In June, filming of seven series film “Emily. Queen of Press" have been finished. The project was supported by National Film Centre of Latvia and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia from the state contingency fund due to emergency situation. Series are produced by Mistrus Media, and directed by Kristīne Želve, Andis Mizišs, Dāvis Sīmanis and Gints Grūbe, main role is portrayed by actress Guna Zariņa. Series will premiere in autumn.
It’s the story about Emīlija Benjamiņa, the “queen of the press” in interwar Latvia, whose wealth and tragic fate have since become folklore. The film’s narrative covers the period from the beginnings of Emīlija’s magazine Atpūta (Leisure), to her arrest and slow demise in a train en route to Siberia. Filming of the series started in November 19, 2020 in the streets of Riga by the Vērmanes garden park and after 50 days of shooting, was wrapped at the summer manor of the Benjamiņu family in Valdeķi.
Each episode of the series focuses on one significant part of Emilija’s life and illustrates different aspects of her personality – family life, entrepreneurship, how she established her social status, her influence on politics and culture, her dreams and obstacles as a woman and ultimately how her own employees betrayed her. The most prominent clairvoyant of the time - Eugene Fink’s prophecy that Emīlija would die from starvation in a foreign land (which proved to be true) weaves through the narrative as a red thread. With this strong woman at the centre of the story, the film shows Latvian society in all its richness and gives the audience the opportunity to meet prominent Latvian historical figures - Kārlis Skalbe, Vilis Lācis, Jānis Kārkliņš, Annija Simsone, Pēteris Blaus, Jūlijs Lācis, Augusts Kirhenšteins and others. Six episodes are made as feature fiction episodes - filmmakers’ artistic interpretation of the protagonist and various historical events, and the seventh and last episode is a collection of documentary evidence of how things were, and what remains today.
Screenplay is written by Baņuta Rubess, Ivo Briedis, Aiva Birbele and Tabita Rudzāte; consultants -Māra Zālīte and Ineta Lipša; series are directed by Kristīne Želve, Andis Mizišs and Dāvis Sīmanis, documentary episode is created by Gints Grūbe and Lilita Eglīte; cinematography by Andrejs Rudzāts, production design by Kristīne Jurjāne and Aivars Žukovskis, costume designers - Aija Strazdiņa and Rūta Kuplā; make up - Vivita Jansone; executive producer - Ilze Krūmiņliepa; producers - Gints Grūbe and Inese Boka-Grūbe.
Main role of Emīlija Benjamiņa is played by actress Guna Zariņa, Antons Benjamiņš is played by Juris Bartkevičs. Many outstanding Latvian actors have starred in the series - Baiba Broka, Ligita Dēvica, Inga Tropa, Artūrs Skrastiņš and others.
The idea of the series was supported in Septemeber 2020 by National Film Centre of Latvia and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia from the state contingency fund in the call for applications for creation of artistically high quality series. The call was a part of a support programme for the cultural sector, which was seriously damaged by Covid-19 pandemy.
The national co-producers of the series are technology and entertainment company Tet, Latvian Television, Riga Film Studio.
Film studio Mistrus Media have already produced several historical films – The Chronicles of Melanie (2016), The Mover (2018), as well co-produced films In the Dusk (2020) and Natural Light (2021), which recently was premiered at Berlinale’s Main Competition; documentary films (history reconstructions) Escaping Riga (2014), My Father The Spy (2019) were screened in many festivals worldwide.
Premiere of the series is scheduled in autumn 2021; in 2022 – series will be screened on Latvian Television.
Gints Grūbe, producer
Tel: +371 29455252