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FUNDING Latvia

The National Film Centre of Latvia supports four family-friendly features

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- The national film agency has earmarked €1,240,417 to finance a wide range of fiction films with child-, youth- and family-friendly content, set to hit screens in 2019 and 2020

The National Film Centre of Latvia supports four family-friendly features
Director Jaak Kilmi, whose Christmas in the Jungle has been supported to the tune of €300,152

The National Film Centre of Latvia has announced the beneficiaries of its yearly production budget for family-friendly films. Four projects will receive financial support from the country's film agency – namely, Matīss Kaža's Where the Road Leads, Jaak Kilmi's Christmas in the Jungle, Laila Pakalniņa's In the Mirror and Dace Pūce's The Pit [+see also:
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NYU Tisch School of the Arts alumnus Matīss Kaža's project is being produced by Riga-based outfit Fenixfilm and will receive a €420,130 grant. With DoP Aleksandrs Grebņevs and production designer Jurģis Krāsons already on board, Kaža's film will shoot a youth-orientated romantic comedy set in a 19th-century manor in Vidzeme.

Jaak Kilmi's Christmas in the Jungle, a Latvian-Estonian co-production, will be given €300,152. Produced by Roberts Vinovskis for Locomotive Productions and Evelin Penttila for Stellar (Estonia), Kilmi's film revolves around a family that relocates to Indonesia for the father's work and is verging on collapse, with both daughters experiencing their own problems in the foreign land. One day, they decide to head into the jungle and look for Santa Claus, who, according to local legend, has been living there for many years. Christmas in the Jungle follows Kilmi's previous feature, The Dissidents, a comedy-action flick set in 1980s Soviet Estonia.

Award-winning screenwriter-director Laila Pakalniņa's groundbreaking project In the Mirror secured a contribution of €430,135. The film will be created using special “selfie stylistics” and will transpose the traditional Snow White fairy tale to the youth-centric present day, with a fitness-obsessed step-mother and an ensemble of Czech acrobats playing seven dwarves who are extreme sports enthusiasts. In the Mirror is being co-produced by Laila Pakalniņa for Hargla Company and Mikulas Novotny for Background Films (Czech Republic).

Finally, Dace Pūce's debut feature, The Pit, will have access to a grant of €90,000. Based on writer Jana Egle's stories, Pūce's movie is set in the present day and is a topical cross-section of society, focusing on orphans who have experienced emotional abuse and relationship problems. The film is being produced by Latvian firms Marana Productions and Picture House Production in cooperation with Kosmos Production (Poland).

The National Film Centre panel of experts included director Pēteris Krilovs, head of the Latvian Animation Association Anna Zača, and the agency's representative, Kristīne Matīsa. Other decision-makers involved in the selection process were Riga International Film Festival programmer Kristīne Simsone, Latvian Writers’ Union representative Egils Venters and social research specialist Ilze Mileiko. All four of the projects receiving production support also received National Film Centre project development grants after taking part in the 2017 film development contest promoting child-, youth- and family-friendly content.

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