Which institution hosts the MEDIA Desk in Latvia? What is the role of that institution with regard to Latvian national film industry?
The MEDIA Desk in Latvia operates within the structure of the National Film Centre of Latvia (www.nfc.lv). The NFC is a state financed organisation under the Ministry of Culture overseeing the film branch in Latvia, giving Government’s financial support to Latvian films, preserving the national audio-visual heritage, promoting Latvian films abroad and co-operating with the relevant international and national organisations.
Average budget of nationally produced films in Latvia?
How many cinemas are members of Europa Cinemas in Latvia?
Two cinemas situated in the very centre of Riga:
- the municipal cinema of the capital city Riga – Riga (www.cinema-riga.lv)
- the arthouse cinema K.Suns (www.kinogalerija.lv)
Is there competition between multiplexes and smaller cinemas in Latvia?
Yes, there is, as the first multiplex “Forum Cinemas” was opened in autumn of 2003 and the smaller cinemas have very hard times now.
Who owns the cinemas in Latvia?
The cinemas are either privately owned or owned by local municipalities.
What about film festivals in Latvia?
- MEDIA supported International Film Forum Arsenals takes place every other year (even years) in September – October (www.arsenals.lv)
- European Documentary Film Symposium takes place every other year (odd years) in September (www.latfilma.lv/symposium)
- International Animation Film Festival Bimini takes place every year in April (www.bimini.lv)
- National Film Festival Lielais Kristaps takes place every other year (odd years) in September (www.nfc.lv)
- MEDIA supported International Film Actors Festival The Baltic Pearl takes place every year in September (www.balticpearl.lv)
- MEDIA supported Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries takes place every year in September (www.mediadesk.lv)
What studio facilities are there in Latvia?
There are two studios with shooting pavilions:
- Riga Film Studio – the old studio from the Soviet times www.studio.lv
- Cinevilla Studio and Backlot – newly built smaller studio & backlot www.cinevilla.lv
Besides there are around 20 independent production companies having a whole range of production and post-production equipment on video, 35mm and digital formats at their disposal.
Anything else you would like to add about filmmaking in Latvia?
- We have very strong documentary filmmakers. Most of them are following the philosophy set by Uldis Brauns and Herz Frank back in 1960-ies when the Riga School of Poetic Documentary Cinema was founded. One of the School’s key principles was to follow the forgotten attitude of Dziga Vertov to the documentary film as a material for art. This School pays special attention to the visual language of the film, thus creating a peculiar – poetic – manner of the documentary. It has significantly influenced the development of the Latvian cinema and strengthened the position of Latvian documentary films in the context of world cinema.
- Also our animators are working very well both in drawing animation and in puppet animation. The animation genre started to develop already in 1960-ies and has developed to a world level by now when animation companies in Latvia are successfully doing co-productions, as well as contract work for companies abroad.