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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Latvia

Andrius Blaževičius’ Runner wins the Riga International Film Festival

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- Other victors included Stefano Cipani’s My Brother Chases Dinosaurs, winner of the ECFA Award in the Kids’ Reel Competition, and Olga Lucovnicova’s doc My Uncle Tudor, crowned Best International Short

Andrius Blaževičius’ Runner wins the Riga International Film Festival
Runner by Andrius Blaževičius

This year, the Riga International Film Festival (Riga IFF) took place from 14-24 October, with physical screenings in Riga, Valmiera and Madona, and an online presence throughout the country. The line-up of the 2021 edition included over 100 films across ten different strands.

Owing to the recent surge in coronavirus cases and the newly imposed restrictions nationwide, the traditional awards ceremony could not be held in person. Nevertheless, the festival decided to announce the winners by means of a dedicated short, through which all of the participants and guests were able to enjoy a “celebratory atmosphere”. Helmed by Liene Linde and filmed by DoP Dāvids Smiltiņš, the film portrays an alternative ceremony hosted by actor Gerds Lapoška, actor-composer Toms Auniņš and other surprise guests.

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On this occasion, the festival’s main award went to Andrius Blaževičius’ drama Runner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrius Blaževičius
film profile
]
(Lithuania/Czech Republic). The film won the feature-film competition and a cash prize of €3,000 provided by local insurance company Balta. Runner tells the intense story of a woman racing against time to find her lover, and the jury noted that it “stood out in the competition as a remarkable accomplishment and an impressive exploration of the relationship between mental health, empathy and technology through a nail-biting urban journey”.

Valdimar Jóhannsson’s supernatural horror Lamb [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
film profile
]
(Iceland/Sweden/Poland) scooped a Special Mention for being an “allegorical and ironic portrayal of a humanity principally responsible for its ‘lost paradise’ and for its place in this world, through the prism of myth and reality”. The main award in the SHORT RIGA International Short Film Competition and its accompanying €2,000 cash prize, provided by BALTA, went to Olga Lucovnicova’s touching documentary about sexual abuse, entitled My Uncle Tudor (Hungary/Portugal/Belgium). Finally, the Kids’ Reel competition saw the triumph of Stefano Cipani’s My Brother Chases Dinosaurs [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Stefano Cipani
film profile
]
(Italy/Spain), the winner of the ECFA Award. The picture, inspired by a true story, was hailed as “a joyous and poignant family movie on the fear of being judged by others” in its Cineuropa review.

The Riga IFF was organised with the support of the State Culture Capital Foundation, the European Union’s Creative Europe – MEDIA programme, the National Film Centre of Latvia and Riga City Council.

Here is the full list of this year’s award winners:

Feature Film Competition

Riga IFF Award
Runner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrius Blaževičius
film profile
]
– Andrius Blaževičius (Lithuania/Czech Republic)
Special Mention
Lamb [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valdimar Jóhannsson
film profile
]
– Valdimar Jóhannsson (Iceland/Sweden/Poland)

Short Riga International Competition – Best Short Film
My Uncle Tudor – Olga Lucovnicova (Hungary/Portugal/Belgium)
Special Mention
Pneuma – Fanny Béguély (France)

Best Short Film – EFA
38 – Joanna Rytel (Sweden)

Short Riga National Competition – Best Short Film
Panic – Helen Ora (Latvia)

Kids’ Reel Competition

Feature Film Competition – ECFA Award
My Brother Chases Dinosaurs [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
interview: Stefano Cipani
film profile
]
– Stefano Cipani (Italy/Spain)

Short Film Competition – ECFA Short Film Award
Mum Is Pouring Rain - Hugo De Faucompret (France)

Children’s Jury Prize
SpaceBoy [+see also:
film review
interview: Olivier Pairoux
film profile
]
– Olivier Pairoux (Belgium)

Test Screening Award – Riga IFF Forum
Sierra – Sander Joon (short)

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