Latvia nominates a film to run for the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Award for the ninth time this year. The panel of experts chosen by the Latvian National Film Centre (NFC) announced its decision at a press conference on September 23. The Latvian entry for this year is the feature film “Dawn / Ausma” directed by Laila Pakalniņa.
Latvian film producers had submitted four entries – three feature films and one documentary for the Oscar selection this year: feature films Mellow Mud (Es esmu šeit, 2016) directed by Renārs Vimba, Exiled (Pelnu sanatorija, 2016) by Dāvis Sīmanis, Dawn (Ausma, 2015) by Laila Pakalniņa and the documentary Under the Sun (V luchah solntsa, 2015) by Vitaliy Manskiy. The process was especially intriguing because all the films are nominated for the National Film Award Lielais Kristaps (The Great Christopher) in the best film category.
Dawn is Laila Pakalniņa’s fifth feature film and a Latvian, Polish and Estonian co-production supported by the National Film Centre. It premiered in the competition of Tallinn Film Festival, an A category festival, on November 18, 2015. The Latvian premiere took place on November 23, 2015. Just a month ago the European Film Academy (EFA) announced that Dawn is included in the list of 50 best European full length feature films of the year. Entries from this list will be further evaluated for nominations of the European Film Academy Awards for the achievements in European cinema. Ausma is a black and white, visually impressive story of a society lost in values, set in a not so very distant past – the Soviet Era – when grownups and children alike lost their points of reference in the name of ideological principles. One of the sources of inspiration for the director was the unrealised film project Bezhin Meadow by the world-famous cinema classic, Sergei Eisenstein, in 1930s.
It is worth to note that Latvian film professionals were involved in film projects from other countries that also have been entered in the run for Oscars. Lithuanian experts have nominated the Baltic co-production feature film Seneca’s Day (Senekos diena) directed by Kristijonas Vildziunas, co-produced by Studija Lokomotīve from Latvia; the Ukrainian entry is the documentary Ukrainian Sheriffs (Украинские шерифы) by Roman Bondarchuk, co-produced by Uldis Cekulis from Vides Filmu studija, Latvia.
The 89th American Film Academy Awards ceremony celebrating the best achievements in motion picture arts in 2016 will take place in Los Angeles on February 26, 2017. The nominees will be announced on January 24, 2017.