RIGA IFF welcomes submissions to competition programmes

Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) welcomes submissions to its four competition programmes: the RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition and three SHORT RIGA competitions – the international and national short film competitions, and the Baltic Music Video Competition (BMV). The festival’s competitions are especially opportune for debuting directors seeing that RIGA IFF juries include a considerable number of programme organisers for other international film festivals. The seventh edition of RIGA IFF will take place October 15 to 25, 2020.

At a moment when so many film events, unfortunately, get cancelled or have to seek novel forms of reaching their audiences, we hope that autumn will come with recovery, rejuvenation and new strength – both within the industry and elsewhere. The RIGA IFF dates remain as planned – in October, when we can meet again in the most beautiful cinema halls of Riga.

The call for submissions opens on 19 March 2020. Submissions are accepted through FilmFreeway and must adhere to the following deadlines:

  • RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition – July 1
    • SHORT RIGA International Competition – July 1
    • SHORT RIGA National Competition – July 1
    • SHORT RIGA Baltic Music Video Competition – August 7


The Competitions:

Features from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries

The RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition reflects transitions and recent trends in cinema. Its geographical frame – the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries and their associated territories – represents the distinctly different film schools, traditions, languages and visions on various sides of the same sea. The ten films that are ultimately selected exhibit present-day contemplation about the cinema of tomorrow. There are no genre restrictions – films may fall into documentary, fiction, animation, or any cross-genre category. The submitted films must have been completed after July 1st, 2019, and the Latvian premiere of international submissions must take place during RIGA IFF.

Auteur cinema and distinct expression in short format film

The SHORT RIGA International Competition will select 35 works that display distinct auteur expression regardless of genre – animation, fiction, documentary, and experimental film are all admissible.
In 2019 SHORT RIGA became part of the network of 24 film festivals that qualifies films for the European Film Awards (EFA) short film nomination. This network focuses on both selection and promotion of the 24 best short films made by European directors. Thus – in addition to participating in the competition – the eligible directors in both SHORT RIGA International Competition and National Competition have the chance to be selected as the RIGA IFF candidacy for the EFA award “European Short Film 2021”.

Promoting Latvian short films and talents

This year, SHORT RIGA is expanding its competition by adding a National Competition for short film next to its international counterpart. The SHORT RIGA National Competition’s aim is to promote Latvian short films and talents, and selects at least six films to feature. SHORT RIGA National Competition seeks audiovisual works and short films of directors and artists living in Latvia for at least 2 years, or authors born in Latvia. Films that state Latvia as one of their production countries and have involved Latvian professionals in the production process are also eligible. The films featured in the SHORT RIGA National Competition, next to those in the International Competition, are considered for the “European Short Film 2021” award candidacy if eligible.

Scouting the Baltic Music Video Scene

The SHORT RIGA Baltic Music Video Competition (BMV) seeks music videos that are daring, innovative and experimental. The music videos themselves must have been produced in either Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania; the country of origin in terms of the music is not a factor in selection. Only official music video clips are accepted and there are no length restrictions. Videos must have been completed no earlier than June 2019.

Prizes and juries

The Feature Film Competition’s winning director will receive the special RIGA IFF Award – an eight-piece figurine of a rooster poured in bronze, and a monetary prize of €2,000.

In the three SHORT RIGA competitions, the winning directors will receive the Silver Grass-snake – a silver pin featuring the Latvian symbol for a grass-snake; the winner of the International Competition will receive an additional monetary prize of €1,000. A single candidate from the eligible national and international competitions will be selected for the “European Short Film 2021” award.

All competitions are judged by international jury panels composed of members from the professional international film community. Winners of the previous editions and the respective juries can be found here.

Calls for entries open on March 19. More detailed information about the rules, regulations, closing dates, and awards can be found at

RIGA IFF 2019 took place from October 17 to 27. The festival opened with a screening of the internationally recognised Latvian animated film Away (dir. Gints Zilbalodis), while the winner of the Feature Film Competition was Nova Lituania (dir. Karolis Kaupinis, LT). Uncle Thomas, accounting for the days (dir. Regina Pessoa; CA, PT, FR) was the winner of the SHORT RIGA International competition, and the first work that RIGA IFF selected as a candidate for Best Short Film at the European Film Awards. A total of 148 films were screened during the festival. Industry-geared events at the festival included receiving the board of the European Film Academy, the first-ever Baltic Animation Meet-up, and the launching of a new alliance with the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia through organisation of the Magnetic Latvia Film Conference.