On 19 October, the European Film Academy published several short lists of nominees, including five animated films competing for the European Film Award in the European Animated Film category, and the animated feature My Love Affair with Marriage by Signe Baumane is one of them.
Director Signe Baumane says, “I’m happy that European professionals have appreciated my film. For me personally, it is important that such a story of an East European woman has been noticed and recognised with a nomination, and I hope very much that this nomination will bring the film closer to the European viewer.”
Films to be nominated for the European Film Awards (EFA) (https://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/nomination-current) are chosen by a selection committee consisting of EFA representatives and also professionals from Cartoon, the European Animation Association, in the case of animation category. The vote of 4,400 European Film Academy members will decide the winner, who will be announced at the 35th European Film Awards ceremony in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 10 December 2022. My Love Affair with Marriage by Signe Baumane is the only film from Latvia nominated for the prestigious award; on the Baltic scale, another work – the documentary Mr. Landsbergis produced by Sergey Loznitsa in Lithuania has been nominated in the European Documentary Film category (https://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/selection-documentary-current).
In 1989, the European Film Academy - under the name of European Cinema Society - was officially founded by its first President, the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, as well as 40 outstanding filmmakers from all over Europe, among them Federico Fellini, Theodoros Angelopoulos, Richard Attenborough and others, to advance the interests of the European film industry. Film director Wim Wenders was the President of the Academy for almost 24 years, followed by director Agnieszka Holland in 2020.
Dita Rietuma, the head of the National Film Centre of Latvia, says, “The nomination of a full-length animated film for the European Film Awards is a unique event for the Latvian cinema – it is the first such high recognition for Latvian animation art, which is proving itself more convincingly and visibly in the international context. Signe Baumane's personal and at the same time universal animated film is both a story about her own life and a mirror in which we see the infinitely deep and complex theme of a woman's search for identity and societal frameworks. I sincerely congratulate Signe Baumane and her production team in Latvia on the great and well-deserved success. Her unique author’s style has culminated in a talented, personal, ironic and witty story - an international project, which was also created with the support of the National Film Centre of Latvia.”
On 13 October, My Love Affair with Marriage by Signe Baumane had its national premiere at the opening of the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF). It took place in a crowded hall with warm support and ovations from the audience. But the world premiere took place in June at the prestigious Tribeca Festival in New York City, and the film has already received international recognition at important film festivals - it won an award at the Annecy Festival in France, was recognized as the best at the Danish Animation Film Festival in Viborg and has just won the New York Woodstock Film Festival Award for Outstanding Direction. The film also received a nomination for the best original screenplay at the Raindance festival in London, which the director will attend soon. In total, more than 30 festivals around the world have already selected the film for their programmes.
The full-length animation film for adults My Love Affair With Marriage asks the eternal questions – what is love, how to find and preserve it? It tells the story of young Zelma’s search for love with the help of the mythic Sirens that tell her to strive for an ideal marriage. However, the whole concept is inevitably shattered when the woman's Biology with its hormones and neuron signals influences her behaviour and emotions. According to a film reviewer, some people spend their entire lives wondering why they have failed to maintain a relationship, but Signe Baumane is determined to find an answer. The result is a musical and witty animation film that combines both ancient mythology and modern neuroscience.
It is a Latvia, USA and Luxembourg co-production, financially supported by the National Film Centre of Latvia, the production and distribution in Latvia is coordinated by the production company Lokomotīve.