‘Arsenals’, founded in 1988, had been a popular bi-annual fixture on the circuit and was the first independent film festival to emerge from the ashes of the ex-Soviet Union. Championing Baltic cinema and beyond, the festival was estimated to have screened more than 2,000 movies to audiences in excess of 330,000 during its 25-year history.
FF Riga is intended as a ‘homage’ to the event and will be held in the week when this year’s Arsenals was due to take place. Intriguingly, the festival has no budget at all and instead relies on a group of industry supporters who will cover all costs related to the screening of films from their respective countries.
Festivals supporting the event are Crossing Europe Filmfestival (Linz), Helsinki International Film Festival Love and Anarchy (Finland), Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia), Sofia International Film Festival (Bulgaria), Warsaw Film Festival (Poland), International Film Festival Prague FebioFest (Czech Republic), and Transilvania International Film Festival (Romania).
Organisations offering support include The Embassy of Poland, Austrian Ministry of International Affairs, Czech Television, Estonian Film fund, Finnish Film Foundation, Warsaw Film Studios, Gala-Film, Lotus-Film and film directors Lucian Georgescu, Yevgenij Pashkevich and Marina Razbezhkina.
The official programme is as follows:
Whore’s Glory [pictured], dir. Michael Glawogger, Austria
July, dir. Kiril Stankov, Bulgaria
Flower Buds, dir. Zdenek Jirasky, Czech Republic
Mushrooming, dir. Toomas Hussar, Estonia
The Good Son, dir. Zaida Bergroth, Finland
Gulf Stream Under the Iceberg, dir. Yevgeni Pashkevich, Latvia
Rose, dir. Wojtek Smarzovsky, Poland
The Phantom Father, dir. Lucian Georgescu, Romania
Winter, Go Away, dir. Elena Khoreva, Denis Klebeev, Askold Kurov, Dmitry Kusabov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Alexey Zhiriakov, Russia