From 11 to 14 May, a Latvian literature and film festival titled "Is it Easy to Be Latvian/Ist es leicht, Lette zu sein?" will be held in Berlin. The festival is organized by the "Latvian Literature" platform. The festival will be screening films "Doom 94," "Soviet Milk," "Is it Easy to Be Young?," "January," "Kiosk," and "Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs," as well as feature events with the participation of Latvian writers Jānis Joņevs and Baiba Zīle.
The films "Doom 94" and "January" portray life in the 1990s, revealing a time when Latvia was on the verge of regaining or had just regained its independence. The documentary "Is it Easy to Be Young?" follows the events just before the restoration of independence, while the film "Soviet Milk" is a story of Latvia under the Soviet occupation when the dream of freedom seemed distant and unattainable. To delight the festival's younger attendees, an animated movie "Jacob, Mimmi, and the Talking Dogs" will also be screened. This story is set in independent Latvia where life turns out to be not too easy either. Additionally, the festival will showcase a short film called "Kiosks," which is a story about a deep desire to escape the monotonous daily routine.
"We have chosen two thematic directions for this festival. One of them focuses on literary works of Latvian authors, which have served as the basis for many films created in Latvia in recent years. The other focal point of the festival is the era of the 1990s, when the Berlin Wall fell and Latvia regained its independence, laying the foundations for a free state and nation," explained Rita Demetjeva, representative of the "Latvian Literature" platform.
On 11 May at 18:00, the feature film "Doom 94" (directed by Jānis Ābele, Juris Podnieks Studio, 2019) will be screened. It will be followed by a conversation between Jānis Joņevs, the author of the novel "Doom 94" (published in Germany by Parasitenpresse, 2023), and his German publisher Adrian Kasnitz. On 12 May at 18:00, a screening of the film "Soviet Milk” (directed by Ināra Kolmane, film studio "Deviņi," 2023) will be held. The movie is based on the motifs of Nora Ikstena's novel of the same title. The novel was also published in Germany in 2019 by the publishing house "KLAK."
On 13 May, two films will be screened. At 18:00, there will be a showing of the film "Is it Easy to Be Young?" (directed by Juris Podnieks, 1986), followed by a discussion between the moderator Susanne von Schenck and Latvian writer Baiba Zīle, whose book "Master of Lies" was published in Germany (KLAK Verlag, 2022). Additionally, there will be a screening of the film "January" (directed by Viesturs Kairišs, Mistrus Media, 2023).
On 14 May, the festival will celebrate Children's Day, featuring the film "Jacob, Mimi, and the Talking Dogs," based on the book "Dog Town" ("Maskačkas stāsts") by Luīze Pastore, as well as the animated short film "Kiosks" created by writer and illustrator Anete Melece (book published in German by Atlantis Verlag, Switzerland).
After the film screening, an illustration workshop for children will be held. During the festival, visitors will have the opportunity to purchase books by Latvian authors that have been published in Germany. The films at the festival will be shown in their original language with German subtitles.
The festival will take place at the "Brotfabrik" Arts and Cultural Center (Caligariplatz 1, 13086, Berlin). The festival is supported by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), the Latvian Embassy in Germany, and the bookstore "Pankebuch."
More about the festival: