Vitaly Mansky: Our festival is a bell tolls warning of global threats

A festival is first and foremost a celebration. But to tell the truth, I have neither the strength nor the desire to celebrate... Since Russia's cruel and criminal war against Ukraine and the entire civilized world has been going on for the third year already, we turn our festival into bell tolls warning of global threats. Not all of these threats are explicitly obvious. Many problems are invisible and concealed within the mundane. Perhaps that is why they seep into our lives – they are not conspicuously visible. For our program, we have selected films from around the world that can make us more alert to dangers, more attentive, and stronger.

The invited authors have reflected on the most profound aspects of the shaping of public opinion and the understanding of the essence of life. Notable among them are films such as the internationally acclaimed “A Picture to Remember," (Ukraine) and "In the Rearview," (Poland), which tells the story of Ukrainian refugees. The festival offers a comprehensive range of films, where each work can be considered a unique attempt to understand the contemporary history of Ukraine. For this purpose, we have created the program "Ukraine Above All!". However, let's not forget that every front line has two sides. Deliberately not including any film produced in Russian studios in the competition programs, however, thanks to documentaries from other countries, we show the narrative of the decay and the reasons for the outbreak of war. This decay is largely a consequence of the fact that society did not resist the dictatorial regimes in Russia and Belarus. Such films included in the "Artdocfest Open" program have been made by directors from the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, the USA, Great Britain, Czechia... and also by authors who left Russia and Belarus, not wanting to put up with aggression and deprivation of civil liberties.

We have also created an anti-war program with films regardless of their country of production. This program includes films from Russia as well. However, we are convinced that the anti-war voice must be heard across the language and any other barriers.

Dear viewers! While you retain the right not to join us in the beautiful cinema halls of the capital of Latvia, where we will delve into the harsh reality, we must provide such a space in these times of war.

President of the IDFF “Artdocfest/Riga”