The 16th edition of the quirky Arsenals International Forum (Sept 21-29) highlighted the achievements of filmmakers in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia at the second Baltic screenings, which has become an important part of this festival held in Riga each two years.
While the combined feature film production of the three countries is only eight to ten features a year, the festival also screened animation, shorts and documentaries from the region making an impressive body of work.
The FIPRESCI jury awarded the prize of best film to Pau And His Brother directed by Marc Recha, and best Baltic film to Latvia's Leaving By The Way directed by Viesturs Kairiss while a Baltic competition jury awarded the prize for best Baltic feature film to Lithuania's Venecijus Life And The Death Of Cezar, directed by Janina Lapinskaite.
Following a tradition that given the festival its unique character the winner of the $10,000 grand prize of the international competition is chosen entirely at random during the closing ceremony. This year the prize went to the Czech film Wild Bees (Bohdan Slama) (pictured) .
The film was selected because its producer Kristian Suda found a lucky button at the bottom of his glass while drinking during the closing ceremony. Luminaries on hand to enjoy the fun included Otar Ioseliani, Mika Kaurismaki and Rustam Ibragimbekov.
Baltic Film Competition Winners:
Having Soul (Hing Sees), Estonia, dir Riho Unt
Best Feature Film
The Lease (Nuomos Sutartis), Lithuania, dir Kristijonas Vildziunas
Wake Up (Mostieties), Lativa dir Laila Pakalnina
Alone (Viena), Lithuania, dir Audrius Stonys
Best Baltic Film
Venecijus Life And The Death Of Cezar (Venecijaus Gyvenimas Ir Cezario Mirtis), Lithuania, dir Janina Lapinskaite