He just might be the prestigious film festival's youngest director, as he is in Latvia at the moment. The 22-year-old grew up in a film making family. His father Vilnis Kalnaellis is one of Latvia's leading producers. Reinis worked from an early age at his father's studio, RIJA (which produced When Apples Roll), in various capacities: project managing assistant, editing, DVD mastering. He is in his last year at the Baltic Film and Media School's cinematography department, and has studied at Prague's FAMU film school.
A naive and comic story about Cat and his devoted friend Mouse who live in an apple orchard, When Apples Roll is notable for its sincerity and hand-crafted animation, coming from a computer-age director. Kalnaellis told FNE, "I approached animation as an unlived childhood dream that is knocked down like a house of cards when assembled. In making my first animation film it was important for me as director to create a delightful musical story without instructive dialogue, hopefully appealing to children as well as adults."
The film is rendered in colour pencil, with the small individual drawings created by Latvian animators. Kalnaellis previously worked on large-scale international projects such as Triplets of Belleville and Lotte from Gadgetville, He has already established a reputation as a cinematographer working on video clips and students' short films.
"I'm grateful to the entire film crew that helped me go through a fantastic, professional master class in animation, creating a film that was accepted by the Berlinale festival. Right now it is essential for me to work on my graduation film, and try for entry in cinematography at the London National Film and Television School, or another strong European film school," Kalnaellis said.