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Riga International Film forum Arsenals


Riga International Film festival Arsenals is being organized
biennially in September. It offers different sections: International Film Competition (author cinema features, docs, animations), Baltic Film Competition (all genres` films from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), World Panorama and special thematic programmes and retrospectives.The main prize of the International Film Competition is 10 000 USD.
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Arsenal's Closing ceremony

“Arsenals” film marathon – at the finishing line

A festive “Arsenals” closing ceremony took place in the great hall of cinema “Riga” on Saturday, September 20, 2008. During the ceremony many winners were announced – those of the juries’ awards, the lucky film viewer, whom Airbaltic will take on a trip to Venice next autumn, the winner of the main festival award (20000 US dollars), as well as many special prize winners.

And the awards of “Arsenals” were as follows:

The ambassador of Austria to Latvia Hermine Popeller presented an award of 1500 euro to the best Baltic debutant, and the award was given to Juris Poškus, the director of the film “Monotony”.

The FIPRESCI jury announced that the award in the Baltic film show was given to “Vogelfrei” (directors: Jānis Kalējs, Jānis Putniņš, Anna Viduleja, Gatis Šmits) and in the International film competition – to “Andalucia” (director: Alain Gomis).

The Interfilm jury presented a commendation to Ramin Bahrani’s film “Chop Shop”, but the award “Best International Competition Film” was given to “Silent Light” by Carlos Reygadas, which was also one of this year’s Arsenāls most attended films. In the Baltic film show, the jury decided that the most vivid this year’s Baltic film was “The Class” by Ilmar Raag. A commendation was given to Edmunds Jansons’ short documentary animation “Little Bird’s Diary”.

In the Baltic film show the award “Best Documentary” was given to the Estonian director Priit Valkna’s film “The Headwind Hall”, the award “Best Animation” was given to Edmunds Jansons’ film “Little Bird’s Diary”, the award “Best Feature Film” was given to “Autumn Ball” by Veiko Ounpuu. The award “Best Baltic Film” was given to “Vogelfrei” by Jānis Kalējs, Gatis Šmits, Jānis Putniņš and Anna Viduleja. This award and 5000 euro were presented by Inga Šīna, vice-president of Rietumu Banka.

The audience prize went to “The Class” by Ilmar Raag, and a lottery decided the viewer – Eduards Gavars – who received an opportunity for two to go to Venice next autumn. The award was presented by Jānis Vanags, corporate communications vice-president of “air Baltic”, who emphasized that films just like flights let a person travel in time and space, thus providing new feelings and unexpected adventures.

“Arsenals” main prize – 20 000 US dollars – was drawn in a lottery as usual, thus emphasizing that all international competition films are equally good to deserve the main prize. A representative for each film was kindly asked to come to the stage.
So, there was:
Marina Razbezhkina – the director of “The Hollow;
the most famous Mexican in Latvia – the cook Javier Garsia representing “Silent Light”;
a representative of the Other film festival – Raja Chhinal from India – on behalf of “The Other”;
Jean-Louis Leprêtre – director of the French Cultural Centre – for “Andalucia”; Latvian TV diva Kristīne Želve – for “The Aerial”;
Dimitri Karakatsanis – the director of “Small Gods”;
Alex Brendemhul – the star and script writer of “Me”;
Vita Krastiņa – the secretary of Arsenāls selection committee and the “head of Salomé” in Arsenāls opening ceremony – on behalf of “Derek”;
Hermine Popellera – the ambassador of Austria to Latvia – representing the film “About Water: People and Yellow cans”;
Scott Hetherington – the ambassador of Canada to Latvia – representing “My Winnipeg”;
“Arsenals”programmer Šarlote Līduma – representing “Ploy”;
an anonymous pioneer – on behalf of “Revue”,
Pauls Ārgalis – the prototype of the star of “Chop Shop” in Latvia, thus representing the film;
the head of Arsenāls programme group Sonora Broka on behalf of “Misbegotten”; Sem Klebanov – Russian TV star and film distributor – for “O’Horten” and
Zivile Gallego, film co-producer on behalf of “Whisper of Sin”.

As usual for “Arsenals”, the main award was drawn in an unusual way – each film representative chose a cup of coffee. In one of them, Elvita Ruka, the president of Arsenāls, had hidden a petal. After a given command all representatives started to drink the coffee and the lucky petal was in the cup of Pauls Ārgalis, the representative of the film “Chop Shop”.

After the ceremony, Sergei Ovcharov’s film “The Orchard”, based on Anton Chekhov’s play “The Cherry Orchard”, was screened. “Arsenals” president Elvita Ruka gave also a special “Arsenals” award to this film director for “Collective Creativity” that had helped him create such a wonderful orchard. The Orchard gave inspiration also for Arsenāls closing ceremony, as it had a green grass, rose petal rain and a cherry blossom that was later found in Pauls Ārgalis coffee cup.

After the official ceremony the party continued with dances and jokes in the Latvian Society House, thus finalizing the 19th International Film Forum “Arsenals”.

Photo: Janis Buls                                                                            

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About Riga International Film forum Arsenals


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International film festival with two competition sections: a) International (authorcinema features, docs, animations); b) Baltic film Competition (all genres` films from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)


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