Legendary Latvian animator Māris Putniņš passes away

There was sad news January 24 with confirmation of the death of animator Māris Putniņš.

Putniņš, head of the legendary "Animation Brigade" film studio, was a puppeteer, screenwriter, producer and author of children's books, who passed away at the age of 73 after a serious illness, his relatives confirmed to Latvian Radio.

Marta Bite, head of the Latvian Cinematographers' Union, described Māris Putniņš as one of the most versatile talents of Latvian cinema: "Māris Putniņš started his career in feature films as an actor in the mid-1970s. In the 1980s, he began solid work in nurturing the tradition of Latvian puppet animation, and since 1991 has released at least 30 short films under the famous brand "Avārijas brigade" (Emergency brigade).

The Avārijas brigade films have delighted several generations and show the picaresque adventures of a squad of accident-prone troubleshooters – often with a healthy dose of sly satire and social commentary thrown in for adults watching alongside their children.

Māris Putniņš has also been a producer and scriptwriter for the films of others, including the recently released full-length animated film "Lielais Indriķis". He was awarded the Order of Three Stars for his outstanding creative contribution to culture and puppet animation cinema.

Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues and thank you, Māris, for your delightful films. 

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