Latvia is a small country. And this is just the fourth year that a festival of such international significance takes place in Riga. We need new and young people to fall in love with the beautiful world of cinema! This is an honest answer as to why it is so important to have a whole weekend dedicated to films for the whole family, why it is important to provide additional captivating pastimes as well… Two fascinating days of a cinematic adventure for schoolchildren, pre-school kids and their kin.

An ironic story about the farewell to the phantoms of the USSR in Ukraine.

An odyssey through time and space, starting from the director’s own balcony. A journey filled with all the absurd, existential, trivial and sentimental thoughts and fantasies he came up with in a year, to see if it’s possible to grasp nothing more than the meaning of life. He is living in Brochmannsgate 12A, Oslo, Norway, Europe, Earth, Universe. This film is a time capsule filled with everyday life in Western Europe with all its holidays, memories and fantasies, questions big and small. It invites to think about one’s life and choices. What does it mean to be human today? And why do we rather want to speak to ourselves on a smartphone than socialize with strangers at a job gathering?

On the first day of the festival VFS Films will premiere a documentary project that took years in the making. At the centre of it all – a Latvian architect and a Chinese mountain miner. The process – an ambitious structure in the “centre of the World” – the Sacred Songshan mountain in the Henan province of China. Cultures differ, traditional assumptions and conventions need to be reassessed, personal ambitions become two sides of the same coin. Quanqi Zhu wants to bring the West into China, Austris Mailītis deeply values Eastern philosophy, and Shaolin monks fly in the air in the world’s first building constructed for probably the most fundamental of human ambitions – levitation.

Rokas and Inga, a couple of young Lithuanians, volunteer to drive a cargo van of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Amid the violence and death of the conflict, they meet different war correspondents, one of whom is played by Vanessa Paradis. When plans change and they find themselves left to their own devices, they cross the vast snowy lands of the Donbass region in search of allies and shelter, drifting into the lives of those affected by the war. They approach the frontline in spite of the danger, all the while growing closer to each other as they begin to understand life during wartime.

The cinematic series about three significant figures in Latvian theatre – directors Oļģerts Kroders (“The Fifth Hamlet” (2007), Māra Ķimele (“Mara” (2014), and the newest about Andris Freibergs – all investigate how loneliness, love and death weave the films’ heroes’ lives and art together as if it would be a tight braid. In the “Fairytale” the accomplished European stage designer and educator paints a self-portrait by shaping the stage for an imaginary production titled Andris Freibergs. He transforms himself into a space that contains close to eighty years worth of stunning success, tragic loss, birth and death. It is an attempt to create the perfect empty space – one that would simultaneously encompass everything and nothing, the beginning and the end. The film is produced by the Riga-based VFS FILMS.