BALTIC FILM DAYS WELL ATTENDED IN ALL THREE COUNTRIES
The traditional Baltic Film Days that took place this year under rather complicated conditions, still attracted sizable number of viewers in Latvia, as well as in Lithuania and Estonia, where an entire class of schoolchildren turned up for the screening of Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs. In Riga, the most viewers attended the screening of the Estonian documentary, A Year Full of Drama.
Baltic Film Days is a three-nation film institute – National Film Centre of Latvia, Lithuanian Film Centre and Estonian Film Institute – initiative, a jointly-organized event aiming to strengthen cinematic cooperation between the three Baltic States and boost viewer knowledge of neighbouring country films. The first time this three-country event took place was in 2017, as a warm-up to the Centenary Films programme in each of the neighbouring countries.
Baltic Film Days traditionally take place in cinemas, and this year the participating film institutions decided that, instead of taking the event online, to support cinemas and the film culture tradition of watching films in theatres. Film theatre Splendid Palace had social distancing and public health safety protocols in place – in the Large Hall viewers were offered some 300 seats as opposed to the usual 500. Each viewer had to pre-register for a specific seat in the hall, and share contact information so that the epidemiological situation could be controlled post-screening as well.
For this year’s Baltic Film Days each country chose two from among the neighbouring country’s latest films. For Estonia it was Oleg (2019) by Juris Kursietis, and Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs by Edmunds Jansons (a Latvian Centenary animation film); while Lithuania chose Jelgava ’94 (2019) by Jānis Ābele, and Centenary film Homo Novus (2018) by Anna Viduleja, which was advertised on social media by Lithuanian-born actress Aurēlija Anužīte-Lauciņa who played the role of Mrs. Daģis in the film.
In Latvia on August 25, two Lithuanian films were screened – historical feature Nova Lituania (2019), and the documentary Acid Forest (2018), veteran of some forty film festivals. At the Baltic Film Days opening, Latvian National Film Centre Head Dita Rietuma was joined by Lithuanian Embassy Consul, Dr. Donatas Vainalavičius.
On Estonia day, August 26, Latvian film viewers were offered the feature Scandinavian Silence (2019), an Estonia-France-Belgium small budget co-production, and the documentary A Year Full of Drama (2019). The film was specially advertised on social media to the theatre community, as it depicts an unusual experiment – a job is advertised in Estonia, offering a person who has never (or almost never) been to the theatre to become a paid professional theatre viewer for a year and chronicle their impressions in a blog. In following contest winner Alissija’s life for a year, the film becomes a demonstrative testament to the power of theatre and art in influencing and transforming a young person’s life.
Baltic Film Days in Latvia are organized by the National Film Centre, and supported by the Riga City Council, the Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Film Centre and the Estonian Film Institute.
For more information:
Senior Officer, Promotion of Domestic Films Abroad
(firstname.lastname@example.org, 67358866, 26729414)