Film on Soviet deportations to vie for award in Tallinn

On November 21 Viesturs Kairišs' film Melānijas hronikas ('The Chronicles of Melany') - based on the life of Melānija Vanaga, a Latvian writer who survived deportation to Siberia - will see its international premiere in the Tallinn Black Nights Festival.

The film - a co-production between Latvia, Finland and the Czech Republic, - will be among the twelve contestants for the main award of the Tallinn Black Nights Festival. Its Latvian premiere is slated for November 1.

"The key motif of the film is the heart-rending story of the deported Latvian women, who had to endure life in Siberia, overcome the suffering and survive to come home eventually and live in Latvia," production company Mistrus Media told the press.

"The film is a result of collaboration between cinema professionals from several countries, and it is this fact that, during the process of making the film, transformed ‘The Chronicles of Melanie’ from a national story to a universal one," says director of the film Viesturs Kairišs.

The title role will be played by Sabine Timoteo, who was named the 2015 best film actress in Switzerland. She will star alongside acclaimed actors like Erwin Leder, from Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Raoul Ruiz’s Klimt, as well as Viktor Nemets, who starred in the Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa’s film My Joy.

Melānijas hronikas was shot in parts of Latvia as well as Karelia. Its making, often done during snowfall and freezing temperatures, was documented in a film available on LSM (Latvian). 

Viesturs Kairišs - curiously transcribed to 'Viestur Kairish' in the poster to this film, perhaps giving away the director's international ambition - is an opera, film and theater director.

Kairišs has won a National Film Award and his films have appeared in international festivals. He has received an award for the best debut at the Raindance Film Festival in the United Kingdom.

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