Latvia participates in the virtual Berlin Film Festival

The online events of the annual Berlin International Film Festival start on 1 March, and Latvian film professionals will also participate with screenings in the film market, a “stand” in the virtual Berlinale, and a special film therapy session for all interested parties. But the film Természetes fény/Natural Light, co-produced by the Latvian company Mistrus Media and shot in Latvia, has been selected for the main competition programme of the festival.

A year ago, in February, the Berlin International Film Festival was the last of the major film festivals to be held in the traditional format, but this year it has also been forced to adapt to the pandemic restrictions. The organizers have decided to divide the events into two parts – from 1 March to 5 March the annual European Film Market takes place in the virtual environment, but in June (9-20 June), hoping for the normalization of the situation, a “summer special” in Berlin is planned with screenings in cinemas, film premieres and face-to-face meetings between audiences and filmmakers. Films selected for the Berlin competition will be available online to the accredited film professionals and media representatives, but the international jury will watch them on the large screen in Berlin and decisions on awards will be announced on 4 and 5 March, with live awards ceremony scheduled for June.

This year, the name of Latvia can be found in the most important Berlinale competition – Wettbewerb, where the debut feature film by the Hungarian director Dénes Nagy Természetes fény/Natural Light, shot in Latvia in 2019 with the participation of a group of Latvian film professionals provided by Mistrus Media, is among the 15 contestants (more HERE).

Each country participates in the European Film Market with a national stand, and also this year a virtual profile of Latvia has been created as the result of co-operation among the National Film Centre, the Film Producers Association of Latvia, and the Riga Film Fund. The Latvian profile provides information on the latest and upcoming films, co-financing opportunities in Latvia and statistical data on the film industry as well as a trailer created especially for Berlinale on current Latvian films.

On 3 March, the most captivating event on Latvia’s profile will take place – a “cinema-therapy” session for people tired of the pandemic – psychotherapist Nils Sakss Konstantinovs will offer cinematic meditation, analytical internal dialogues, and search for inner strength in a public live broadcast (live Facebook feed HERE).

From 1 March, several new Latvian films with international potential will be shown in separate screenings for film industry professionals – In the Mirror directed by Laila Pakalniņa, The Pit directed by Dace Pūce, animated documentary My Favorite War directed by Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen, co-productions Tsoi, Natural Light, O2/Dawn of War, and others.

The Berlin International Film Festival, taking place for the 71st time this year, is one of the largest in the world, screening around 400 films each year, and the European Film Market usually brings together almost 1,000 film professionals from 110 countries.

March 1, 2021