Start of Free Ticket Registration for Baltic Film Days, August 25-26
Wednesday, August 20 marks the start of registration for or in-person pick up of free tickets to the Baltic Film Days taking place on August 25-26, 2020 at film theatre Splendid Palace. These free screenings provide a chance for viewers from the three Baltic nations to watch films from their neighbouring countries; in Riga, two films from Lithuania will be screened on August 25, while two from Estonia will be shown on August 26.
Baltic Film Days traditionally take place in cinemas, and this year the participating film institutions have decided instead of taking the event online, to support cinemas and the film culture tradition of watching films in theatres. The epidemiological situation, however, calls for adherence to appropriate safety measures, and Splendid Palace has social distancing and public health safety protocols in place. That is why in the Large Hall viewers will be offered some 300 seats as opposed to the usual 500. And although the screenings are free of charge, each viewer has to pre-register for a specific seat in the hall (or pick up free passes in person, available from today in Tinto restaurant beside the film theatre). In order for the epidemiological situation to be controlled post-screening as well, viewers will have to register and show ID prior to entering the hall, and therefore are kindly asked to arrive in a timely fashion!
For free passes to Baltic Film Days screenings, please select a film (see write-ups below) and register here:
If a potential viewer does not have access to the Internet, free passes can also be picked up in person at Tinto restaurant (Elizabetes Str. 61) during business hours.
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. In Riga, the films will be screened in their original languages with synchronized translation into Latvian and English subtitles.
On Lithuania day, August 25, viewers will have a chance to see the very popular, festival-awarded feature Nova Lituania (2019), the directing debut of Karolis Kaupinis. This nuanced and stylistically refined film is based on historical facts, with the action taking place in 1938 when real-life geography professor Kazis Pakšts (in the film – Felix Gruodis, played by Alekss Kazanavičius) tried to convince the government to save Lithuania from an impending historical disaster by forming a “reserve nation” on another continent. The nearness of the disaster is sensed only by the main character, but his dream of a possible paradise on earth was upheld by the Prime Minister of Lithuania at the time.
Lithuania will also be represented by the documentary film, Acid Forest (2018). Veteran of some forty festivals, it is an ironic and black-humour-filled story shot in an environment worthy of horror or thriller film action. Back in the day, not far from Nida, was a pine forest – until cormorants arrived and began to destroy it in a rather unpleasant manner. The documentary is expertly designed using “viewpoint dramaturgy” that allows for all to see and be seen – the frequent tourists who come to the acid forest to see the birds and the destruction have also become objects, as the cormorants watch them. Film director Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė works in theatre as well as in film, and among her most famous works is the Lithuanian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale (2019), created together with like-minded peers, for which they received a Golden Lion for best national pavilion.
Estonia day is August 26, and our neighbours are offering Latvian film viewers the feature Scandinavian Silence (2019), an Estonia-France-Belgium small budget co-production. The film’s director Marti Helde is one of the most talented young Estonian directors, who already gained international recognition with his debut film, In the Crosswind (2014) – an artistically bold conceptualization about the deportations. Scandinavian Silence has been screened in many significant festivals and has received international awards. It is a visually nuanced, psychological drama with elements of tension that infuse a boy and girl’s seemingly simple road trip with shadows from the past and unsolved problems, revealing dramatic events that took place some years ago.
The Estonian documentary that is part of this year’s Baltic Film Days programme is A Year Full of Drama (2019). Young Estonian director Marta Pulk’s debut 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 to chronicle their impressions in a blog. The winner is a young woman from Valga – Alissija, who has grown up in a Russian-speaking family and has until now never encountered Estonian theatre. In following 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.
For this year’s Baltic Film Days each country chose two from among the neighbouring country’s latest films. For Estonia it was Oļegs (2019) by Juris Kursietis, and Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs by Edmunds Jansons (a Latvian Centenery animation film); while Lithuania chose Jelgava ’94 (2019) by Jānis Ābele, and Homo Novus (2018) by Anna Vidulēja.
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)