On 24 March, “Latvian Film Days in India” as part of the 100 years of Latvia celebration in India, were officially inaugurated with Latvia’s participation at the Habitat International Film Festival. The Festival showcases two Latvian films from 2017: “Firstborn” by film director Aik Karapetian, and a documentary “Blueberry Spirits” by film director Astra Zoldnere.
H.E. Mr. Aivars Groza, Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia, and Ms. Dita Rietuma, Head of National Film Centre, who is visiting India as part of the project, welcomed the audience before screening the film “Firstborn”.
Ambassador Groza in his speech thanked the Festival for the opportunity to introduce the Indian audience with Latvian films. He stressed that “Latvian Film Days in India” set a perfect platform to further promote cultural relations between Latvia and India, in addition to the intense political dialogue between both states (e.g. the visit of the Prime Minister of Latvia to India in November 2017) and a growing number of Indian students at the universities of Latvia.
In her speech, Ms Dita Rietuma expressed her joy at the possibility to participate in the Festival, to inform the Indian audience about the Latvian films and to establish contacts with Indian partners in film industry. She invited the Indian audience to attend the Latvian Film week in the end of April in New Delhi to learn more about the Latvian cinema. After the screening of the film “Firstborn”, which gathered an impressive number of cinema lovers, she answered questions of the audience both on the film, its message and genre, as well as on the Latvian cinema at large.
Project “Latvian Film Days in India” is organised by the Embassy of Latvia in India in cooperation of the National Film Centre and India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The project consists of two parts: Latvia’s participation in the Habitat International Film Festival and a “Latvian Film Week” in the end of April during which 5 Latvian films will be screened: “The Pagan King”, “Defenders of Riga”, “Dream Team 1935”, “Return of Sergeant Lapins” and “What Nobody Can See”. Films have been selected with the aim to provide an insight in the history of Latvia starting from ancient times and the formation of the State during and after the First World War, as well as to reflect the contemporary trends of the Latvian cinema.
During her visit to India, Head of National Film Centre Dita Rietuma also met Mr.C.Senthil Rajan, Director of International Film Festival of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, government of India, and Mr.Rahul Jain, representative of the Guwahati International Film Festival. Latvia’s participation at Indian Film Festivals, as well as possibilities of future cooperation between both states in the area of film industry, including concrete projects of cooperation, were discussed during the meetings.