Your Guide to the Riga International Film Festival

Your Guide to the Riga International Film Festival
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The Riga International Film Festival starts on the 2nd of December and will continue until the 12th of December. There will be a total of 139 screenings of the latest and most talked-about films at the festival, including films nominated for the European Film Awards and works vying for the “Lielais Kristaps” Latvian film awards, films included in the festival’s Panorama section, and much more. We offer you a brief guide to the events of the festival and wish you to enjoy quality and thought-provoking films that make up the festival’s programme.

Tickets to the films of the festival are available from all “Biļešu serviss” outlets, plus there will also be several free events. A full programme is available at the festival’s website –

European Film Programme of the Riga IFF

This year the Riga IFF will be held under the aegis of the European film industry, which is why the programme of the festival features a large number of the latest European films, many of which have been nominated for the European Film Awards in various categories this year, or were included in the long list. These include the Austrian-German historical thriller “The Dark Valley”, Iceland’s film “Of Horses and Men”, Ukrainian film “The Tribe” that is entirely in sign language, Uberto Pasolini’s latest film “Still Life”, Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” and many others.

The festival’s retrospective of European cinema viewers a number of internationally-acclaimed films: Roman Polanski’s “Venus in Fur”, Pedro Almodóvar’s “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “World on a Wire”, Liv Ulmann’s film “Miss Julie” and others.

The festival’s programme of evening films will showcase films released in 2014: François Ozon’s “The New Girlfriend”, Ulrich Seidl’s “In the Basement” and many more.

A full schedule of screenings is available at the website of the Riga IFF.

National Film Festival “Lielais Kristaps”

The programme of the National Film Festival “Lielais Kristaps” accounts for a large part of the Riga International Film Festival; “Lielais Kristaps” will conclude with a spectacular awards ceremony on the 11th of December, two days before the European Film Awards Ceremony.

According to “Lielais Kristaps” Director Ieva Romanova, the festival gives the participants a chance to learn new, valuable experience. “This year there are many interesting films, I therefore recommend the viewers not to choose some particular films to see, but to simply come and enjoy Latvian cinema on a regular basis,” says Ieva Romanova.

The press have already dubbed 2014 the year of cinema, and the multiple premieres this year have deservedly prompted discussions about a new wave in Latvian film industry. During the “Lielais Kristaps” festival, eight Latvian films will have their premieres, the audiences will also have opportunity to see Latvian feature films that have been nominated for the awards and have already generated significant publicity: Aiks Karapetjans’ “People Out There”, Andris Gauja’s “The Lesson”, Jānis Nords’ “Mother I Love You”, Juris Kursietis’ “Modris”, Aigars Grauba’s “Dream Team 1935” and others. Several co-productions will also be presented to the public: Sergei Loznitsa’s “In the Fog”, Vera Glagoleva’s “Two Women”, and more.

There will also be a programme of short films and documentaries nominated for the “Lielais Kristaps” awards. These include several films that were created as part of the “Riga 2014” Programme: Dāvis Sīmanis’ “Escaping Riga”, Adriana Roze’s “Behind the Talent. Born in Riga”, Olafs Okonovs’ “Vija Celmins. Reinterpreted”, Gints Grūbe’s “Larger than Life”, and other notable films – Ivars Seleckis’ “Capitalism at Crossroad Street”, Kristīne Želve’s “Fedya”, Krista Burāne’s “Mara” and other films.

Likewise, there will be a programme of animated films nominated for the awards, including Signe Baumane’s critically acclaimed animated film “Rocks in My Pockets” and many more.

The Panorama section of the festival includes films by directors Laila Pakalniņa and Dzintars Dreibergs, as well as latest works by Askolds Saulītis, Ivars Zviedris and Viesturs Kairišs. Films by young directors will be screened at the Kaņepe Culture Centre’s “Kino Bize” hall. Also part of the Panorama section is the Latvian documentary filmmaker Ivars Seleckis’ latest film “On Ķīpsala”, part of the six European directors collaboration “Over the Roads, Over the River” that was created as part of the “Riga 2014” Programme.

