Latvian films at the Berlinale


    A short animated Latvian film, The New Species, by well-known Film Studio Animacijas Brigade is in the competition at the Berlinale, while a second film by Latvian director Sigme Baumane was selected for the program section "Berlin Shorts." Two feature films released in 2007 - Vogelfrei and Defenders of Riga - will be screened at the European Film Market.

    AB's short film The New Species - a 10-minute story about insect children who fool a butterfly collector in order to save their parents - was chosen for the "Generation Kplus" competition section for younger audiences, according to the National Film Centre of Latvia.

    Ēvalds Lācis is the screenplay's author, cinematographer and debutorial director for The New Species, which is the third insect-world story from Studio AB (www.latfilma.lv/ABoom/). The first, Firefly directed by Dace Rīdūze, was selected for the same Berlinale competition in 2003.

    But AB's relationship with the Berlinale goes back even farther. In 1995, Nils Skapāns' film Let's Fly?! won the very same competition, claiming the only Berlinale Crystal Bear won by a Latvian film to date.

    In the programme section "Berlinale Shorts" is Latvian director Signe Baumane's seven-minute long film Teat Beat of Sex (episodes 8, 9, 10 and 11). Baumane lives in New York and the film is listed as a US-Italy co-production but many of her other films have been made in Latvia. The newest of them is The Vet (2007), produced by Studio Rija Films

    (www.latfilma.lv/rija), which has participated in four festivals and won a special jury prize in one.