Tonight, on 15 October, the seventh Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) will open with a unique event, the cine-concert Where is the Truth?!, at which the oldest feature film made on Latvian territory will be screened accompanied by original music by Artūrs Liepiņš and Jēkabs Nīmanis. This year, in response to the global health crisis, the festival’s 129 films, which are divided into ten thematic sections, will be available to viewers in person as well as online, as will a range of events, exhibitions and discussions with industry professionals. A live broadcast of the opening concert is made possible in cooperation with Latvian Television and will be available on the media portal LSM.lv. The winners of the feature film, short film and music video competitions will be awarded at the end of the festival.
This year’s festival revolves around the motto “Owning the Unknown”. Liene Treimane, the Director of RIGA IFF, explains that
in art, we long to experience the unusual and the unexpected. In cinema, we enjoy plot twists and new forms of expression. 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 different ways – with exasperation, suspicion, or contemplation. We can also choose to perceive the world with confidence, knowing that we are not captives of the situation, but rather see 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 from 15-25 October it will bring together viewers, filmmakers and film professionals for the seventh time in order to once again face the unknown and make it their own.
The RIGA IFF programme includes exciting first features as well as films that have already won accolades on the festival circuit, offering viewers a wide range of styles and artistic ideas. The film’s ten sections will feature works by auteurs alongside family films, as well as lavish costume dramas and bold films experimenting with the language of cinema and playing with the seemingly inexhaustible possibilities the medium offers. This year, the festival has made the Splendid Palace cinema and the National Library of Latvia its home, joined by a format that is unprecedented in Latvia – an online “cinema” that will allow you to watch a large part of the festival’s screenings from any comfortable location across the country.
This year’s artistic output has been of high quality, despite the global upheaval – viewers will have the opportunity to see a number of innovative films that reflect the current global situation as well as look to the past, and see that relevant parallels can be found. In the FESTIVAL SELECTION section, Ilya Khrzhanovsky and Jekaterina Oertel’s DAU. Natasha evokes strong emotions, not only through its narrative, but also because of the circumstances in which the film was created, while Uberto Pasolini’s Nowhere Special, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival less than a month ago, offers a way to look at the tragic through a lens of love and light. Martin Eden by Pietro Marcello was recently awarded at the Venice Film Festival and is an original take on a literary classic. The FOUND IN BERLINALE section offers the best and latest that German cinema has to offer, including the modern fairy tale Undine.
The three latest short films in the Shammies series will screen for the first time in the KIDS WEEKEND section of the festival, while in the FEATURE FILM COMPETITION the gloriously surreal film What Silent Gerda Knows will see its national premiere.
In order to make it easier for viewers to make sense of the wide programme, tips from the festival’s curators have been published alongside the films in the catalogue and on the festival’s website: rigaiff.lv. Their suggestions will help guide viewers and suggest what to look out for while watching a film. In the calendar view, it will be easy to distinguish between films screening in person, and those which will be available simultaneously online.
The complete festival programme and tickets 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.