Latvian films "Away" and "Bridges of Time" at the Shanghai International Film Festival

Gints Zilbalodis' animation film “Away” was laureled in this year's Annecy Festival in France and participated in the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). Kristīne Briede's documentary “Bridges of Time”, on the other hand, won a Best Documentary award at SIFF.

On June 15, it was announced that Zilbalodis' “Away” won the new Annecy selection Contrechamp, Europe's most prestigious prize for animation.

“It's often the case that you make a film and it disappears. I think the prize will help this film, and the next one I'm going to make,” said Gints Zilbalodis on Latvian Radio on June 25. 

Away is a story about a young boy stranded on his own, trying to survive in a mysterious land while pursued by a dark spirit. It is set to open this year's Riga International Film Festival (Riga IFF) in autumn.

Zilbalodis describes his film as neither a Hollywood animation blockbuster, nor an art house film: “It's something in between. I hope everyone likes it, but it's not for everybody. It's a personal film, quite meditative, no dialogue, and the cinematic language is quite unusual for animation, because of my active use of camera.”

Kristīne Briede's “Bridges of Time” is a co-production of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, with Briede sharing the director credit with Lithuanian filmmaker Audrius Stonys. The film is a cinematic essay on Baltic documentary films and their directors from the second half of the twentieth century.

“It's based on our oldest cinematographers who worked in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, and made the kinds of films we now call “poetic cinema”,” said Briede.

Reflecting on the win at SIFF, Briede opined: “We've drawn attention […] to the films of the old masters. […] We've brought them out into the world.”

5 films represented Latvia in the Shanghai International Film Festival –  “Bridges of Time”, “Father Night”, “Lote and the Lost Dragons”, “Away”, and “Bille”.

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