23-10-2020

FNE at Ji.hlava IDFF 2020: Emerging Producer: Ieva Ūbele - Latvia

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Ieva Ūbele is participating in the 2020 Emerging Producers programme of the Ji-hlava International Documentary Film Festival, which runs 27 October – 8 November 2020.

Ieva Ūbele Ieva Ūbele holds a degree in history from the University of Latvia and Executive MBA from IEDC-Bled School of Management (Slovenia) and is currently pursuing her MA studies in social anthropology. Ieva joined the audiovisual industry in 2006, and has produced more than 20 audiovisual projects. In 2019 she launched her own production company Baltic Balkan Productions and is currently living between Latvia and Serbia. In addition to producing, Ieva runs Rucka Artist Residency in Cēsis, Latvia, and is Head of Industry at IDFF Beldocs in Belgrade, Serbia.

FNE: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work over the past six months?

Ieva Ūbele: Like all people working in the film industry I have been forced to give up travelling to festivals and pitching forums and accept the Zoom reality and deal with the challenges it creates, but it has not changed my plans drastically. I have been able to go on working on the projects I coproduce, pitching one project and working on editing on another one, in September we ran the Beldocs IDFF Industry section online, and I even found a new project to work on in an online setting. I think the pandemic is mostly affecting the shooting process. I have been forced to cancel all plans for shooting in other countries on an international environmental film project because of travel restrictions and requirements for self-isolation upon return. The project and deadline for completion of the film have been extended but it affects the cashflow of my company.

FNE: Emerging Producers provides a networking platform for young documentary producers. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has had the effect of cutting off international collaboration, has this changed your approach to networking with colleagues in other countries?

Ieva Ūbele: I come from a small country and the audience on the national level, especially for documentary films, is very small. Films are made to be seen, thus I think that working internationally is a key to reaching out to the audiences worldwide, and networking and building partnerships is crucial in this process and we should not let obstacles like Covid-19 keep us from doing that. I actually do have a beautiful experience from this time. I met a young director from Moldova during DocuDays UA online, we have not met in person yet, but we have managed to apply with the project Dniester. The Irreversible Flow of Life and get accepted to this year’s edition of Ex-Oriente and we are working on developing it. We have long talks online, we talk about our film, what should be done. Of course, I miss meetings in physical space, but I am glad that technologies allow us to keep working together even if we do not particularly enjoy this format.

FNE: Do you expect the landscape of documentary filmmaking to change because of COVID-19?

Ieva Ūbele: I think documentary filmmakers are positively crazy people, they will go and film in all kinds of situations and conditions, and Covid-19 is not really an obstacle, not in the long run. What could change though is that people will start appreciating and highlighting stories from their own surrounding, their own countries as opposed to travelling to somewhere distant. This is more the case of Western Europe; in Central and Eastern Europe we tend to tell stories from our countries.

FNE: Are you working on any projects that are directly related to this crisis? Why or why not?

Ieva Ūbele: No, because if we look at the history of humanity this is a relatively small event. The Covid-19 epidemic brings to the surface tensions, from a personal to a political level, but the big questions of life do not change. People still love, fight, have kids, grow old, loose their loved ones. A friend of mine once said that all situations in life can be characterised with three words “It Will Pass”. I think it applies to this one as well.

Ieva Ūbele
Baltic Balkan Productions

Nistru. Calea ireversibilă a vieții / Dniester. The Irreversible Flow of Life (in development), producer
Inga dzird / Inga Can Hear (2018), producer (as Ieva Goba)
homo@lv (2010), producer

The 24th Ji.hlava IDFF will take place online this year from 27 October - 8 November 2020.