The Artdocfest film festival opens in Riga

The Artdocfest film festival opens in Riga

The independent documentary film festival opens in Riga today.

The motto of the Artdocfest festival, which is not being held in Moscow for the first time in 16 years, is “No war”. The focus of the film forum is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Several films about the war were shot by Ukrainian and European directors. A parallel program entitled “War to War” presents paintings made on Ukrainian and Russian material. Like several films about modern Russian life, they were produced in Europe and the USA. In the second main competition called Baltic Focus the best tapes of the Baltic region are included. Among them is “Mariupolis-2” by the Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravychus, who was killed by the Russian military in Mariupol in early April 2022. The work, edited by Kvedaravichus’ colleagues, received the prize of the European Film Academy (an analogue of the European Oscar) as the best documentary film of the year.

The opening film of Artdocfest is the Dane Simon Lehreng Vilmont’s film “House of Shards”, shot in 2021 and receiving a prize for directing at one of the main world documentaries’ forums, Sundance. Filming took place in an orphanage in Lysychansk, which is now under Russian occupation.

There are about 30 paintings in the two main competitions, Artdocfest Open and Baltic Focus, and more than 50 in total at the festival. Jury of the competition Artdocfest Open are represented by the famous Lithuanian and European theater and film actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite, the editor of the Latvian intellectual magazine Rigas Laiks (“Riga Time”) Uldis Tirons and the popular Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, who condemned the invasion of Ukraine, left for Europe and was declared a foreign agent.

The festival will end with the screening of the film “Eastern Front” by the president of Artdocfest, director and producer Vitaly Manskyi and Ukrainian director Yevgeny Tytarenko, about military operations on the territory of Ukraine. This tape, shot on the front line, was made with the support of the Now TV channel and opened Berlinnale -2023.

The Artdocfest festival, which since its creation in 2007 has been focused on independent Russian cinema and social criticism of reality, has taken an anti-war stance since the annexation of Crimea. Since 2014, it has been held in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Riga. In recent years, he has been under pressure from the authorities. Screenings in cinemas were canceled and also disrupted by the militants of the nationalist movements of SERB and NOD. After the festival was banned in Moscow on March 2, 2022, the festival management decided to withdraw the forum from all venues in Russia to Riga. For several years, the documentaries of the Radio Liberty project “Signs of Life” were participants of the Artdocfest in the Artdocset program and received awards from the jury.

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