The Riga International Film Festival's annual industry programme RIGA IFF FORUM took place from 19 to 21 October in various venues in Latvia’s capital. The programme included a co-financing platform for feature films and series projects from the Eastern and Central European region as well as in-depth feedback sessions for short film projects from the Baltics and Norway. The primary mission of RIGA IFF FORUM is to pave the way for new voices in the Baltic and Eastern European cinematic landscape. The festival's industry programme featured altogether 26 projects from both emerging and established filmmakers.
During the RIGA IFF SHOWCASE – market for upcoming feature films and series from Eastern and Central Europe as well as Caucasus – a jury of international professionals evaluated 15 feature film and series projects in various development stages and determined the best project. The winner was awarded a cash prize of 5000 EUR provided by the festival's main partner Tet, one of the largest IT innovations and media companies in the Baltics. The jury – Inga Alika-Stroda, Lukas Trimonis, Katrin Kissa, Ahbra Perry and Lenka Tyrpáková – chose Europa as the winner. Produced by Radovan Síbrt (Pink Productions), Europa marks the first steps in narrative cinema by a seasoned Czech documentary filmmaker Jan Gebert.
The longest running and the most renowned section of the RIGA IFF FORUM – in depth feedback sessions for short film projects – SHORT RIGA Test Screenings took place for the eighth consecutive year. Experiencing an ever increasing interest from both well-known and upcoming filmmakers, SHORT RIGA Test Screenings featured 11 projects, chosen by Laurence Raymond, an internationally avowed curator, with previous experience in festivals such as Directors’ Fortnight short film programme at the Cannes Film Festival and the Québec City Film Festival. The international jury – Catherine Colas, Pascale Faure, Marie-Pauline Mollaret, Sydney Neter and Armands Začs – awarded a prize of post-production services worth 5000 EUR by BB Posthouse to Estonian animator Martinus Klemet’s short film Yummy, produced by Aurelia Aasa, AAA Creative, whilst the special mention went to Freeride by Edmunds Jansons, produced by Sabīne Andersone, Atom Art.
In addition, this year RIGA IFF hosted the yearly EFA Short Film Network meeting, which gathered film festival representatives from all Europe. For the first time at RIGA IFF filmmakers were invited to MEET THE FESTIVALS in order to gain knowledge of what different festivals are looking for. Semaine de la Critique, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Fantoche International Animation Film festival were only some of the participants. All of the events mentioned above, were attended by a record number of people, rising the bar for the next festival editions.
The festival also welcomed professionals from the leading European funding bodies and broadcasters, such as Eurimages, ZDF and YLE respectively, during the panel cycle Stories that Cross Borders – Shaping of European Series Co-production. The festival was chosen as the host for these talks by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia addressing the production environment and funding opportunities of the series in context of the newly launched Pilot Programme for Series Co-Production by the Council of Europe.
Continuing the cooperation with Baltic Women in Film Mentorship program, the festival offered an opportunity for all interested festival attendees to take part in a lecture by Irma Pužauskaitė on the role of intimacy coordinators of film sets, which took place in a full house.
RIGA IFF’s main partner is the media and technology company Tet. The festival is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation, the EU programme Creative Europe MEDIA, Riga City Council, the National Film Centre, BB Posthouse and CE MEDIA Desk Latvia.