The program of the 26th Baltic Sea Documentary Film Forum has been announced

Baltic Sea Documentary Film Forum this year will take place from September 5 to 11, and its films will be shown in the cinema “K. Suns” in Riga, Talsa, Rēzekne, Jēkabpilis and Smiltene.

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The Baltic Sea Documentary Film Forum was founded in 1997, and since 2006 its venue is Riga, where it is hosted by the National Cinema Center. Every year, the forum gathers cinema professionals from the Baltic Sea region, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus countries to the market of film projects, while it offers viewers a thematically diverse, award-winning documentary film program.

The forum’s film program will be opened at the “K. Suns” cinema on September 5 with Ihor Ivanko’s film “A Fragile Memory” (2022), which was made as a Ukrainian-Slovak co-production about the famous cinematographer Leonidas Burlak (“You must not change the meeting place”, 1979), made by him grandson, also through the eyes of the operator. By shedding light on an era whose most glorious stage was spent in the Odessa film studio, Ivanko also reveals a family tragedy – the grandfather is sinking deeper and deeper into Alzheimer’s disease, gradually losing his memory.

On September 5, the film “The Young Plato” (2021) co-produced by Nias Ni Hianain and Declan McGrath will be screened, which was made by the collaboration of cinematographers from Northern Ireland, Ireland, France and Belgium. In a remote area of ​​Belfast that has suffered decades of insurgent attacks and community segregation, the headmaster of a primary school decides to include classical philosophy in the curriculum, which means not only learning what the great minds of ancient Greece and Rome discussed, but also transferring their ideas. to solving everyday quarrels among students. “Jaunais Platons” is one of two films that will be shown outside of Riga, the other being “Hamlet Syndrome”.

The forum program also includes the near-thriller “Treasures of Crimea” (2021, Netherlands). Director Úke Hogandeika documented how, shortly before the occupation in 2014, an exhibition of Crimean archaeological treasures was opened in Amsterdam. When the Russian Federation announces the annexation of Crimea, Dutch museum professionals decide not to return the Scythian gold display to the Crimean museums, from which the exhibits of the collection were temporarily removed. It won’t be long before court proceedings involving the Netherlands, Ukraine and Russia begin.

The impact of the war has also had an impact on Zdravko, the main character of Stefan Pavlović’s film “Where the Horses Are” (2021). The Bosnian war veteran is the main character of the film co-produced by the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina and France, who for years has preferred solitude in the open air to human society, but Zdravko’s relationship with director Stefan develops into a touching friendship.

There is a different relationship between the director of the film “Outside” (2022, Ukraine, Netherlands, Denmark) Oļu Žurba and her character Roma, which developed over seven years. At the age of 13, when his mother was deprived of parental rights, the boy found solace in the Ukrainian revolution and became an active participant of the Maidan.

The experience gained in 2014 is also lived by the characters of the film “Hamlet Syndrome” (2022, Germany), who, at the request of the Ukrainian theater director Roza Sarkisyan, agree to reveal it, using the words of Shakespeare’s characters. Elvira Nevera and Piotr Rosolovsky’s film with the fates of five characters portrays modern Ukrainian society.

The Swedish film “Live from the Heart” (2022) directed by Gustavs Ogerstrand, Osa Ekman, Oskar Hedin Heteberg and Andes Teigen looks into the everyday life of a pansynat on the outskirts of Stockholm. The caretaker Monika starts work there, and the life of the residents of the nursing home takes on a completely different course, which is also reflected on “Facebook” with the witty northern humor.

Artavazd Peleshyan’s film “Nature” (2020, Armenia, Germany, France) has a much grander scale. Having made the previous film 25 years ago, the Armenian classic returns with an epic assembled from mostly amateur footage found on the Internet, documenting various natural phenomena: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes.

The film program will be complemented by several activities – on September 6, after the film “Treasures of Crimea”, there will be a discussion led by film director and writer Kristīne Želve about the cultural heritage industry in crisis. Representatives of Latvian museums, archives and the Ministry of Culture will take part in it. The directors of the films “Fragile Memory”, “Where the Horses Are” and “Hamlet Syndrome” will also take part in the forum, with talks to be held after the film screenings.

The Forum’s film program showcases the connection between an industry event, largely without public participation, and a film program. Several of the films included in the program were previously presented in the project stage in Riga – “Fragile Memory” and “Arpus” in 2019, but “Live from the Heart” in 2020. On September 7, there will also be a conversation about mental health in documentary filmmaking organized by the Creative Europe Media Latvian office, in which international professionals and practitioners will participate.

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