Latvia Comes up with Its Entry for the Oscar

"The Chronicles of Melanie". Photo: Agnese Zeltiņa

This is the tenth time that Latvia has submitted a film to compete for the US Academy Awards, Oscar, nomination in the category Best Foreign Language Film. On September 4, the expert committee appointed by the National Film Centre came to a unanimous decision, voting for The Chronicles of Melanie, a film by Viestur Kairish (Viesturs Kairišs), produced at the studio Mistrus Media.

In line with the Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, a feature length motion picture submitted must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2016, and no later than September 30, 2017, be first publicly exhibited for at least one week in a commercial motion picture theatre and have a predominantly non-English dialogue track. This year the Latvian producers applied to the committee with two feature length motion pictures – The Chronicles of Melanie (2016) by Viestur Kairish competed with Swingers by Andrejs Ēķis (2016) as the national entries for the Oscar.

The decision was made by the committee of professional experts, appointed by the National Film Centre of Latvia: Kristīne Simsone, film journalist, Pēteris Krilovs, film director and professor of the Latvian Academy of Culture, Ieva Romanova, production designer and the chair of the Latvian Filmmakers Union, Jānis Putniņš, film director and theoretician, the head of the National Film School, Zane Balčus, director of Riga Film Museum and M.A. of film studies, Kristīne Matīsa, film journalist and editor-in-chief of the journal Kino Raksti and Jūle Rozīte, project manager of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries.

Arguments for nomination of The Chronicles of Melanie by Viestur Kairish were as follows: “This is an epic and stylistically uniform work, significant for the history and culture of Latvia, presenting a strong central character, expressive visual solution and outstanding acting performances. The film is distinguished by its ability to accentuate sensations and emotional experience rather than facts and dates, subjugating all the elements of cinematic language to cinematic logics of feelings.”

Noteworthy that The Chronicles of Melanie had its national premiere on November 1, 2016, and in short time acquired sizeable audience – during the first two month it had more than 75,000 admissions, ranking it as the box office leader in Latvia in 2016.

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, paying homage to the best films of 2017, will take place on March 4, 2018, in Los Angeles, after announcing its nominees in January 23. Submission of entries for the category Best Foreign Language Film has already begun; ten countries (out of more than 80 expected) managed to do it already in August, whereas Latvia this year was the first among its Baltic neighbours.

More information
Agnese Zapāne
Senior Officer of promotion of domestic films abroad,
National Film Centre of Latvia
+371 26549754, +371 67358866