2015 was the first year when the festival had a competition. The recipient was decided by a jury consisting of Latvian director Jānis Putniņš, Mariette Rissenbeek, Managing Director of german films, as well as Zara Abullaeva, a correspondent and critic at the Russian Isskustvo Kino journal, along with Santa Lingevičiūte, creative director of the Lithuanian movie festival Movie Spring and Kirsi Tykkyläinen, long time head of the Finnish Film Foundation.
The award announcement read that the award was given "For a distinguished approach to a historical event and artistic brilliance in capturing the existential spirit of being".
Sergei Loznitsa said the following in a statement to the festival:
"Dear friends and colleagues! First of all I'd like to thank the organisers of the festival for inviting The Event to Rīga, and the honourable jury for their support and appreciation of my work!
While working on The Event I experienced very intense and emotional moments of revisiting the past - the time when individual aspirations of a young idealist somehow came into sync with the spirit of thousands of likeminded dreamers who suddenly saw a light at the end of the tunnel. These times are long gone and the tunnel is getting very dark again. But the journey continues...
I am very grateeful to all of you in Riga who shared my journey with The Event. So, once again: Thank you, Riga festival; thank you, honourable members of the jury; thank you, Latvia! I will certainly be back with you some time soon!"
While Grimur Hakonarson's film Rams got an honorable mention from the jury.
The Short Riga Baltic Music Video of the Short Riga competition was awarded to Estonia's Tommy Cash - Pro Rap Superstar, while Lithuania's Deeper Upper - Unity got the special mention.
The BBRental prize of equipment for the next movie was awarded to Laurynas Bareisa's Dembava, while the InScript prize - participation in a screenwriting workshop - was awarded to Liene Linde (Earth is the Loneliest Planet). The DDAudio prize - music for the next production - was given to Nora Särak's To Light, while the Baltic theaters Kino Bize, Skalvia and Suprus gave the award of a premiere for the next movie to Laurynas Bareisa's Dembava.
VIDEO: Short Riga
The Short Riga short film award was given to Agnieszka Borowa's Home for the author's "ability to create an almost documental and realistic expression of the surreal feelings, employing the possibilities of animation".
Video: Lithuanians at Riga IFF
The Splendid Palace movie theater gave the Lithuanian movie Summer of Sangaile its own award, giving the movie the chance to return to the theater's repertoire.
Operation Arctic scooped the children's award, and Joachim Trier's Louder than Bombs was given the best youth film award.
Thankyou for The Event, Mr. Loznitsa! #RIGA_IFF_FIRST_AWARD pic.twitter.com/djpScBLY67— RigaIFF (@RigaIFF) October 25, 2015
Here's a trailer from Sergei Loznitsa's movie about the failed coup of August 1991. The movie follows his massive documentary on Maidan.