This year, ten films from the Baltic Sea region and the Nordic countries will compete for the festival’s main award and a prize worth EUR 4,000. A jury composed of five international film professionals will preside over the competition.
The Feature Film Competition includes works by Latvian filmmakers: Signe Baumane's autobiographical My Love Affair with Marriage is an animated case history of a young woman's love life, seen from the perspective of her brain, while Matīss Kažas' coming-of-age drama Neon Spring, starring poet and actress Marija Luīze Meļķe, exposes urban rave culture confidently showing it in both its glory and its misery.
The dynamic rhythms of the streets of Calcutta are brought to life in Bengali Variation by Latvia-based director Siegfried; Burial is a poetic observation on what was once the most powerful nuclear power plant in the world and the only one in the Baltics and the python that lives within; Day and Night, which will have its world premiere at RIGA IFF, uncovers the feminine balance between polar opposites and the witchiness that resides deep in the forests of East Poland. 2017 festival winner Rainer Sarnet returns to once more compete for the main award with his latest film, the historical fiction The Diary of Vaino Vahing.
The Nordic cinema landscape is also well represented in this year's RIGA IFF Feature Film Competition. This selection also includes the Danish and Icelandic co-production, Godland, which is directed by Hlynur Pálmason who is well-known to Latvian audiences, and that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as Icelandic Beautiful Beings, which explores rough teenage masculinity using magical realism. Lovers of Finnish black humour will be delighted by the comedy The Woodcutter Story about a man down on his luck, while pulsating with hip-hop rhythms beats, Locals will awaken the desire to come together in its mosaic-like portrait of Stockholm's Södermalm district. This will be the film's international premiere.
The films in competition will be judged by a jury of regionally and internationally renowned film professionals: Ollie Charles, a film marketing specialist and representative from the film streaming platform MUBI, Barbara Wurm, a film curator, and researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin, and Uldis Cekulis, a director, and the founder of the Latvian film studio VFS Films. Karolis Kaupinis, whose film Nova Lituania won the main award at the 2019 RIGA IFF, returns to the competition as a judge, and he will be joined by Marcin Pieńkowski, director of the New Horizons International Film Festival in Wrocław.
The festival's Feature Film Competition will screen throughout the whole festival, while the winning film will be announced publicly on the last Saturday of the festival together with the winners of all six competitions at the RIGA IFF Awards Ceremony.