PRODUCTION: Davis Simanis’s Latvian/Lithuanian Maria's Silence Almost Ready for Berlinale’s Forum

    Maria's Silence by Davis Simanis Maria's Silence by Davis Simanis source: Berlinale

    RIGA: The Latvian director/writer/DoP Davis Simanis is putting the final touches on his new project, a powerful historical drama Maria’s Silence. The world premiere of this Latvian/Lithuanian coproduction will be held at the 74th Berlin Film Festival in the Forum section.

    Maria’s Silence is based on the true story of German silent film and theatre star Maria Leiko, a famous actress who has to decide late in her career between fame and love for her grandchild, and between her ideals and the lies of Stalin’s totalitarian regime. Maria is tricked into traveling to Stalin’s Russia in search of her daughter only to discover that her daughter has died giving birth to a little girl. Having a motherless baby on her hands and being offered a new career in Soviet theatre, Maria decides to stay in red-terror torn Russia.

    “Maria Leiko’s life is a perfect ground to reveal the scale of cruelty of a demonic political regime and to tell a biographical story of a strong personality and outstanding actress. She had experienced the most progressive and creative period of the 20th century, playing in F.W. Murnau’s films or on stage at Bertolt Brecht’s German political theatre. She had socialist dreams of an ideal society where everyone’s rights would be honoured and the majority of people would not be condemned to a miserable existence“, Davis Simanis said in a statement.

    The cast includes Olga Šepicka, Artūrs Skrastiņš, Ģirts Ķesteris, Inese Kučinska and Vilis Daudziņš.

    “The fact that Maria’s Silence will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in 2024 makes us think about the twists and turns of history and how they affected the life story of the prototype of the film’s protagonist, actress Maria Leiko (Leyko). In the 1930s, the actress fled Nazi Germany and ended up in Stalin’s Russia. Today, when Russia is trying to minimise Stalin’s crimes, it is also important to talk about artists’ collaboration with the criminal power”, producer Gints Grube added.

    Maria’s Silence is produced by Gints Grūbe and Inese Boka-Grūbe through Latvian Mistrus Media and coproduced by Justė Michailinaitė and Kęstutis Drazdauskas through Broom Films (Lithuania).

    The project received financial support from the National Film Center of Latvia, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, the Lithuanian Film Center, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), missionLatvia, the Latvian Television, Creative Europe Development fund. The film was developed at ScripTeast and EAVE.

    Maria’s Silence was shot in Latvia from 29 November 2022 till 17 January 2023, and also in Lithuania on 9 and 10 May 2023.

    Production Information:

    Mistrus Media (Latvia)
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    Broom Films (Lithuania)
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    Director: Dāvis Sīmanis
    Scriptwriters: Dāvis Sīmanis, Magali Negroni, Tabita Rudzāte
    DoP: Andrejs Rudzāts
    Set designer: Kristīne Jurjāne
    Costume designer: Kristīne Jurjāne, Rūta Kuplā, Aija Strazdiņa
    Editor: Ieva Veiverytė
    Original music: Paulius Kilbauskas, Justas Štaras
    Sound designer: Jonas Maksvytis
    Make-up artist: Beata Rjabovska
    1st assistant director: Igors Verenieks
    Production manager: Ilze Krūmiņliepa
    Production assistant: Anete Ruperte

    Click HERE for the press release.