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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Latvia / Lithuania

Signe Birkova’s first fiction feature, Lotus, now in production

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- The Latvian-Lithuanian co-production will centre on German-Baltic Countess Alice Von Trotta, who became an avant-garde filmmaker in Latvian silent cinema

Signe Birkova’s first fiction feature, Lotus, now in production
Severija Janušauskaite (left) and Maija Arvena Ozoliņa in Lotus (© Agnese Zeltina)

Signe Birkova is now working on Lotus, a new Latvian-Lithuanian co-production. Before helming her first fiction feature, Birkova directed several fictional shorts as well as some experimental and documentary films, TV programmes and analogue film performances. She received the FIPRESCI Prize at the Latvian National Film Festival for her short Upon Return I’ll Be a Flaming Rose, and her documentary feature Ring of Fire premiered at the Riga International Film Festival last year.

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The script for Lotus, penned by Birkova herself, tells the turbulent story of German-Baltic Countess Alice Von Trotta, an outsider who, by overcoming physical and mental obstacles and prejudices, became an avant-garde filmmaker in Latvian silent cinema. The feature promises to incorporate “elements of various film genres” and to include “quotes from world cinema classics”, with a special focus on silent cinema. To ensure greater authenticity, the silent film fragments will be shot with a 1921 camera, and instead of digital cameras, Lotus will be filmed entirely with an analogue 16 mm camera using Kodak film stock. The lead role is played by Lithuania’s Severija Janušauskaitė, who has appeared in the TV series Babylon Berlin (2017) and in other Baltic titles, such as Jevgēņijs Paškēvičs’ What Silent Gerda Knows [+see also:
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(2020), Jurgis Matulevicius’ Isaac [+see also:
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(2019) and Tomas Vengris’ Motherland [+see also:
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(2019).

Appearing alongside Janušauskaitė are actors Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš, Mārtiņš Kalita and Rēzija Kalniņa. The technical crew members attached to the project are DoP Mārtiņš Jurevics, editor Andris Grants, production designer Mārtiņš Straupe, make-up artist Ilze Trumpe and composer Paulius Kilbauskas. The film’s dialogue will be in Latvian, French and German, and this first filming session is now unfolding in Latvia at the BBStudios pavilion and on location in Riga, whilst spring shooting will move to other locations in Latvia and Lithuania.

Lotus is being produced by Roberts Vinovskis and Dominiks Jarmakovičs for Latvia’s Studio Locomotive, and co-produced by Uljana Kim for Lithuania’s Studio Uljana Kim, with backing from the National Film Centre of Latvia and the Lithuanian Film Centre. The movie will be released next year.

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