IDFF Artdocfest / Riga announces winners

With permission from FilmNewEurope and its Latvian correspondent Zane Balčus, we bring her article about:

Riga: International Documentary Film Festival Artdocfest / Riga run from 28 April to 3 May in Riga and outside the city. The main prize of the Artdocfest competition was awarded to the film Silent Voice, directed by Reka Valerik (a pseudonym of the director to conceal the identity of a filmmaker for the safety reasons). The film focuses on a young wrestler from Chechnya, who faces death threats due to his homosexuality and is forced to relocate to Brussels.

The main prize of the Baltic Focus competition was awarded to Restless Memories by Latvian director Elīna Lange-Ionatamishvili, who created a portrait of two children who live in the 2008 Georgia-Russia war refugee village.

As the cinemas in Latvia are still closed, the films of the programme were screened for a limited number of audiences consisting of one household in various venues (a farm, a film studio, a women’s prison, and others) followed by Q&A with film’s director. The rest of the screenings are planned to be held in August in cinemas. 

The festival has two competition sections – an Artdocfest competition (with 21 films) and Baltic Focus competition (films produced in or co-produced with Baltic countries, 10 films). The main award of the Baltic Focus competition is named Herz, honouring Latvian documentary filmmaker Hercs Franks (1926 – 2013).

The jury of the international competition gathered in Riga. The jury members were Russian film critic, editor of the film magazine Iskusstvo kino Anton Dolin, Latvian film critic, the director of the National Film Centre of Latvia Dita Rietuma, and journalist of music and politics Artemy Troitsky, who is currently based in Estonia. Baltic Focus competition jury worked remotely, and it was formed by documentary film consultant Tue Steen Müller (Denmark), director Alina Rudnitskaya (Russia), and associate professor of University of Cagliari Massimo Tria (Italy).

Full list of winners:

Artdocfest Competition

Grand prix

Silent Voice (France/ Belgium, 2020)

Directed by Reka Valerik

Best Director 

Viktor Kossakovsky for Gunda (Norway/ USA, 2020)

Special mention

The Earth is Blue as an Orange / Земля блакитна, ніби апельсин (Ukraine/ Lithuania)

Directed by Iryna Tsilyk 

Co-produced by Moonmakers

Baltic Focus Competition

Main Award

Restless Memories / Nemierīgās atmiņas (Latvia, 2020)

Directed by Elīna Lange-Ionatamishvili 

Produced by Mistrus Media

Co-produced by Latvian Academy of Culture

Best Director                           

Giedrė ickytė for The Jump / Šuolis (Lithuania/ Latvia/ France, 2020)

Produced by Moonmakers

Co-produced by VFS Films

Supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre, the National Film Centre of Latvia

Special mention

One Life / Vienas gyvenimas (Lithuania)

Directed by Marija Stonytė

Produced by Moonmakers

Supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre

Artdocfest was established in Russia in 2007. Since 2015 it was partnering with Riga International Film Festival as a non-competitive section of documentary films, but since 2018 it was running as an international documentary competition section within Riga IFF. The first single standing festival was planned to run in November/ December 2020, but was postponed to late April 2021 due to pandemic. Along the film screening, the festival also had a symposium dedicated to theoretical discussions on documentary cinema.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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