13-11-2020

FNE at Baltic Event 2020: Latvian Director Matīss Kaža in Postproduction with Neon Spring

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Neon Spring by Matīss Kaža Neon Spring by Matīss Kaža

RIGA: Latvian director Matīss Kaža is in postproduction with his third fiction feature Neon Spring / Neona pavasaris produced by Dace Siatkovska and Kaža at Deep Sea Studios. The film will be presented at Baltic Event Work in Progress taking place as part of this year’s online one-week summit for film and audiovisual industry professionals, held during the Black Nights Film Festival PÖFF, on 23 - 27 November 2020.

Neon Spring chronicles two months in the life of Laine (Marija Luīze Meļķe), a twenty-year-old young woman who lives in a suburban neighbourhood near Riga with her parents and younger brother Bruno (Timotejs Pelle Kalniņš). When Laine’s parents separate, she has to take up new responsibilities over Bruno, who is becoming increasingly anxious over the situation. As Laine’s father Edgars (Jānis Skutelis) emotionally distances himself from his family, unable to cope with the new separation, Laine discovers a new part of herself in the Riga underground rave scene, where she falls in love with seasoned raver Gunda (Grēta Trušiņa). The sleepless nights of parties, drugs and new experiences transform Laine’s experience to an extent where she loses connection with reality, the life she had before and the family which desperately needs her to be present.

“Our goal was to create an emotionally truthful and honest portrayal of contemporary Latvian youth. The digital nature of our interaction oftentimes misrepresents the emotionally complex interior reality of our experiences as young people. In a way, this film is a protest against false performativity, presenting raw emotions and attempting to convey truthful interactions rather than following the prescriptions of dramaturgical schematics. Instead of starting with a strict screenplay, most of the film’s material was created by the actors in tandem with the director. We spoke to numerous young people from the Riga electronic music scene, gathered intimate stories and personal details, many of which became a part of the film. The visual style of the piece will be hyper-subjective, with long takes helping convey the emotional world of the film’s protagonist,” director Matīss Kaža told FNE.

The film’s cast is comprised of both actors and non-professionals. The leading role will be played by young artist and poet Marija Luīze Meļķe, while supporting cast includes Grēta Trušiņa (who played the main female role in Blizzard of Souls / Dvēseļu putenis, 2019), Jānis Skutelis (At the Movies / Kino un mēs, 2020), Agnese Rukšāne and Gerds Lapoška (New Riga Theatre Actors’ Studio).

Neon Spring is Kaža’s third fiction feature as a director. His debut feature, a comedy At the Movies (Fenixfilm / Deep Sea Studios), was released in 2020, and a western Where the Road Leads / Kur vedīs ceļš (Fenixfilm / Deep Sea Studios) is currently in postproduction (planned to be released in the spring of 2021). He has also directed two feature length documentaries and is a producer for other directors’ films.

The film’s budget is approximately 150,000 EUR, including an 80,000 EUR grant from the State Culture Capital Fund in the low-budget film production competition in 2020.

The release is expected in 2021.

Production information:

Deep Sea Studios (Latvia)

Neon Spring by Matīss KažaCredits:
Producers: Dace Siatkovska, Matīss Kaža
Director: Matīss Kaža
Screenwriter: Matīss Kaža, Marija Luīze Meļķe
DoP: Aleksandrs Grebņevs
Editor: TBD
Production Designer: Rūdolfs Baltiņš
Costume designer: Laura Jančauska, Krišjānis Elviks
Make-up artist: Beata Rjabovska
Original music: Toms Auniņš
Cast: Marija Luīze Meļķe, Grēta Trušiņa, Gerds Lapoška, Jānis Skutelis, Agnese Rukšāne, Timotejs Pelle Kalniņš, Matīss Ozols