Riga, November 20, LETA. Latvia has nominated director Dzintars Dreibergs’ feature film “Blow of Souls” for the Oscar competition of the US Film Academy, Zane Kauliņa, senior reporter of the National Film Center (NCC), informed LETA.
Kauliņa informed that for the 13th time Latvia has also nominated a film that will apply for a nomination for the award of the US Film Academy, competing in the category “Best Foreign Film”.
The commission of experts set up by the NCC has agreed to nominate Dreiberg’s feature film “Blower of Souls”, which has just received the national film award “Kristaps the Great” as the best film of the year.
Latvian study applications were evaluated by a commission of invited experts from the center – Ieva Romanova, Chairwoman of the Latvian Cinematographers’ Union, Dace Vilsone, State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Kristīne Simsone, Film Critic, Viktors Freibergs, Cinematographer, Director and Professor Dāvis Sīmanis of the Latvian Academy of Culture. Uldis Cekulis. Dita Rietuma, the head of the National Film Center and a film scientist, was elected the head of the commission.
Kauliņa said that three full-length feature films were submitted for expert evaluation this year – exactly the same ones that were nominated for the “Big Kristaps” award this year as the best feature films of the year, namely, Jevgenijs Paškēvičs “What the Silent Gerda Knows”, Viesturs Kairiss’s “City by the River” and “Blizzard of Souls.”
The commission of experts discussed the potential of all films in a remote discussion, evaluating each individual and different quality, and finally agreed to nominate director Dreiberg’s feature film, which has been watched by more than 250,000 cinemas in Latvia so far, as Latvia’s application for the US Film Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Kauliņa said that the experts emphasized that even in a situation when there are many so – called “war films” in the world and several of them are becoming popular in international distribution, the film “Blower of Souls” has the opportunity to stand out as a dynamic, universal and seamless message.
The director Sīmanis has emphasized that the mentioned film is “an excellent proof of the futility of war, which is so relevant in today’s world, when even military conflicts in several places”. According to him, the film shows that in close proximity, war is an uncontrollable, brutal and impersonally cruel process.
Rietuma, on the other hand, emphasized the film’s ability to “achieve a sense of existential madness using subjective camera strategies and the unique giftedness of cameraman Valdis Celmiņš”. According to her, in this way the film moves away from precise historical frames or circumstances, “‘which makes it be treated narrowly as a specific historical experience of a particular country, and this stylistic solution gives the film a universal meaning”.
On the other hand, producer Uldis Cekulis reminded that at the beginning of the year Celmiņš was nominated for the world cinematographer’s professional award “Imago” for his work on the film “Blow of Souls”, which also confirms the film’s international convertibility.
Kauliņa revealed that in the other Baltic countries, films for the Oscars have already been nominated. Thus, Lithuania has announced director Karolis Kaupiņš’s feature film “Nova Lituania”, which was shown in Riga at the Baltic Film Days in August, while Estonia has just announced the premiere of director Veiko Ounpu’s “Comedy” in September.
In total, 56 countries have currently submitted their applications to the US Film Academy.
Kauliņa pointed out that the application and nomination processes for the Oscar nominees have been postponed for two months this year due to an emergency situation – the award ceremony, which usually takes place at the end of February, is currently scheduled for April 25, 2021.
Countries must submit their national applications from October to 31 December, and the first list of nominees with 10 films will be announced on 9 February 2021.
A spokeswoman for the NKC mentioned that the Oscar-winning category, which has been regularly evaluated since 1956 and was known as “Best Film in a Foreign Language”, was renamed last year and is the International Feature Film Award for the second time this year. In 2019, films from 93 countries were nominated for this award.