At the end of June, the production company DEVIŅI and director Ināra Kolmane resumed the shooting of her film Soviet Milk, based on the popular novel by Nora Ikstena. The second shooting period will continue in summer and early autumn.
The shooting will start in a flat in Old Riga, where the house of the main characters is set up representing different periods of time - the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s. Further filming will take place in Riga and other locations in Latvia.
“This is a thrilling and very active time – we are planning to finish the shooting autumn. The summer shooting period will be full of vivid emotions, as we will film scenes reflecting the harsh and emotional destinies of women set on the background of the 20th century history events during the Soviet occupation, centering on the 1980s. This regime deprived many of faith and honesty, and also life, and completely ruined life and its goals for many others. This historical background, I think, is relevant also in today's troubled world. In the film, we’ll look at everything from different angles – with eyes of mother and daughter. It will allow everyone to see the absurdity of the Soviet system and people, both through the prism of adults who have lost their ideals, and also from a perspective of a child,” says director Ināra Kolmane.
Three actresses play the leading part of Mother Astra in different stages of her life – Maija Doveika, Elīna Vaska and Madara Mazā as Little Astra. Her daughter Nora is played by Rūta Kronberga, and Zane Bierande is Jese. Since the story spans across a long period of time (1944 to 1989), several other characters in different ages will also be played by different actors. For example, Grandmother is played by Indra Briķe, and in her youth by Inga Tropa, Juris Lisner takes on the role of Stepfather, while Rihards Jakovels plays the same part in his youth.
Other well-known Latvian actors will be seen in a variety of supporting and episodic roles: Jānis Znotiņš as Mother Astra’s Father, Elīna Vāne as Principal of Rural School, Baiba Broka as Principal of Riga School, Daiga Kažociņa as Teacher, Kaspars Znotiņš as Teacher Blūms, Gundars Grasbergs as Chekist, Hermans Skučs as Chekist, Ilze Blauberga as Sister, Daiga Gaismiņa as Children's Doctor, Anatoly Fechin as Military Education Teacher, etc. Actors from Russia and Ukraine have also been cast for parts in the Leningrad scenes.
"After a few days of filming in February, when the winter scenes were shot, we are now happy to return to the set and ready to continue working on the highly anticipated film. We are, as they say in English, a "dream team" - those who add the greatest value to the project have come together. Looking at the film crew colleagues, actors and the director, and keeping in mind our supporters - the National Film Centre of Latvia, DEPO, Tet studio and others - there is faith - here is the real dream team that will realize the project in the best possible way! ” says the film's executive producer Ieva Majore.
The film crew is grateful to everybody who responds, donates and lends different Soviet era props and clothing.
The film is based on the internationally popular novel Mother’s Milk by Nora Ikstena. The project has received financial support from the National Film Centre of Latvia and the EU programme Creative Europe MEDIA, the general sponsor of the film is the Latvian company DEPO, while one of the co-producers – the Latvian technology and entertainment company Tet.
The film is directed by Ināra Kolmane, and the screenplay is written by Arvis Kolmanis. The film has an international crew: DOP Rolandas Leonavičius (Lithuania), production designer Algirdas Garbačiauskas (Lithuania), costume designer Evija Džonsone, makeup artist Gunda Zvirbule, producers Jānis Juhņevičs and Marta Romanova-Jēkabsone, executive producer Ieva Majore and others. The cast is selected by Austra Casting.
The previous feature film by director Ināra Kolmane, Bille, was made in the programme Latvian Films for Latvian Centenary as a co-production of Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic. It has won both the love of the audience and various awards, including the National Film Award (Lielais Kristaps) as the best feature film. In Latvia, Bille is currently available on the film and series platform Tet + and can be purchased on DVD.
Watch the film’s teaser here.