Cinemas in Latvia Close, Riga IFF 2021 Moves Online Due to Lockdown

    The Year before the War by Dāvis Sīmanis The Year before the War by Dāvis Sīmanis

    RIGA: Latvia went into lockdown on 21 October 2021 with a number of restrictions in place until 15 November 2021 due to the surge of new COVID-19 cases. As a consequence, all cultural institutions, including cinemas, had to close until mid-November 2021. The Riga International Film Festival, running from 14 to 24 October 2021, will move online.

    The director of Riga IFF, Liene Treimane, told FNE: “RIGA IFF was ready to operate in an epidemiologically safe environment from the very beginning; attending screenings in person was only open to viewers with a valid vaccination certificate, and a large part of the programme was arranged to be screened online as well. A few days before the opening of the festival, restrictions came into force and made us reduce the screening hall capacity by half.”

    “The additional restrictions put in place just now have ruled out any onsite attendance altogether. The planned festival revenue will be about 50% with these limitations, and the sudden changes and the need to adapt again to new restrictions means a significant increase in expenses required for the technical, organisational and crisis communication resources. We are also saddened by the fact that several much anticipated premieres were robbed of half their expected audiences, and we now have to cancel one premiere entirely”, Liene Treimane also said.

    The lockdown is also affecting the domestic distribution. The Year before the War / Gads pirms kara by Dāvis Sīmanis, produced by Latvia’s Studio Locomotive in coproduction with Lithuania’s Studio Uljana Kim and Produkce Radim Prochazka from the Czech Republic, should have had its national premiere on 21 October 2021.

    The restrictions will also affect the Latvian National Film Awards, which are accompanied by film screenings, and are planned for 7-15 November 2021, with the award ceremony scheduled for 14 November 2021.