PRODUCTION: Latvian Filmmaker Ivars Zviedris Documents a Country in Lockdown

    Director Ivars Zviedris at Riga International Airport Director Ivars Zviedris at Riga International Airport

    RIGA: The Latvian documentary filmmaker Ivars Zviedris has started documenting the evolving situation and people affected by the virus, in response to the restrictions introduced in Latvia due to COVID-19.

    Zviedris began shooting in mid-March 2020 when the first restrictions were introduced in Latvia. His intention at the moment is to capture the unprecedented situation, by filming at various locations and finding the human stories from people directly experiencing it. He also plans to film people presenting alternative methods for keeping away the virus, such as high frequency sound. He has filmed at the empty Riga International Airport, on the border of Latvia and Estonia, where border checks have been re-introduced, in Riga's public transport offices, and hospitals.

    “I am shooting the silence before the storm, as the situation is going to get worse,” Zviedris said.

    Zviedris has also initiated a Facebook campaign to search for people who want to share their stories.

    “The main challenge is to find the technically safest way for filming – to keep a distance and not to endanger oneself, but also to be close enough,” he added. 

    Zviedris has been making documentaries since the late 1990s, often focusing on topical issues in society or on strong characters. He runs his own production company, Dokumentālists. His 2012 film Documentarian / Dokumentālists was shown at international festivals and distributed by Taskovski Films. His latest film Latvian Coyote / Valkātājs has recently been picked up by Taskovski, and is awaiting its international premiere.