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Owning the Unknown – In Cinemas and Online

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Spanning eleven days and featuring 129 films presented in ten thematic sections – the seventh Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) will take place this year between 15 and 25 October. Visitors can expect films that have played at prestigious international film festivals, expressive and bold viewpoints from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries, as well as strong directorial debuts and long-awaited domestic films.

In response to the ongoing health crisis in the world, screenings will be taking place both in cinemas and online this year. The cinema screenings will follow all epidemiological safety rules, while the 51 online screening 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 (redeeming instructions). It should be noted that the online screenings will also have a set start and end time, so be sure to plan your attendance.

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News

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.   https://youtu.be/t-pjkd6TOnk     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: rigaiff.lv 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 filmas.lv. Video vai rakstiskais pieteikums līdz 2. oktobrim jānosūta KIDS WEEKEND kuratorei Kristīnei Simsonei uz e-pasta adresi kristine@rigaiff.lv. 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 rigaiff.lv
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 tickets.rigaiff.lv. 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: rigaiff.lv. 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. https://youtu.be/1JKpF1M_05s
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, rigaiff.lv. 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 Opening Cine-Concert “Where Is The Truth?!” Will Be Streamed Worldwide
A concert created especially for the opening of the Riga International Film Festival will take place at Splendid Palace on 15 October. It will accompany the oldest feature film made in the territory of Latvia, Where is the Truth?! (Kur patiesība?!, 1913). The original music has been co-created and will be performed by musicians Artūrs Liepiņš and Jēkabs Nīmanis. Only 100 tickets are available to attend the cine-concert in person, but viewers from all over the world will be able to watch the event free of charge online. RIGA IFF will take place from 15 to 25 October and tickets for all festival screenings will go on sale soon. On the evening of 15 October, the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) will open with a cine-concert that will take the audience back 107 years, with a sound spanning across time. Musicians Artūrs Liepiņš and Jēkabs Nīmanis will perform an original score they composed together, while the oldest preserved feature film shot in the territory of Latvia will play on screen – the tragic love story Where Is The Truth?! This year, RIGA IFF encourages audiences to explore the unknown – both in terms of the changes affecting us at the moment, as well as looking back in time. The first "cinematic dramas" were shot in Riga in 1913 with the participation of not only local artists, but also of artists from Berlin and Moscow. The "picture houses" of the time tried to meet modern technical standards: the halls were equipped with a recently invented device that prevented the image from shaking, or catching on fire, and in some places a "silver screen" made up of glass pearls was even put up to help the image come to life. Short films that had used gramophone records to ensure synchronous sound went out of fashion. Live accompaniment by individual musicians, or whole orchestras, or less frequently, by actors’ recitations, became the voice of silent cinema at that time. Both musicians giving the opening of the festival's seventh iteration its voice have experience in cinema. Artūrs Liepiņš created the soundtrack for the German silent film People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag, 1930), an important film in European cinema history, commissioned by the Les Arcs Film Festival. He also created the soundtracks for Paradise '89 (Paradīze ’89, 2018), All My Friends Are Dead (Visi mani draugi miruši, 2019) and Fable (2019). The musician is an audio artist for RIGA IFF and is known in other parts of the world, especially in Francophone countries, for his musical alter-ego project Domenique Dumont. The other half of the creative tandem is Jēkabs Nīmanis who has created film soundtracks since 2008 and received the Lielais Kristaps national film award for the music for the film Māra (2014). Since 2010 he has been creating the sound for the children's favourite animated short film series Shammies (Lupatiņi). He additionally composes for theatre, actively performs at concerts in Latvia and works with sound installation and audio-visual design. The silent film Where is the Truth?! that was shot in Riga and Ventspils reached audiences in 1913, thanks to Siegfried Mintus – a producer, owner of film theatres and distributor of motion pictures and cinema equipment. The screenplay is based on a play by Abraham S. Schomer, a lawyer, writer and author of the idea for the World Jewish Congress, On the Sea and Ellis Island (Afn yam un Ellis Island), which has been filmed and staged for the theatre many times. It is the story of a Jewish orphan who was forced to register as a prostitute in order to stay in the city where her lover lives. Being accused of robbery and consequently being imprisoned awakens unbearably painful memories from the past for the woman. In 2020, the film was restored by the studio Locomotive Classics at the initiative of the Riga Film Museum, and with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation. The cine-concert will be available for free worldwide. Tickets will go on sale for those wishing to witness the premiere of the composition and the restored version of Where Is the Truth?! in person. This will take place in the cinema Splendid Palace, which was inaugurated 10 years after this film was made.  100 tickets to the cine-concert in the Great Hall of Splendid Palace on 15 October at 19:00 are now available on the festival’s website – rigaiff.lv – for 15 euros. Closer to the event, information about the free live broadcast will be published on the festival’s website and Facebook page. 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. https://youtu.be/UB9T7W_r8tw