The official program of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival has been announced, featuring the film “Maria’s Silence” by director Dāvis Sīmanis, produced by film studio Mistrus Media, will have its world premiere on the evening of February 18.
The film Maria’s Silence will be screened in the Forum program of Berlinale, which has selected 30 films from around the world. The festival states that this year’s Forum program was created in cooperation with all sections of the festival to offer an exciting selection of films during this socially and politically challenging time.
The festival programmers point out that the selection of films in the Forum program this year is open to the world, and directed more towards the audience, introducing “other types of heroes”, while director Dāvis Sīmanis’s film Maria’s Silence is highlighted together with the biographical films of the program.
Maria’s Silence by Dāvis Sīmanis is a historical drama based on the true story of the German silent film and theatre star Maria Leiko – a famous actress who late in her career has to decide between fame and love for her grandchild, between her ideals or the lies of Stalin’s totalitarian regime. Maria is tricked into travelling to Stalin’s Russia in search for her daughter, only to discover that the daughter has died giving birth to a little girl. Having a motherless baby on her hands and being offered a new career in a Soviet theatre Maria decides to stay in the red-terror torn Russia.
Director Dāvis Sīmanis states, "In my view, Maria Leiko's life story encapsulates what we often term 'the whole world going mad' - this period, commencing with the First World War, the Russian and German revolutions, and extending into the interwar era marked by autocratic regimes. As she travels through different countries during these times, her experiences and presence serve as a historical prism. Perhaps most importantly, this allows us to view these events not narrowly, from a singular perspective, but to shed light on the entire first half of the 20th century, encompassing all the typical political and cultural vicissitudes, as well as historical disasters of that era.”
The 74th Berlin International Film Festival will take place this year from February 15 to February 25, 2024 in Germany. This is one of the largest, most significant and top film festivals in the world, which has been taking place since 1951. Along with the Cannes and Venice festivals, Berlinale is considered one of the main annual film forums of European cinema. The Forum program of the Berlin Film Festival will take place in its 54th year, and in its selection, it highlights the importance of cinema as a medium, selecting films that contain an important socio-artistic message and which pay special attention to the aesthetics of cinema.
Screenings of the Berlin International Film Festival can be visited not only by festival guests, but also by a wider audience. As part of the festival, the audience will be able to see the film Maria’s Silence in four screenings, as we as in additional media and festival market screenings.
Film festival screenings in Berlin:
February 18 at 19:00, Cinema Arsenal 1
February 19 at 15:00, Betonhalle at Silent Green
February 20 at 15:00, Delphi Filmpalast
February 24 at 16:00, Cubix6 movie theater
During the Berlin Film Festival, Maria’s Silence will be open to world sales.
The production team of the film comprises director Dāvis Sīmanis, cinematographer Andrejs Rudzāts, screenwriters Dāvis Sīmais, Magali Negroni and Tabita Rudzāte, set designer Kristīne Jurjāne, make-up designer Beata Rjabovska, composer Paulius Kilbauskas, Justas Štaras, sound designer Jonas Maksvytis, editor Ieva Veiveryte. Lead roles are played by Olga Šepicka, Artūrs Skrastiņš, Ģirts Ķesteris, Inese Kučinska and Vilis Daudziņš, it is produced by Gints Grūbe and Inese Boka-Grūbe, co-produced by Juste Michailinaite and Kestutis Drazdauskas.
The film’s production is supported by the National Cinema Center, the Lithuanian Cinema Center, the EU program “Creative Europe”, the State Culture Capital Fund, Latvian Television, streaming platforms LMT and Net. The film’s world premiere is supported by the National Cinema Center, LIAA Spotlight Latvia, and the Embassy of Latvia in Germany.
Mistrus Media film production company has previously produced ‘The Mover’ (2018) by director Dāvis Sīmanis, shown as part of the competition programme at the Moscow International Film Festival. The list of the studio’s production includes Viesturs Kairišs’ feature drama ‘January’ that was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2022 and received the Best International Narrative Award and other historically-themed films like the co-production ‘In the Dusk’ by Šarūnas Bartas, part of the official programme at 2020 Cannes Film Festival; ‘Natural Light’ by Dénes Nagy, a film that premiered as part of the 2021 programme of Berlin International Film Festival and was awarded a Silver Bear in the Best Director category. The studio also produced a TV series ‘Emily. Queen of the Press’ and director Aik Karapetian’s ‘Samuel’s Travels’ that saw its first screening as part of the competition programme at Fantastic Fest in Austin (USA).
“Maria’s Silence” will be shown in Latvian cinemas from April 4.