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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Latvia

Latvia’s Ivars Zviedris shooting a documentary about the quarantine

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- The Rūjiena-born director is filming a diary of the pandemic and covering the country’s unprecedented state of emergency

Latvia’s Ivars Zviedris shooting a documentary about the quarantine
A first-look shot from Ivars Zviedris' new documentary

Latvian documentary director and cinematographer Ivars Zviedris is currently working on a film documenting the country’s state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Zviedris’ most recent works as a director include the documentaries Latvian Coyote (2019) and Documentarian (2012). He also served as the DoP on Arunas Matelis’ award-winning documentary Wonderful Losers: A Different World [+see also:
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(2017), set in the world of professional cycling’s “gregarios”.

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The Rūjiena-born filmmaker began shooting the project in mid-March, before the emergency escalated to current levels. Several first-look shots, filmed at Riga International Airport, were published on Vimeo last week and can be seen here.

Speaking about the first few shooting days, the documentarian told Latvian news portal lsm.lv: “I’m filming the calm before the storm because the situation is likely to get worse in the near future. An empty airport, bus station employees dressed like aliens spraying seats with ethyl alcohol, gloves in supermarkets, newly erected borders, everything getting cancelled, hospitals preparing for an influx of patients, repatriation flights... My camera has never filmed these sorts of shots.” Zviedris also highlighted the main challenge posed by the current circumstances: “A documentarian’s mission is to be present. The main difficulty is finding the safest way to film – to keep your distance and not endanger anyone, but get close enough to people and events.”

Finally, Zviedris is currently on the lookout for any further testimonies from people hit by the crisis. In a call published by the Latvian Film Centre, the country’s audiovisual agency, the director invites state institutions, companies and citizens to share their stories through pictures, text, video or audio files by sending them by email to dokumentalists@gmail.com.

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