French and Chinese experts join Rīga film festival team

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The team that curates the International and National short film competitions at the Riga International Film Festival (RIGA IFF) has been boosted by the recruitment of two more experienced and renowned members of the film industry to the selection committee.

French curator Chantal Lian and Chinese filmmaker Qiu Yang, who won the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 70th Cannes Short Film Competition will be part of the selection committee of the RIGA IFF which creates the shortlist for both the National and International short film sections where the final films not only compete for the festival’s main prizes, but also for the chance to be nominated for the European Film Academy’s European Short Film Award 2024.

The RIGA IFF short film committee currently consists of festival curator, film critic and journalist Nanako Tsukidate from Japan, film publicist and moderator Līga Požarska from Latvia and now also Lian and Qiu and the work will continue to be led by French curator and film critic Leo Soesanto.

"We are extremely excited about the new members of the selection committee, and we look forward to working with their individual views of cinema, which will help shape the screenings at the tenth anniversary edition of RIGA IFF. Chantal knows American independent cinema better than anyone, and we are proud that a great, award-winning filmmaker like Qiu trusts our work enough to want to be a part of it," curator Soesanto says of the newest members of his team.

Chantal Lian has been working in the film industry for more than 12 years, as a programmer and curator at major French festivals such as the Les Arcs International Film Festival and the Champs-Élysées Film Festival for independent cinema where she also established the US in Progress Paris programme to promote cooperation between the European and North American film industries. She has worked as a film distributor and script consultant for reputable companies such as Sophie Dulac Distribution and Wild Bunch, where she worked on commercially successful independent films such as Love & Friendship (2016) and Menashe (2017). She has also worked at Oxbelly, a training laboratory for screenwriters and directors.

Meanwhile, Chinese-born Qiu Yang studied directing at the Victorian College of the Arts in Australia, making both virtual and live-action short films – his graduation short Under the Sun (2015) was selected for the Cinéfondation student film competition at the Cannes Film Festival. He is the director of A Gentle Night (2017), which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Short Film Competition, making Yang the first Chinese filmmaker to receive this award. His most recent work, She Runs (2019), won the Leitz Cine Discovery Award at Semaine de la Critique at Cannes.

Leo Soesanto, who served on the Feature Film Selection Committee for Semaine de la Critique from 2009 to 2015, and who also chaired the Short Film Selection Committee from 2017 to 2021, will oversee the short film sections at RIGA IFF. Soesanto also worked as a film curator at the Rotterdam Film Festival (IFFR), the main destination for auteur cinema, from 2016 to 2020.

The RIGA IFF Short Film International Competition is open for submissions until 23:59 on 31 May, while the National Competition is open for submissions until 23:59 on 30 June. For more information visit

The Riga International Film Festival will celebrate its tenth edition this year and will take place from 12 to 22 October. The festival's four competitions seek out bright and innovative filmmakers from around the world, while parallel sections highlight the most current, innovative, and vivid filmmakers and uses of cinematic language.

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