The official programme for the Cannes Film Festival has just been announced, and it includes two films co-produced by and filmed in Latvia: Sergei Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature in the official selection, and Slovak director György Kristóf’s full-length debut Out in the Un Certain Regard section. Both films were made with assistance from the team at Film Angels Productions and co-production funding.
Nineteen full-length films have been selected for the official competition in this 70th-anniversary year of the Cannes Film Festival (May 17–28). They include the newest works from François Ozon, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Michael Haneke, Sofia Coppola and other directors. This will be the third time a film by Loznitsa will have competed at Cannes. His previous entry was In the Fog (2012), which received the FIPRESCI award and was the first film he shot in Latvia. Having enjoyed the advantages of filming in Latvia and the highly qualified and talented film professionals working in the country, Loznitsa returned to Latvia with his next project, for which he received co-finansing from the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Riga Film Fund and support from the Film Angels Productions studio.
The feature film A Gentle Creature is based on motifs from a story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was filmed in the summer of 2016 in and near the Latvian city of Daugavpils. The main producer of the film is the French company Slot Machine; also participating in the international co-production were companies from Germany, Russia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Ukraine.
Slovak director György Kristóf’s debut film Out has been selected to compete in the 16-film Un Certain Regard section, which will open with Mathieu Amalric’s newest film, Barbara. Kristóf’s film is the story of a middle-aged Slovakian man who heads to Latvia for work but is dragged into a series of absurd events. The film is a co-production by Slovakia, Latvia, France, Hungary and Czech Republic. It was filmed in 2015, and a few later scenes were shot in Slovakia and Hungary.
Kristóf and his Latvian wife, Ieva Norvele-Kristóf, are both graduates of the FAMU school in Prague, Czech Republic. Norvele-Kristóf served as the director’s first assistant for Out, but she also acted in the film and is the reason why most of the film was shot in Latvia. The filming of this project in Latvia was also supported by Film Angels Productions, and most of the filming group in Latvia consisted of local film professionals, such as art director Aldis Meinerts, production director Elīna Zazerska, casting director Brigita Lībiete, lighting specialist Juris Zemītis and many others. Out also features Latvian actors Guna Zariņa, Ieva Aleksandrova-Eklone, Kaspars Pūce, Varis Klausītājs, Kaspars Bindemanis and others.
In fact, Latvia is linked with one more film in the official Cannes competition lineup. Andris Keišs, an actor at the New Riga Theatre, plays in Zvyagintsev’s feature film Loveless.
Locarno’s work in progress section First Look will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Baltic Cinema showcasing not yet completed Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian films, for an audience of professionals attending the Industry Days.
Baltic Cinema Industry has seen a constant growth in recognition in the yearly festival circuit: 2016 Berlinale Chrystal Bear winner Es esmu seit (Mellow Mud) by Renars Vimba, Tangerines by Zaza Urushadze (nominated at the 2015 Oscars), and I’m Not From Here by directors Maite Alberdi and Giedrė Žickytė. Several Baltic directors have attended the last edition of the Locarno Festival: Laila Pakalniņa, Maris Saadi, Ilmar Raag, Heilika Pikkov among others.
“The Locarno Industry Days are the perfect place to give the right visibility to a specific activity. First Look is an excellent opportunity for the countries in focus to highlight their cinema. Thanks to the tailor made program designed by Project Manager Markus Duffner, we are sure that the selected Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian producers will profit from the Locarno experience. Nobody can be sure, especially in these days, to sell a film, but we can assure that the films will be seen by buyers, festival programmers and other professionals in town, as well as by a high profile jury ”, says Nadia Dresti, Locarno’s Deputy Artistic Director and Head of International.
Thanks to the invaluable support of the National Film Centre of Latvia, Estonian Film Institute and Lithuanian Film Centre, First Look 2017 will select from 5 to 7 films in post-production stage and with no sales agent attached to be screened to an audience of buyers, festival programmers, post-production support funds representatives and sales agents attending Locarno’s Industry Days. The aim is to start the films’ international career and help their completion, enhancing a dialogue between the professionals and the producers that will introduce each work in progress briefly before each screening.
“The Latvian National Film centre is very pleased to participate in the First Look section, which represents a great opportunity for the Latvian film industry to highlight its production boost – 16 new features – for Latvia’s centenary programme”, National Film Centre of Latvia, Dita Rietuma.
The 70th edition of the Locarno Festival will held from 2 to 12 August 2017.
Further information on First Look.
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