Last decade
Latvian features, short films and animated films have taken part in major film festivals: Berlin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Festival, Annecy Animated Film Festival, Pusan Film Festival in Korea, Leipzig Festival, Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, etc.

2004 – Animated film The Triplets of Belleville (Canada/France) is nominated for two American Film Academy Oscar Awards, including the nomination for the best film in this category. Latvian animation studio Rija participated in its creation with 50 animation professionals who produced about 45000 drawings.

2003 – The first film co-produced with the support of Eurimages – Honey Baby, directed by Mika Kaurismäki, co-produced from Latvian side by Jānis Vingris (EHO Filma).

2000 – Film project Ten minutes older is screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The project dedicated to Juris Podnieks and Herz Frank is among others made by Wim Wenders, Aki Kaurismäki, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Chen Kaige.

1998 – Film Shoe by Laila Pakalniņa is screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival.

1995 – A film The White Bells (1961) directed by Ivars Kraulītis is included in the list of top 100 best short films of all times at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival (France).

Animated film directed by Nils Skapāns Let’s fly from series of Munk and Lemmy receives Berlin Bear – grand prix of children’s jury in Berlin 45th International Film Festival.

Documentaries by Laila Pakalniņa The Mail and The Ferry are shown at the Cannes Film Festival and receive FIPRESCI award. 

1989 – FELIX award for the Best European Documentary goes to film Crossroad Street by Ivars Seleckis.

1980s – Documentaries era. Highlights include Herz Frank with Ten minutes older (1978) and The Supreme Court (1987), Juris Podnieks with films Is it easy to be young? (1986), Ivars Seleckis with Crossroad Street (1988) and Jevgenijs Paškēvičs with film The Long Day (1981).

1970s – Golden age of Latvian cinematography, when Latvian classics are produced – In the shadow of death (1971, dir. Gunārs Piesis), Brick kiln (1972, dir. Rolands Kalniņš), O Blow Ye Wind! (1973, dir. Gunārs Piesis).

1960s – Beginnings of Latvian animation, lead by Arnolds Burovs puppet film Cock-a-doodle-doo (Ki-ke-ri-gū), best examples: Umurkumurs , Bimini and Dream. Films using appliqué technique are shot by Roze Stiebra and Ansis Bērziņš.

1961-1963 – Riga Film Studio backlot with its film making pavilions in Šmerlis is one of the largest in Northern Europe. In the coming years it allows to produce about 10 feature films, also puppet and animated films, documentaries, science and educational films, newsreels.

1957 – Actress, later director Dzidra Ritenberga receives Volpi cup at Venice Film Festival as the best actress in film Malva.

1940 – Riga Film Studio is founded afterwards recreated after World War II. In 1948, Riga Feature Film Studio and Riga Newsreel Studio are merged.

1934 – First sound film Daugava (dir. Aleksandrs Rusteiķis).

1913 – First feature film Where’s the Truth? is shot. Followed by two more next year – Hear O Israel and Leiba, a Shoemaker.

1910 – First known documentary shots are made in Latvian territory, featuring arrival of Russian tsar Nicholas II in Riga and its surroundings.

1908-1914 – Network of cinemas is created in Riga.

1896 – First public cinema show is held in Riga showing the Lumière brothers film programme.

1895 – The first cinema show in Riga took place in the Solomonsky Circus building, one of the oldest circus buildings in the world still working to this day.


@ National Film Centre of Latvia