Renārs Vimba



Ilze Auzāne

Director Renārs Vimba offers a story about those who stay in Latvia.

“In order to make a film one needs great deal of patience because things will happen when they happen,” his experience is shared by the young Latvian film director Renārs Vimba whose road to his first feature film Mellow Mud started at the end of 2011. “I shot and re-shot it in my head till it was ready and the only thing that remained to be done was to really shoot it,” he adds with a laugh. The film’s script was helped to be improved by Miguel Machalski, widely recognized consultant in Europe – he has worked on films like Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby”, Stephen Daldry’s “Billy Elliot” and others. The premiere of the film Mellow Mud is scheduled for the end of 2015.

Granny under an apple-tree

It is a story about a girl called Raja (17) and her brother Robis (12) who have to live with their grandmother Olga because their father has died and mother has gone to look for work in England. Unlike children, granny wants to sell the countryside property but the situation changes after granny’s accidental death. Being afraid to get sent to a children’s home, Raja and Robis bury the domineering granny in the apple orchard and decide to find their mother. In a story about one family Renārs Vimba has concentrated the theme of economical refugees so very topical in Latvia and represents it from a very unusual vantage point examining not the ones who leave but those who stay and want to associate their future with Latvia.

“You have to sit like on a stool in a waiting-room,” instruction is given by Renārs Vimba when they film an episode in which Raja has gone to London in search of her mother and she has ended up in a house rented by emigrants. For the authors of the film it is important to address the major trends (and choices) in contemporary society. “One must do it fairly mercilessly because courageous exposing of problematic issues may have a mobilizing and invigorating force,” considers the studio Tasse Film producer Alise Ģelze (her previously produced film by the Latvian film director Jānis Nords “Mother, I Love You received a Jury Award at the 63rd International Berlin Film Festival.)

The actors for the film were searched throughout Latvia. Out of more than 1,500 candidates Elīna Vaska and Andžejs Jānis Lilientāls were chosen. “Tight grip”, the director reveals the quality enabling to notice this girl from among other young people. Her colleagues in the would-be film are actors well-known in Latvia: Zane Jančevska, Ruta Birgere, Jānis Kirmuška and Edgars Samītis who is playing Raja’s love interest. While the part of the owner of the cheese dairy has been entrusted to the Frenchman Gérard Chaillou. “Urgent: for the needs of a film, looking for a tamed crow,” thus in the social network Facebook were addressed the owners of pet birds belonging to Corvidae family.

With an Icelandic accent

Funding from outside Latvia has also been raised for the film Mellow Mud. One of the co-operation partners is producer from the Iceland’s Studio Vintage Pictures Hlín Jóhannesdóttir, the Icelandic director of photography Arnar Thor Thorisson and composer Valgeir Sigurðsson are among the film crew.

“Daylight is on our altar,” emphasizes Renārs Vimba who has acquired a cinematographer’s profession at the Academy of Culture of Latvia several years ago and only later turned to film direction (his short films “Jetty and Daddy Doll” have been screened at international festivals). Together with Arnar Thor Thorisson the director plays along with the rules dictated by the environment and does try to modify anything because this is one of the rare opportunities to improvise. “Under the present economic conditions I cannot afford losing a single hour therefore all the other things must be pre-planned,” Renārs Vimba reminds of the close correlations between time and money.

The original score of the film Mellow Mud will be written by the prominent Icelandic musician and producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, the founder of the studio Greenhouse who has been co-operating with artists like Bjork, Damon Albarn, Sigur Rós, Coco Rosie and many others. He has taken part in creation of soundtrack for Spike Jonze’s film “Being John Malkovich” and Lars von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark”. Do you remember the clanging of the train wheels in the composition “I’ve Seen It All”? This song performed by Bjork in a duet with Thom Yorke has been nominated for the Oscar.