More information is available here!

Special screenings and Latvian film premieres at Riga IFF

One of the most anticipated premieres at the Riga IFF will be the festival’s opening film – “Beyond the Fear” that Herz Frank began shooting over ten years ago, and that has now been completed by co-director Marija Kravčenko. The other Latvian films that will have their premieres during the festival are director Didzis Eglītis’ film “In a calm Peace”, Staņislavs Tokolovs’ “A Little Longer”, Ivars Zviedris’ “Homo Ludens”, and Latvian premieres for Jurģis Krāsons’ “Face”, Lizete Murovska’s “A Night on the Lake” and Vera Glagoleva’s “Two Women”. Yet another premiere – Vladislav Shchepin’s film “Leaden Fog”.

“Come Down, Pale Moon!”, a film released twenty years ago, will have a special screening at the festival on the 5th of December to honour director and camera operator Ivars Seleckis and editor Maija Selecka who will receive a “Lielais Kristaps” Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to Latvian cinema.

Finally, “Picture of a Woman with a Wild Hog” will be screened at the “K.Suns” cinema on the 9th of December to mark the 70th birthday of film director Arvīds Krievs.

More information is available here!

Riga IFF special events and meetings with film directors

The Riga International Film Festival is much more than just film screenings – there will be a number of special events during the festival, and film directors will meet with the audiences before several film screenings.

A photography exhibition dedicated to the special guest of the festival, Norwegian actress and director Liv Ulmann will be on show at the “Splendid Palace” cinema from the 2nd of December to 31st of January. Liv Ulmann’s latest film “Miss Julie” will be shown at “Splendid Palace” on the 11th of December, with the director herself present. A day later, on the 12th of December, Liva Ulmann will meet with the public at the “Splendid Palace” cinema.

Presentation of a book about the most important Nordic-Baltic co-operation projects in cinema 1989-2014, titled “Stork Flying Over Pinewood”, will be on the 11th of December. The author of the book, Jan Erik Holst will participate in the presentation.

A number of film directors who represent Russia’s influential independent documentary film festival “Artdocfest” will also attend the screenings of their films in Riga and meet with the public. These include Meelis Muhu (“PMR”, cinema “K.Suns”, the 4th of December), Vitaly Mansky (“Pipeline”, cinema “K.Suns”, the 5th of December), Roman Bondarchuk (“Euromaidan. Rough Cut”, cinema “K.Suns”, the 6th of December), Madina Mustafina (“Come on, Scumbags!”, cinema “K.Suns”, the 6th of December).

Also, the Swedish film director Esben Toft Jacobsen” will meet with Latvian children before the screening of his “Beyond Beyond” film in Riga.

Yet another special event is “A Night at the Cinema in 1914”, at the “Splendid Palace” cinema on the 6th of December – a collaboration between the British Film Institute and Riga Film Museum. The project is a typical night at a cinema a hundred years ago, when cinema was something new and exciting, and the cinema-going habits were very different from those today. The programme created by the British Film Institute is made up of 14 British and American films – comedies, adventure films, travel documentaries and newsreels shot before 1914.

More information is available here!

RIGA IFF industry section “Riga Meetings”

“Riga Meetings” is an annual event organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, featuring a number of seminars and meetings. The International Federation of Film Critics FIPRESCI will host the conference “Latvian Cinema in the European Context”, members of the public will have a chance to meet the Berlin Film Festival’s curator Nikolaj Nikitin, there will be a seminar for scriptwriters, and much more. Some of the most anticipated events include a talk and the screening of a film by the European Film Academy’s President Wim Wenders, a meeting with director Agnieszka Holland followed by the screening of one her films, an event honouring Agnès Varda, the recipient of the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award this year, and a special screening of “The Beaches of Agnès” at the “Splendid Palace” cinema on the 12th of December.

The National Film Centre is also the organiser of Estonian and Lithuanian film screenings at the Latvian National Library.

The full programme of “Riga Meetings” is available here.

