Aigars Grauba

KING’S RING

Ilze Auzāne

Director Aigars Grauba on his would-be film about king Namejs: “King’s Ring” will be a contemporary historical drama.

“When I turned 18, it was in the soviet times, my mother gave me Namejs’ ring as a present; it was made of a silver five lats coin from the time when Latvia was an independent state,” remembers the experienced Latvian film director Aigars Grauba, an author of several local block-busters. In his new feature film he wants to tell the story of Semigallian king Namejs whose name has been given to a ring that embodies historical memories that through centuries have reached modern times.

Contemporary and rocky style

The setting of the story is the first half of the XIII century when Roman power started planting crosses in the Baltic lands as well. After the sudden death of the king Viesturs and his son, the young Namejs becomes the Semigallian king yet the ring of his power and the rights to rule in this rich and significant place is coveted by someone else. Will Namejs manage to unite forces, to win his opponents, to decipher the secret of the ring and sow the seed of freedom for ever and ever? “We can understand our destiny only at an hour of ordeal,” the authors of the film are convinced.

To implement this project, the film crew of “King’s Ring” for more than half a year have been thoroughly and meticulously studying the subject in order to be able to create their interpretation about approximately eight centuries long history and to convey the spirit of the times to the spectators. They have met different specialists and spent long hours in museums. “They are like diamond mines,” the film director Aigars Grauba believes, like an archaeologist he has tried to unearth the skeleton of this story layer by layer.

You must strike the iron while it’s hot! The authors of the film have decided to use the popularity of the TV series “Game of Thrones” and “Vikings” and to make a film similar to their genre. “The characters of these historical films have been represented in a modern and rocky style,” this is the way the popularity of these series is explained by the producer of the Platforma Film Kristians Alhimionoks who has been mentioned by film industry periodical Screen as one of this year’s 50 leaders in film selling and distribution (he has studied media and entertainment management in the UK, Netherlands, USA and Finland).

Preparing for a battle

Top 10 most watched films during the independence of Latvia includes three films by Aigars Grauba (the list has been compiled since 1993 – ed.). Number one is the film “Guards of Riga” (2007) that has been seen over these years by more than 200,000 spectators. While number four is “Summer of Terror” (2000) about the events in Latvia in 1940, number five is “Dream Team 1935” (2012) about the success of the Latvian basket-ball team at the first European basket-ball championship in Geneva.

“Guards of Riga”, the story of Latvian freedom fighters in 1919, is the most expensive film in history of Latvia; its budget was more than 3 million Euros and the film town Cinevilla was built especially for its purposes. The village necessary for “King’s Ring” will be built also in this open-air shooting location that will gain its true scale during the post-production stage. It will be shot at the end of summer 2015 and early autumn but already this year there have been rehearsals in front of camera to get ready for the battle scenes.

“King’s Ring” has received funding from the Latvian National Film Centre but the project will include several countries. One of them is Lithuania that can provide the necessary stunt-men and horses for the film. At present there are ongoing negotiations with other potential partners. The authors of this film expect to create a cinematic achievement that will be able to address not only audiences in Latvia but also elsewhere in the world. They have already managed to agree with the British film distribution company Kaleidoscope to get involved in the project.