Symposium 2023

Symposium archive is here.

Documentary Cinema Symposium 2023

ArtdocFest/Riga Symposium is a space for stimulating conversation and discovery of new perspectives on the issues facing documentary filmmaking today. This year's edition was taken place between 2 and 9 March 2023. The chosen topics resonated with the filmmakers and audiences alike and was related to the tough choices filmmakers must make in order to tell a compelling story in today’s world where the war and humanitarian crisis is continuing in the heart of Europe. Each day, the Riga Symposium focused on one topic, approaching it from different perspectives. The discussions run with the participation of the filmmakers represented at this year’s ArtdocFest/Riga.

Additionally, in the filmmaker-only format, ArdocFest/Riga continued its traditional breakfast conversations known as the Hamburg Protocol discussions. The term stems from the tradition of performative wrestling tournaments at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries when wrestlers, instead of spending hours trying to wrestle each other to the ground, performed staged fights with beautifully choreographed falls and blows. Yet, to determine the true strength of each performing wrestler, the athletes held annual meetings in the German city of Hamburg, fighting real fights behind closed doors, without an audience. Hence the term Hamburg Protocol – an event without deception, free from performance, an honest reflection on one’s craft. Likewise, the filmmakers’ breakfasts in Riga was honest and insightful, discussing the work of peers as well as one’s own.

Rita Ruduša, Сurator of symposium


4 March 13.30-15.00 - “What are we for? Documentarians at war”

Zuzeum Art Centre (in English) 

How does the purpose of a documentarian's work change when the world is on fire and human suffering becomes a horrifying daily occurrence. Are the creative ambitions of peacetime applicable in such circumstances, and what choices must a documentary filmmaker face when filming a war. A conversation with the filmmakers. 

5 March 13.30-15.00 - “Brutally honest – boundaries in documentary filmmaking”

Zuzeum Art Centre (in English)

A conversation about the relationship between the documentarian and the characters of the film: how far the author can go for the sake of a compelling and credible story, and whether these limits have changed in the era when a person with a smartphone has become a communicator of their own life, down to its most private details. A conversation with the filmmakers. 

6 March 13.30-15.00 - "The national cinema language in Latvia, how to define it?"

Zuzeum Art Centre (in Latvian)

Can we say that Latvian documentary cinema has a national style: what constitutes it, is it static or dynamic, and how is it affected by co-production projects with other European countries. Directors and producers of Latvian documentary cinema, representing different generations, take part in the discussion.

8 March 12.00-14.00 - “A Jury Session”

Splendid Palace (in Russian)

A unique insight into jury work: a frank discussion between three jury members, Uldis Tīrons, Ingeborga Dapkunaite and Dmitry Gluhovsky about the films of the third Artdocfest/Riga, the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s competition entries.