Latvia is a small country. And this is just the fourth year that a festival of such international significance takes place in Riga. We need new and young people to fall in love with the beautiful world of cinema! This is an honest answer as to why it is so important to have a whole weekend dedicated to films for the whole family, why it is important to provide additional captivating pastimes as well… Two fascinating days of a cinematic adventure for schoolchildren, pre-school kids and their kin.

A film about a lonely woman with a yarn-ball in her belly.

What drives people to kill? Today hunting in Africa is something even an average person can afford. And in a certain sense, for many hunters from the Western world, Russia or China, it has become normal to travel to Africa once or even several times a year, and to go hunting daily. As a rule that means shooting two animals a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Some determinedly searching for trophies, others to enjoy. Even if every prey comes at a price, they always find a way to legitimize their own actions. The director wanted to show both how hunting is organized – what‘s involved in it – and what those who hunt experience emotionally.

It seems as if the richness of Zweig’s conflicted identity is created right then and there – on the big screen. Each one of us, even the smallest and the most insignificant, has been shaken in the depths of his being by the almost unceasing volcanic eruptions of our European earth. I know of no pre-eminence that I can claim, in the midst of the multitude, except this: that as an Austrian, a Jew, an author, a humanist, and a pacifist, I have always stood at the exact point where these earthquakes were the most violent.“ Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday The years of exile in the life of Stefan Zweig, one of the most read German-language writers of his time, between Buenos Aires, New York and Brazil. As a Jewish intellectual, Zweig struggles to find the right stance towards the events in Nazi Germany, while searching for a home in the new world.

An odyssey through time and space, starting from the director’s own balcony. A journey filled with all the absurd, existential, trivial and sentimental thoughts and fantasies he came up with in a year, to see if it’s possible to grasp nothing more than the meaning of life. He is living in Brochmannsgate 12A, Oslo, Norway, Europe, Earth, Universe. This film is a time capsule filled with everyday life in Western Europe with all its holidays, memories and fantasies, questions big and small. It invites to think about one’s life and choices. What does it mean to be human today? And why do we rather want to speak to ourselves on a smartphone than socialize with strangers at a job gathering?

Rauni Reposaarelainen is an overpowering, alcoholic samurai who sows damage and sorrow in his surroundings in Meri-Pori, western Finland. A mystical pseudonym Shametear makes a contract with the Satakunta Guild of Ninjas in order to assassinate Rauni. Rauni easily survives the assassination attempt. This is the beginning of the bloody and absurd road movie in Meri-Pori’s samurai reality. The film is a surreal and visually beautiful tragicomedy that open-mindedly combines Finnish and Japanese culture with beautiful northern nature.

A personal story based on the director’s experience growing up in a small fishing village.Two teenage boys experience a turbulent summer. A story of brotherhood, self-acceptance, strength, and the importance of family. The village in Iceland is an environment full of contrasts, where the sun shines without rest during the summer and barely rises at all in winter. A place where the same things you love and give you freedom also tie you down. A place to discover how nature and people can be both amazingly beautiful and incredibly cruel.

Southern Sami yoiks and blood. What happens to you if you cut all ties with your culture? Can you really become someone else? In the 1930s, Ella-Marja was sent to a boarding school for Sami children where they were taught to know their place, scientists from the State Institute for Racial Biology came to measure and photograph them naked, and speaking Sami, even just among themselves, resulted in beatings. In present day, she calls herself Christina and visits Lapland… This is the director’s declaration of love to those who left and stayed, a film about the dark pages of the Swedish history. Recommended by

Lithuanian provincial town is facing the economic crisis in 2008. Vytas gets fired from the factory. Pushed by his wife, he immediately starts looking for a new job, but not really successfully. After having his new haircut done, Vytas starts looking for a love affair with the hairdresser Marija, but not really successfully, either. Finally, Vytas gets involved into a third search – together with his best friend Petras he starts looking for a guy who posted video on youtube, claiming he saw Jesus Christ in their town. This is the only time Vytas succeeds…

The film is inspired by an event reported in the Bulgarian press. A social-realist parable exploring the themes of corruption, class differences, and the rural-urban divide in contemporary society. Tsanko Petrov, a railroad worker finds millions of leva on the train tracks. He decides to turn the entire amount over to the police, and the state rewards him with a new wristwatch, but soon the new watch stops working. Meanwhile, Julia Staikova, head of the PR department of the Ministry of Transport, loses Petrov’s old watch. And here starts his desperate struggle to get his old watch back, as well as his dignity.

Rokas and Inga, a couple of young Lithuanians, volunteer to drive a cargo van of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Amid the violence and death of the conflict, they meet different war correspondents, one of whom is played by Vanessa Paradis. When plans change and they find themselves left to their own devices, they cross the vast snowy lands of the Donbass region in search of allies and shelter, drifting into the lives of those affected by the war. They approach the frontline in spite of the danger, all the while growing closer to each other as they begin to understand life during wartime.

The eighties, summer, Italy, swimming pools and intellectuals. “I asked myself if I wanted to create a piece that was a sort of conversation between the storyline, the characters, and the medium, or if I just wanted the characters and the story to flow. And I said to myself: ‘Step back! Have faith in these people and this setting.’ So I chose to make the movie in the most lighthearted and simple way. I think it’s probably the movie I made with the most calmness, applying in a very specific and literal way my motto, that we should live with a sense of joie de vivre,” the director Luca Guadagnino tells Variety about the film based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman. It tells of rare and deep feelings, of coming of age, of romance and of romanticism, of prejudice and lack thereof.

The Lithuanian scientist Aušra Revutaite has spent 30 years in the Tian Shan mountain range in Central Asia, straddling the borders between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the autonomous Chinese region of Xinjiang. Some 3,500 meters above sea level with only her faithful dog and gray cat for company, she studies climate change on the Tuyuksu Glacier at an old Soviet-era research station. She loves the solitude and silence that her painstaking work brings her. Magnificent shots of her surroundings and everyday work are interspersed with archive footage of the people who preceded her by a century. Not much seems to have changed. We see dripping, melting ice in imposing caves, streams flowing through desolate mountain passes, and Revutaite’s pets, playing together almost in silence. Living with Revutaite in the solitude she has chosen for herself, the two animals only have each other. The solemn silence of the mountains is punctuated sparingly by the music of a man far, far below, playing a traditional instrument.

This film belongs to Lithuanian cinema classics. The classmates of nine-year-old Inga call her “Beauty Queen”. Their attitude changes as soon as one boy states that she is actually ugly. The children are not aware of how deeply they hurt her. However, just a couple of kind words would be enough to make the situation better.