On 10 February, the annual Berlin International Film Festival starts, and Latvia is represented in competition programmes as well as film market screenings. Animation short Hush, Hush Little Bear by Māra Liniņa was selected for the Generation Kplus competition. Meanwhile the film market will provide the potential distributors and partners with an overview of Latvian film industry and screenings of several almost completed films.
Berlinale is one of the oldest and largest film festivals in Europe, and after last year’s changes due to the pandemic, it returns to its usual time - the beginning of February (10 - 20 February this year), and almost to its usual format with in-person screenings, strict health security measures and filling the auditoriums only to half of their capacity.
The competition section Generation Kplus focusing on short films for children has selected the Latvian animation short Hush, Hush Little Bear, a collaboration between director Māra Liniņa and artist Ūna Laukmane based on the most popular Latvian lullaby of the same title sung by Kristīne Zadovska and Andris Keišs. The film, made in the rare needle-felted animation technique and produced by Atom Art, will be shown along with five other children films in five screenings from 12 February, tickets for in-person screenings are available three days before the actual screening.
However, Berlinale industry events – European Film Market (10 – 17 February), Berlinale Co-Production Market (12 – 16 February), Berlinale Talents (12 – 17 February) and others are still held purely online in virtual cinemas and digital booths for each participating country, including Latvia. Our film market booth will offer information on the Latvian film industry and latest productions as well as the Baltic statistical digest Facts & Figures regularly published by the National Film Centre of Latvia.
European Film Market will screen four films made with the participation of Latvian film professionals. Two market screenings (on 10 and 16 February) are planned for Uģis Olte’s feature debut Upurga (VFS Films), premiered internationally in November 2021 in Tallinn and still waiting for its national premiere on 21 March. East West Filmdistribution represents this film internationally. Two screenings are planned for the family film Christmas in the Jungle/Ziemassvētki džungļos produced by Lokomotīve, directed by Jaak Kilmi from Estonia, and shot in Indonesia. For two years the Latvian premiere of this film was planned in December but was postponed due to the pandemic, now it is planned for early December 2022. Another European Film Market entry is the feature The Sleeping Beast/Tagurpidi torn directed by Jaak Kilmi with the participation of Lokomotīve studio as the minority co-producer. Another Latvian company, Film Angels Productions, is the minority co-production partner of the Estonian historical epic The Apothecary Melchior/Apteeker Melchior directed by Elmo Nüganen and partly filmed in the Latvian cinema village Cinevilla. In Estonia, premiere of this epic medieval story has been postponed twice.
Meanwhile, Latvian director Laila Pakalniņa will take part in one of the opening events of Berlinale – a discussion on progressive cinema on 9 February. This conference with the participation of ten film professionals (producers, directors, philosophers, curators, festival directors, etc.) will open the traditional Berlin Critics’ Week/Woche der Kritik.
More information on Latvia in Berlinale: