PRODUCTION: Dzintars Dreibergs Shoots Latvian Cold War Biopic Escape Net

    Escape Net by Dzintars Dreibergs Escape Net by Dzintars Dreibergs credit: Janis Konons

    RIGA: Latvian director Dzintars Dreibergs is in production with his sophomore feature Escape Net / Tīklā. TTT leģendas dzimšana, a biopic about one of the world's most successful female basketball stars: Dzidra Karamiseva, the first Latvian woman to join the USSR national team.

    Set in Soviet-era Riga, when sport was a rare opportunity for citizens to travel abroad, the film follows Dzidra, an impoverished young woman, who takes up basketball in hopes of reuniting with her brother, who sought refuge abroad after WWII. Despite the odds, Dzidra becomes the first Latvian woman to join the USSR national team. However, before an overseas match, the KGB intervenes. Undeterred, she becomes captain of Riga TTT, a local basketball club, gaining recognition. They eventually reach the Euroleague final in Paris, where Dzidra discovers her brother's presence, leading to a challenging decision: escape with her brother or remain loyal to her occupied homeland, Latvia.

    The film stars Agnese Budovska and the cast includes Artur Smolyaninov, Evelina Otto, Rezija Kalnina, Arturs Skrastins, Jekabs Reinis and Natalia Ziveca.

    A former basketball player himself, Dzintars Dreibergs has the know-how to direct basketball games and knows basketball everyday life from the inside.

    “The story of Dzidra Karamiseva allows us to present several aspects of Soviet life and the interaction between the USSR and other European countries, all from the perspective of an athlete whose strength will inspire so many”, Dreibergs told FNE.

    Inga Pranevska, Dzintars Dreibergs, Arta Giga and Marta Romanova-Jekabsone are producing through Kultfilma (Latvia) with a total budget of 1.7 m EUR.

    Escape Net is a political drama told through the eyes of a rising basketball star. It's a timely reminder of resilience in the face of adversity, and a message of hope and perseverance told through the eyes of a strong woman, an unsung heroine, while today's politics largely mirror those of the 1950s. The film is driven by female characters, and combines a realistic approach with a poetic, personal point of view. Inspired by real events, it is a personal destiny that meets history, and particularly a turning point for the Baltic nations”, Inga Pranevska told FNE.

    Escape Net was supported as part of the ERAF-funded Latvian film production support programme, financed by resources from REACT-EU operations as part of the EU's response to mitigating the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (with 911,357 EUR). It was also financed by Creative Europe MEDIA (with 45,000 EUR), the National Film Centre of Latvia, the Latvian National Culture Capital Foundation, LMT Smart TV, as well as private sponsor shop chain DEPO and other private cash sponsors.

    All locations were shot in Latvia, even scenes from Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Paris, Tallinn and Tbilisi.

    Latvian cinematographer Valdis Celmins, who was an IMAGO nominee in 2020 for Blizzard of Souls (Kultfilma) is lensing, while Grammy and Emmy Award-winner Latvian-American Lolita Ritmanis is the composer for the film.

    Escape Net is expected to premiere in 2025.

    Dzintars Dreibergs made his feature directorial debut with Blizzard of Souls / Dvēseļu putenis (2019), which was shortlisted for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards. The film broke box office records in Latvia and was distributed in over 50 countries.

    Production Information:

    Escape Net by Dzintars Dreibergs, credit: Janis KononsProducer:
    Kultfilma (Latvia)
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    Director: Dzintars Dreibergs  
    Screenwriters: Dzintars Dreibergs, Ligita Lukstraupe
    DoP: Valdis Celmins
    Production designer: Laura Dislere
    Composer: Lolita Ritmanis
    Editor: Gatis Belogrudovs
    Cast: Agnese Budovska, Artur Smolyaninov, Evelina Otto, Rezija Kalnina, Arturs Skrastins, Jekabs Reinis, Natalia Ziveca, Kira Mickovska