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The 1st International Documentary Film Festival ARTDOCFEST/RIGA

Press Release No. 1

Riga, June 16, 2020

‘From our side only one thing we would like to tell you: we will always, and under whatever circumstances, hold high the flag for humanity’s evolution, art and beauty!’

– from a 1912 poster declaring the opening of the ‘Grand Kino’ theatre in Riga

With this, we wish to inform you of the launching of Artdocfest/Riga, a new international festival specially dedicated to documentary film, which will take place in Riga, Latvia at the end of November, 2020.

A short history. Artdocfest is not a new trademark. A festival with the same name was launched in Russia in 2007 by director Vitaly Mansky, who, due to the weakening of democratic processes in his country, moved to Latvia several years later, taking the festival along with him. For five years, Artdocfest took place in Latvia as the documentary film programme section of the Riga International Film Festival. During this time it has grown – having included an international competition since 2018 – and in 2020 will start its independent life with the goal of becoming an important cultural and documentary film event in the Baltics and, eventually, in the broader region of eastern Europe.

Two vibrant competition programmes will be available for the viewing pleasure of fans of documentary film in Riga and Latvia as well as festival participants, guests and partners: the traditional international Artdocfest programme with more than 20 quality films from different countries of the world; and a new programme – Baltic Focus, which will present the best and freshest documentaries produced in the Baltic states. Each competition programme will have its own international jury. The festival will screen films from more than 15 countries, all of which will be Latvian premieres.

The winner of the Baltic Focus competition programme will receive the main prize, ‘HERZ’, which has been named in honour of the legendary Latvian documentary filmmaker Herz Frank.

The festival is also preparing an impressive non-competitive programme that will include an industry symposium for documentary filmmakers and film theorists for creative discussions about art, cinema, Zeitgeist and how these link together with the issues we face today. In essence, an effort to attain the high level of thought exchange and debate once achieved by the once famous Riga Documentary Film Symposium series.

So, welcome to submit your films and come to Riga to watch, discuss and enjoy great documentary!


Date:                                       November 26 – December 1, 2020

Place:                                      Riga, Latvia – Splendid Palace cinema; Cafe Film Noir

Organisers:                              ‘Artdoc Fest & Media’ Association; Vitaly Mansky, Festival President

Festival language:                   English, with translation in Latvian and Russian

Advisory Board:                     Zane Balčus (LV), Filipp Kruusvall (EE), Arūnas Matelis (LT), Uldis Cekulis, (LV) – advisory Board have no

Festival main awards:            Artdocfest Prize; Baltic Focus Prize – ‘HERZ’

Film submissions:                  Submissions will be accepted until September 1, 2020

Festival homepage and submission forms:             www.artdocfest.com

Festival partners and sponsors:   Riga City Council; TV broadcaster Настоящее время/Current time (USA/Czechia); TV broadcaster Deutsche Welle

The list of sponsors will be supplemented

Contact person and for additional information:

Ilze Pelnēna ilze@artdocfest.com +371 22026320