In the meantime, the creative team of the “2Annas” festival of short films, in collaboration with the Riga IFF and European Film Academy, have organised the first “European Script Meeting” in Riga, which will focus on the story and the narrator, and on the profession of scriptwriter. The event in Riga from the 10th to 14th of December will bring together internationally-renowned scriptwriters, film directors and producers who will discuss the concepts of new projects that have the potential to become full-scale new films in the future.

More information about the programme of “European Script Meeting” is available here!

Nordic films for children and youth

A special chapter in the programme of the Riga IFF – Nordic Films for Children and Youth is targeted at young filmgoers. According to the curator of the programme Kristīne Giluce, the films selected for the festival in Riga are fun and easy to watch, although many of them deal with very serious matters.

The films are meant for children in different age groups, starting with a programme of Latvian and Estonian animated films for the smallest filmgoers up to serious films for teenagers, such as Ulrika Bengts’ “The Disciple” (Finland’s “Oscar” entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Award), “Metalhead” (Iceland), “Shed No Tears” (Sweden) and other films. The films that are brought to Riga as part of this programme will be evaluated by a special children and youth jury.

More information about the children and youth films’ programme is available here!


Yet another highly-anticipated programme of the Riga International Film Festival presents documentary films from “ArtDocFest”, a prestigious documentary film festival in Russia. “ArtDocFest” is Russia’s largest festival of documentary films, also known for its independent opinions and open opposition to Russia’s official politics. For this reason, the Russian Ministry of Culture halted funding for the festival in 2014. Nevertheless, the organisers of the festival are optimistic and are looking for ways to develop closer co-operation with Europe, commencing the co-operation with the Riga International Film Festival this year. The Head of “ArtDocFest”, film director Vitaly Mansky will bring his film “Pipeline” to the festival in Riga, also coming to Riga are a number of other directors whose films were included in the “ArtDocFest/Riga” programme.

Retrospective of Ilona Brūvere’s works

This year the popular film and TV director Ilona Brūvere marks her sixtieth birthday and fortieth anniversary of her professional career. The Riga International Film Festival has organised a special retrospective of the director’s films on the occasion. In 1978 Ilona Brūvere emigrated to West Germany where she worked as an author, film director, producer and editor from 1980 to 1990. She participated in the work on over twenty German documentary and feature films, she also worked at the Munich Film Museum to help restore such silent film classics as “Die Buechse der Pandora”, “Metropolis”, “Dr. Mabuse” and others. The German film fund “Hamburger Filmfoerderung” financed five feature documentaries of Ilona Brūvere, three of which will be shown to the public during the Riga International Film Festival.

A full programme is available here!

Short films from the festival “2Annas”

The popular festival of short films “2Annas” presents a special programme at the Riga International Film Festival this year, featuring the latest and boldest ideas from several different eras in the film industry. The “2Annas” programme “Trespassers” is made up of such trailblazers in Latvian cinema as Aivars Freimanis’ “The Frescoes of Kuldīga” (1966) and several films by Andris Slapiņš, including “Liv Songs” (1976), “Latvian Folklore. Seasonal Songs” (1983) and “Krišjānis Barons” (1984). The programme also includes Igors Linga and Aigars Grauba’s film “The Courage to Kill” (1993) and Herz Frank’s “Flashback” (2002). In addition, short films nominated for the European Film Awards last year will be screened in Riga as part of the “EFA Short Matters 2013” programme.

The full schedule of all Riga IFF screenings is available on the website of the festival and at the festival’s venues.

The Riga IFF films will be screened at three cinemas: “Splendid Palace”, “K.Suns” and “Kino Citadele”. Tickets to “Lielais Kristaps” National Film Festival films cost EUR 3.50, tickets to evening films are EUR 6, and tickets to films from the “ArtDocFest/Riga” festival at the “K.Suns” cinema, as well as films screened by day in all cinemas, cost EUR 4.50. There are discounts for schoolchildren, students and pensioners, admission is free of charge for children aged up to 5. Tickets went on sale on the 27th of November and are available at and the box offices of the three cinemas.


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