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PRODUCTION Latvia / Lithuania

Laila Pakalniņa starts a summer shoot for In the Mirror

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- The Latvian director-screenwriter’s new feature is an experimental fairy tale starring Madeleine Valdberg, Elza Leimane and Lauris Dzelzītis in the lead roles

Laila Pakalniņa starts a summer shoot for In the Mirror
Actor Lauris Dzelzītis on the set of In the Mirror ( © Agnese Zeltiņa)

Award-winning Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalniņa is now working on a new, groundbreaking project, an experimental fairy tale of a feature entitled In the Mirror. The Liepāja-born writer-director is best known for her drama The Shoe, screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, and other successful works such as Three Men and a Fish Pond (2008), Dream Land (2004) and The Python (2003), as well as her latest effort, the Karlovy Vary-screened Spoon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laila Pakalnina
film profile
]
.

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The film will be created using special “selfie stylistics” and will transpose the traditional Snow White fairy tale to the youth-centric present day. The director disclosed a few plot details to Cineuropa: “A CrossFit trainer becomes the father of a baby girl, Snow White. Snow White’s mother dies, and her father marries a young woman obsessed with both CrossFit and herself. She works out all the time in order to be the best. And she really is the best – she can do 50 burpees. In the meantime, little Snow White plays and grows up in the CrossFit gym. All of those ropes, bars, balls and jump ropes are her toys. Time passes, and one day, it is revealed that while the stepmother can do 50 burpees, Snow White can already do 53…”

The lead roles are played by dancer Madeleine Valdberg, prima ballerina Elza Leimane and actor Lauris Dzelzītis, whilst veteran Gints Berzins (Spoon, Paradise 89, Magic Kimono) will serve as the director of photography. Speaking about the themes in her work, Pakalniņa added: “We have all grown up with the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, where the ‘bad’ character, the Evil Stepmother, is so obsessed with herself that she even talks to her own reflection in the mirror on a regular basis. Nowadays, people observe their reflections in their smartphones and talk to themselves much more often than the Evil Stepmother did. With this film, we would like to depict what and how people see, when they are looking at themselves all the time.”

The winter filming session took place earlier this year, in February, while the summer shoot (which includes several scenes with a mass of extras) started on 8 July in Riga’s Andrejosta area and will continue in and around the Latvian capital. Principal photography is set to wrap in mid-August.

The innovative project recently secured a generous contribution of €430,135 from the National Film Centre of Latvia and received additional backing from the Lithuanian Film Centre. The feature is being co-produced by Laila Pakalniņa for Riga-based outfit Hargla Company and Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė (Breathing into Marble [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Giedrė Beinoriūtė
film profile
]
, Eastern Business [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) for Lithuanian firm Just a Moment.

In the Mirror’s world premiere is scheduled for 2020.

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