RIGA: Latvian director Marta Elīna Martinsone has started shooting her debut film, the teen comedy Lame-o’s / Tizlenes produced by Ego Media. The film had several shooting days in January, but the main production period commenced in early July and is set to run until 5 August 2020.

RIGA: The Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia has issued rules that state the social distancing requirements for film productions, allowing the gradual restart of film production in the country.

RIGA: Cinema Splendid Palace, operated by the Riga Municipality, will be the first cinema to reopen in Riga on 19 May, following Latvia’s easing of lockdown restrictions, which began on 12 May. A new initiative, a Drive-in cinema opened near the Riga city centre on 16 May. However, Multikino Latvia has announced it ceased operations after almost ten years in the business in Riga.

RIGA: The National Film Centre of Latvia has announced production grants for 2020. The grants in the amount of 1,768,327 EUR have been distributed to 19 film projects, including five full length fiction films, eight documentaries and six animated films. Eleven of the projects are made by female directors.

RIGA: Ināra Kolmane’s 2018 feature film Bille, produced in the framework of the Latvian Centenary Film Programme, has become the first Latvian feature film bought for broadcasting by the international premium TV group HBO Europe. The film is a coproduction between Film Studio Deviņi (Latvia), Masterfilm (Czech Republic), Magic Lab (Czech Republic) and Studija 2 (Lithuania).

RIGA: The 16th annual Latvian Film Marathon organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia on 4 May 2020 drew 8,600 viewers in 63 countries. The event, which celebrates the reinstitution of the independence of Latvia in 1990, traditionally takes place in a cinema in Riga, but due to the COVID-19 crisis, it was held online on the platform filmas.lv in partnership with the Culture Information Systems Centre (KISC).

RIGA: Distribution companies in Latvia are seeking alternative ways to get films to audiences during the current closure of cinemas, including new and enhanced online platforms.

RIGA: The Riga Municipality has allocated 800,000 EUR for the Riga Film Fund in its 2020 budget. The funds will be available for foreign and national coproductions shot in Latvia.

RIGA: The National Film Centre of Latvia has made its database of national films available to schoolchildren and the general public during the COVID-19 crisis.

RIGA: The Latvian documentary filmmaker Ivars Zviedris has started documenting the evolving situation and people affected by the virus, in response to the restrictions introduced in Latvia due to COVID-19.