Streičs directs another hit film for Latvia

By Daira Abolina

    Latvian director Janis Streičs has revived interest in domestic film production with his latest feature Rudolf's Legacy (Rudolfa mantojums).

    Since its premiere on January 15, the film has attracted 15,000 viewers and drawn critical acclaim.

    The film has an unusual distribution plan by Latvian standards. It has been released simultaneously on two screens in Riga's leading cinema and on 30 screens throughout the country. By the beginning of February, another 20 will join the list. However, technical constraints hinder showing the film on 35 mm film in most cinemas outside of the capital; therefore, the film was shot on HD video and released in two formats: HDCAM and Blue Ray.

    The film looks likely to achieve the success of Streičs; The Mill of Fate, which had 121,861 admissions, second only to the decades' record-holder, Titanic.

    Rudolf's Legacy takes place in the beginning of the 20th century, at a when Latvia held the promise of prosperity and happiness as the peasant class moved up to positions of power. The film is based on works of Latvian novelist and playwright Rudolfs Blaumanis. Saturated with humour, the film is sculpted like a stylized retro tale at up-to-date pace about ordinary life at Latvian countryside and in the city. Rudolf's Legacy was shot both on locations and at the open-air studio set "Cinevilla" where an entire early 20th century household was built for the production.

    Rudolf's Legacy was produced by Platforma (www.cinevilla.lv) and producer Andrejs Ekis. The budget was 2 million EUR (1.4 million LVL), with 775,000 LVL from the National Film centre of Latvia (NFC, www.nfc.lv), and 5,000 LVL from the State Culture Capital Foundation (KKF, www.kkf.lv). The only Latvian film more expensive than this one is Defenders of Riga (with budget 2.2 million LVL), produced by the same studio.

    Sales and international distribution have not yet been set.