I write this the day after the premiere of the film by Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys at the festival in Karlovy Vary. Warm applause after the screening of a film with many layers, an auteur film but first of all an homage to the masters of the Baltic New Wave: Herz Frank, Uldis Brauns, Ivars Seleckis, Andres Sööt, Robertas Verba, Henrikas Sablevicius, Arvis Freimanis, Mark Soosaar. The three of them still very much alive and kicking were there, see photo, Soosaar, Sööt and Seleckis.
The festival, that I have never visited before, has set up screenings of short films made by the directors in the 60’es and 70’es during the period of Soviet Union. We hope that “Bridges of Time” will make you want to go and see the films we quote from – around 20 are screened in four programmes, that also include films by Audrius Stonys himself and Laila Pakalnina.
The two were in focus this morning in a “Meet the filmmakers” session of the festival. Audrius
Stonys showed a beautifully restored copy of his “Antigravitation” from 1995, Laila Pakalnina came with “The Linen”, shot by Gints Berzins, a fantastic cameraperson with whom Pakalnina has been working on many of her films. We went at film school together, he in camera section, me in direction. Berzins is shooting Pakalnina’s new film, working title “The Spoon”.
Also on stage in the “Meet the filmmakers”, that was moderated in a very competent way by Latvian Zane Balcus, were Soosaar, Sööt and Seleckis – the films shown were “The Coast” by Arvis Freimanis with Seleckis doing the camera., “511 Best Photographs of Mars” by Andres Sööt and a fragment of “Woman from Kihnu” by Soosaar. I had not seen Sööt’s film before, it’s shot with hidden camera in a café with classical and Beatles music, yes it was in 1963 that I heard Beatles from morning till night. Sööt said in his humorous way that “we could use Beatles music as the USSR did not make contracts”!
The man behind getting a Baltic delegation to Karlovy Vary, Uldis Cekulis, a generous man with an impressive energy brought along a 8 page newspaper Baltic New Wave, a collection of articles on the filmmakers in “Bridges of Time”, a small gift for all those, who love documentaries.
Happy people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – and proud ones, who have deserved the great attention they get at this super-professional festival for feature and documentary films.
Photo from right to left: The three masters from the film Estonians Mark Soosaar and Andres Sööt, Latvian Ivars Seleckis, the director of the film Kristine Briede, Estonian producer Riho Västrik, Lithuanian producers Alge and Arunas Matelis, Latvian producer Uldis Cekulis, me and Audrius Stonys, the interpreter and two festival programmers.