Latvian “Dawn” shortlisted by EFA

On 23 August, European Film Academy and EFA Productions has announced the titles of the 50 films on this year’s EFA Feature Film Selection, the list of feature fiction films recommended for a nomination for the European Film Awards 2016. Included is also the latest feature by director Laila Pakalniņa, Dawn, a Latvian production supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia and co-produced with Poland and Estonia. This is the first time ever that a full-length fiction from Latvia has become a part of this prestigious list.


With 33 European countries represented, the list illustrates the great diversity in European cinema. Among the 50 contenders there are several films screened in the competition programme of the Cannes International Film Festival, including the recipient of the Palm d‘Or, I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach, as well as Julieta by Pedro Almodovar, Elle by Paul Verhoeven, Bacalaureat by Cristian Mungiu and many others. The list of all 50 nominated films is available here.

Dawn is the only entry from the Baltic countries, Estonia being represented by the film’s co-producer and editor Kaspar Kallas – a long-time collaborator of Pakalniņa. Poland, in turn, is represented in Dawn by the acclaimed cinematographer Wojciech Staron, producer Malgorzata Staron and costume designer Natalia Czeczott.

In the coming weeks, the over 3,000 members of the European Film Academy will vote for the nominations in the categories European Film, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenwriter. The nominations will then be announced on 5 November at the Seville European Film Festival in Spain. A 7-member jury will decide on the awards recipients in the categories European Cinematographer, Editor, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Hair & Make-up Artist, Composer and Sound Designer.

The 29th European Film Awards (supported by Creative Europe) with the presentation of the winners will take place on 10 December in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016.

Riga, the capital of Latvia, hosted the European Film Awards back in 2014, but no Latvian films were represented in the titles of 50 films.

However, director Laila Pakalniņa does have a previous history with the EFA awards – her documentary Leiputrija/Dreamland (2004) produced by VFS Films received the nomination for the best documentary and her short fiction Uguns/Fire (2007) qualified for the EFA short film nomination, having received the Grand Prix at Grimstad film festival in Norway. Moreover, in 2012, another Latvian film – animated short Villa Antropoff by Vladimir Leschiov and Kaspar Jancis, competed in this category, having won the Grand Prix at the Cracow Short Film Festival. The obvious highlight in the history of Latvian cinema goes back to 1989, a year when a Latvian feature documentary Crossroad Street (1988) by the iconic filmmaker Ivars Seleckis received the Best European Documentary award.