PRODUCTION: Latvian Director Signe Birkova Shoots Feature Debut Lotus

    Lotus by Signe Birkova Lotus by Signe Birkova photo: Agnese Zeltiņa

    RIGA: Latvian director Signe Birkova has begun shooting her debut fiction feature film Lotus, a comical phantasmagory about a young woman in 1919 Latvia, who desires new challenges and expression of inner freedom. The film is produced by Roberts Vinovskis and Dominiks Jarmakovičs for Studio Locomotive (Latvia) and Uljana Kim for Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania).

    The film tells the story of the German-Baltic Countess Alice Von Trot, an outsider who by overcoming physical and mental obstacles and prejudices, becomes an avant-garde filmmaker in Latvian silent cinema. Elements of various film genres and quotes from world cinema classics (Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, etc.) will be included, as well as a special dedication to silent cinema. For greater authenticity, the silent film fragments will be shot with a 1921 film camera specifically acquired for this production. Instead of digital cameras, Lotus will be filmed by an analogue 16 mm camera using Kodak film stock.  

    The lead role is played by Severija Janušauskaitė, a Lithuanian theatre and film actress who appeared in the series Babylon Berlin (2017), and in the films What Silent Gerda Knows / Ko zina klusā Gerda (2020) by Jevgēņijs Paškēvičs, Isaac (2019) by Jurgis Matulevicius, and Motherland / Gimtine by Tomas Vengris (2019). The cast also includes a number of Latvian film and theatre actors including Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš, and Rēzija Kalniņa.

    Birkova has directed short fiction, experimental and documentary films, TV programmes, and created analogue film performances. For experimental films Birkova uses 16mm and Super 8 film, as well as a variety of animation techniques. She has received the FIPRESCI prize at the National Film Festival for her short feature Upon Return I'll Be a Flaming Rose / Un tad es atgriezīšos kā kvēlojoša roze (2014, Camera Obscura). Her feature documentary Ring of Fire / Uguns aplis (2021, VFS Films) premiered at Riga IFF 2021.

    The indoor scenes are being filmed at the filming pavilion of BBstudios, opened in the autumn of 2021 in Riga. The initial shooting period in December lasted four days. The remainder of the 30-day shooting schedule will recommence in the spring of 2022. 

    Lotus is planned to be released in 2023. The film’s total budget is 880,000 EUR, including 500,000 EUR from the National Film Centre of Latvia.

    Production information:

    Studio Locomotive (Latvia)
    Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania)

    Lotus by Signe Birkova, photo: Agnese ZeltiņaCredits:
    Director: Signe Birkova
    Screenwriter: Signe Birkova
    DoP: Mārtiņš Jurevics
    Editor: Andris Grants
    Production Desinger: Mārtiņš Straupe
    Costume designer: Jurate Silakaktiņa
    Make-up artist: Ilze Trumpe
    Original music: Paulius Kilbauskas
    Cast: Severija Janušauskaitė, Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš, Mārtiņš Kalita, Rēzija Kalniņa, Andis Strods, Iveta Pole, Āris Matesovičs, Jana Čivžele, Lauma Balode
    Producers: Roberts Vinovskis, Dominiks Jarmakovičs
    Coproducer: Uljana Kim