival's programme, but the ultimate winners will be the audience. Anna Zača, the Founder and long-time Head Curator of SHORT RIGA, has chosen to leave the festival in order to focus on other creative pursuits. However, she leaves behind her a strong basis on which the festival's short film programme, including both public and industry events, can be further developed. These will continue to be managed by Lauma Kaudzīte, the current RIGA IFF Short Film Coordinator. Léo Soesanto was a member of the SHORT RIGA Competition jury last year and will this year work on both RIGA IFF Short Film Competition programmes – International and National – together with an international selection committee. “Last year, I was a part of the SHORT RIGA jury and felt impressed by what Anna Zača and her selection committee had programmed – it was diverse, challenging, moving… When I received the opportunity to curate this short film programme, I agreed – it’s great to have a space like this to showcase national and international talents and give them exposure. I’d like to treat the audience in Riga to a feast of moods, forms, and genres. Regardless, a film programme shouldn’t be a laundry list; the shorts should tell us something about our world, about the state of cinema,” states Léo. Soesanto is a Paris-based film programmer and journalist who has written for publications such as Libération, Les Inrockuptibles, Vogue Paris, Premiere, and Grazia. He has extensive festival experience having been part of the feature film selection committee for the Critics' Week sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival between 2009 and 2015. He also chaired the short film selection committee from 2017 to 2021. From 2016 to 2020, he was a film programmer at the Rotterdam Film Festival, which is a mecca for auteur cinema. Laurence Reymond will work on the audience favourite Festival Darlings short film section as well as the SHORT RIGA Test Screenings section for the film industry together with Lauma Kaudzīte. She's a film critic, publicist, and film programmer who has been working with publications such as Cinéastes, Fluctuat.net, and So Film since 2002. She was responsible for the Directors' Fortnight short film programme at the Cannes Film Festival from 2012 to 2018 and curated the Québec City Film Festival in Canada for 7 years. The RIGA IFF Short Film Competition will once again feature short films in a variety of genres from all over the world. They will compete for the RIGA IFF Silver Grass Snake Award and a number of cash prizes, as well as for a nomination to the European Film Academy’s (EFA) European Short Film 2023 Award. Submissions to all short film competitions will open on 22 March on the RIGA IFF website.
RIGA IFF 2021 Awards ceremony and party – as a short film
The eighth Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) took place this year from 14 to 24 October: in 11 days and more than 100 films were screened and five competition held. The jury has picked the winner of the RIGA IFF Award – a bronze cast of the Rooster of Riga and 3000 EUR monetary prize from our supporter, BALTA isurance company. Due to the epidemiological restrictions in place in Latvia, this year’s awards ceremony could not be held in person. The festival has, however, chosen a different way to announce the winners, with a short film through which all participants and guests are able to partake in the celebratory atmosphere! Directed by Liene Linde and filmed by cinematographer Dāvids Smiltiņš, the short portrays an alternative ceremony enacted by actor Gerds Lapoška, actor and composer Toms Auniņš, as well as other surprise guests from the film world. https://youtu.be/oVotEokpIvM 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.
After 11 days of cinema, the eighth Riga International Film Festival draws to a close and announces its winners
The Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) took place this year from 14 to 24 October, initially in person in Riga, Valmiera and Madona, and simultaneously online throughout Latvia. The festival now closes out its eighth edition by announcing this year’s winners! The winning films were selected from a broad lineup that included more than 100 films across ten sections and competitions. Due to the epidemiological restrictions in place in Latvia, this year’s awards ceremony could not be held in person. The festival has, however, chosen a different way to announce the winners, with a short film through which all participants and guests are able to partake in the celebratory atmosphere! Directed by Liene Linde and filmed by cinematographer Dāvids Smiltiņš, the short portrays an alternative ceremony enacted by actor Gerds Lapoška, actor and composer Toms Auniņš, as well as other surprise guests from the film world. From the nine films in the RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition, the main award and the EUR 3,000 prize, provided by the insurance company BALTA, has gone to Andrius Blaževičius' “Runner” – an intense story of a woman racing against time to find her lover. The Feature Competition jury statement reads: "the film stood out in the competition as a remarkable accomplishment and impressive exploration of the relationship between mental health, empathy, and technology through a nail-biting urban journey. Additionally, this film’s complex and layered lead performance will stay with us for a long time”. The festival is screening the winning film one more time on Monday, 25 October at 19:00 in the RIGA IFF online cinema! The jury’s special mention in the Feature Film Competition goes to "Lamb", Valdimar Jóhannsson’s surreal depiction of the nature of family life. The jury characterised the film as an "allegorical and ironical portrayal of humanity (human beings) principally responsible for its ‘lost paradise’ and a place in this world through the prism of myth and reality". The main award in the SHORT RIGA International Short Film Competition and the EUR 2,000 prize, provided by the insurance company BALTA, has this year been awarded to a film that takes a gentle, but determined look at the sexual abuse the filmmaker suffered in her childhood at the hands of a relative – Olga Lucovnicova’s documentary short film "My Uncle Tudor". The jury’s special mention went to Fanny Béguély’s “Pneuma” – an ecological story about the connection between family and nature. RIGA IFF has nominated Joanna Rytel's short film "38" as its candidate for Best Short Film at the 2021 European Film Awards, describing it as a personal, witty and at times even cruel portrait of femininity. The winner of the SHORT RIGA National Short Film Competition is Helen Ora's debut short “Panic”. The jury’s statement reads: “Panic is a punk, crazy and emotionally anxious film. Helen Ora directs it with a very distinct and visually bold style”. The film was awarded a prize of EUR 1,000. The KIDS' REEL competition at RIGA IFF has two award winners. The European Children's Film Association (ECFA) jury has chosen Stefano Cipani's heartfelt “My Brother Chases Dinosaurs” as the winner of the Feature Film Competition and as a candidate for the ECFA Award. The film tells the story of life with a brother that has Down syndrome. Hugo De Faucompret’s “Mum is Pouring Rain" won the Children's Short Film section and was put forward for nomination for the ECFA Short Film Award. The festival also had a children's jury – this year, the films were evaluated by Klāvs Bērziņš, Pauls Bērziņš, Miķelis Kreilis, Ketija Praija Vintere, Hanna Marija Suhanova, Anna Rūta Krieviņa, Guna Eglīte, Krišs Alberts Grīva, Mārtiņš Beika and Robins Elmeris. The jury decided to award its prize to Olivier Pairoux’s film "SpaceBoy", which will be made available to audiences of all ages across Latvia in collaboration with Latvian Television! For the first time this year, the TEST SCREENINGS section of the RIGA IFF FORUM awarded a prize to the most promising film project! The winning film was Sander Joon’s short film "Sierra", which will receive post-production services worth EUR 3,000 from the festival’s sponsor BB Posthouse! RIGA IFF took place from 14 to 24 October in person at Splendid Palace in Riga, in cinemas in Madona and Valmiera, as well as online throughout Latvia. The festival also featured a series of lectures, discussions, and other events. Videos of the events can be found on the festival's YouTube channel. The festival receives support from the State Culture Capital Foundation, Creative Europe MEDIA, the National Film Centre and Riga City Council.