Big Latvian co-prod opens Nov. 9


    The biggest Latvian co-production project in recent years. the eccentric comedy Midsummer Madness, is coming to domestic screens on Nov. 9. The film's budget is €2.5 million and it was shot in seven weeks in Latvia, with one episode in Lithuania.

    The production involves three countries: Austria (Fischer Film, www.fischerfilm.com), the UK (Steve Walsh Productions, www.steve-walsh.com) and Latvia (Kaupo filma (www.latfilma.lv/kaupo). Its director is the Latvian-born Austria resident, Alexander Hahn, who gained worldwide attention with his last comedy, Last Soviet Movie.

    The Latvian co-producer, Guntis Trekteris (Kaupo filma), characterizes this project as a unique experience.

    "This is a truly big project for Latvia," he said. "The film has good distribution potential in Europe, which means that Latvia as a country will appear on the European film map."

    The film's action takes place on the shortest night of the year - Midsummer's Eve - which is a traditional Latvian night of festivities with bonfires, beer drinking, singing, dancing and sex

    It's a celebration where everyone can also get into all sorts of situations. In such an atmosphere, several foreigners (a Portuguese poet, a widow, a young American searching for his half-sister, English firemen, a Japanese groom, an escaped kangaroo), all become caught up in the good times as well as the madness.

    Midsummer Madness is the first Latvian co-production to involve European stars: Dominique Pinon, Maria de Medeiross, Tobiass Moretti, Chulpan Khamatova, Orlando Wells, and two of Latvia's best actors: Gundars Abolins and Kristine Nevarauska. The film is multi-national not only because of its crew (director of photography Jerzy Palacz, editor Justin Krish) but also in content, because its humour stems from cultural misunderstandings.

    The world premiere took place in Vienna on Oct. 2 and was released on Austrian screens Oct. 12, achieving fourth place in audience ratings on its opening weekend.

    Midsummer Madness was developed with Media Slate Funding and is being produced with backing from the Austrian Film Institute (www.filminstitut.at), Austrian Television Film Fund (www.rtr.at/filmfoerdeung), Vienna Film Fund (www.filmfonds-wien.at/eng), State of Upper Austria, National Film Centre of Latvia (www.nfc.lv), Ingenious Media (www.ingeniousmedia.co.uk) and Eurimages (www.coe.int/eurimages). Acmefim (www.acmefilm.com) is handling domestic distribution and EastWest Filmdistribution (www.eastwest-distribution.com) is handling international sales.