MEMBERS

ANETE MELECE

Anete Melece is a Latvian illustrator and animation filmmaker based in Zürich, Switzerland. Anete created her first animated works while still a student at the Art Academy of Latvia, and these revealed the budding director’s warm sense of humour and love of cut-out animation. For her watching animation films is like being in another world, which you can visit for a while. It's a great feeling for her to also create one and welcome people there. She creates author-animation for adult audience.

 

 

Most-significant films:

The Kiosk / Kiosks

Anete Melece, digital cut-out animation, 7 min, 2013, Latvia, universal audiences, no dialogue.

For years now, the kiosk has been Olga’s little home simply because her sweet tooth and monotonous life have made her bigger than the kiosk’s door. To distract herself, she reads travel magazines and dreams of being far away. One day, an absurd incident sets her off on her journey.

 

Analysis Paralysis / Analīzes Paralīze

Anete Melece, cut-out animation, 2D computer animation, drawing on paper, 10 min, 2016, Latvia, adults, no dialogue.

Anton is lost in his own head until one day a yellow boot brings him to an exit.

Works online

ANNA ZAČA

Anna has studied animation as a critic and theoretician for more than 10 years, along with her work as the head of the Latvian Animation association and the curator of Riga International Film Festival SHORT RIGA short film programme. Her first directors experience was a collaboration with Nils Skapāns in a puppet animation All My Friends Are Dead, where she did the script, directing, most of the set elements and parts of set design as well as the overall visual concept. Currently Anna is working on her second film Penthouse for Short People. 

 

 

Film:

 

All of My Friends Are Dead / Visi mani draugi ir miruši

Nils Skapāns and Anna Zača, stop motion/puppet animation, 6 min, 2019, young adults / adults, no dialogue.

When Anna Zaķis was young, she experienced the upswing of social networks. Once active cultural life has slowed down but the desire for real conversations is still there. She will fight to the end... for a chance to talk with someone.

LIZETE UPĪTE

Lizete Upīte is an animation film director from Latvia. She has studied at the Baltic Film and Media School in Estonia, the Escola Superior Artistica do Porto in Portugal, La Poudrière in France and the Art Academy of Latvia. She is a European director in the sense that she has made at least one film in every place where she has lived for more than a couple of months. Lizete works on tragi-comic stories about emotional overwhelm - our natural awkwardness while finding ourselves, using 2D animation technique.

 

Most-significant films:

 

Riga’s Lilac / Rīgas Ceriņi

Lizete Upīte, 2D computer animation, 14 min, 2019, universal, France / Latvia, adults, dialogue.

Riga’s Lilac is a tragicomic story about the social impact of a bad smell. In the style of a documentary film, the story is based on real interviews with people who reveal how overwhelmed they can be by the strong smell of another person.

Night Walks / Nakts pastaigas

Lizete Upīte, 2D computer animation, painting on glass, cut-out animation, 6 min, 2018, children / adults, dialogue.

Tonight Anna and her father have decided to walk home through the forest. Anna takes a torch, and her father lights it for her. The silent forest is as enchanting as it is scary, and the bright flame is as protective as it is blinding.

 

Works online

 

 

NILS SKAPĀNS

Nils is an independent puppet animation director as well as the scriptwriter, animator and often also the artist for his own films. Skapāns tried various puppet animation techniques and also a variety of genres, for a time even focusing on making animated films for adult audiences. In the end, however, he returned to plasticine animation and has since become a master of the art. 

 

 

Most-significant films:

 

Brickannia / Klucānija

Nils Skapāns, stop motion, wood, 6 min, 2000, adults, no dialogue.

Strange, bird-like, meteorite-eating creatures live on a planet not far from Earth. Their problems are different from ours, and their joys… well, it’s difficult to tell exactly what those are. But as we become more familiar with the birds’ world, we see that there are nevertheless plenty of similarities with our own world.

 

Listen, Rabbit!...Daddy Goes to London / Redzi, Trusi!... Tētis brauc uz Londonu

Nils Skapāns, plasticine animation, 8 min, 2004, children’s film, no dialogue.

A film about a little girl, her beloved toy rabbit and her always-busy father, who doesn’t even notice that his daughter and the rabbit have figured out a way to accompany him to London. Who would have thought that an ordinary suitcase is such a great means of transport?

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROBERTS VINOVSKIS

 

 

The director of Locomotive Productions is producer Roberts Vinovskis, who has been active in the film industry since the early 1990s. The studio has mainly worked with live action films, but recently animation has begun playing a larger role as well. To date, Locomotive Productions has participated in the creation of seven animated films: three feature-length and four short films.

Locomotive works in various techniques and genres.

 

 

 

Most-significant films:

 

Rocks in My Pockets / Akmeņi manās kabatās

Signe Baumane, stopmotion, drawn and papier mâché animation, 88 min, 2014, Latvia / United States, adults, dialogue in English and Latvian.

A story based on real people and events. The director tells about five women in her family, including herself, and their battles with life’s challenges, depression and mental illness. In this bleak yet funny film, the twists and turns of Latvian history are interlaced with personal experiences and stories about family secrets, love and marriage.

 

Saule brauca debesīs / Before the Day Breaks

Roze Stiebra, drawn animation, 75 min, 2018, Latvia, universal audiences, dialogue.

The Sun and Moon have a baby, and mummers arrive to welcome the Daughter of the Sun. Amid the joyous crowds, no one notices that the Daughter has disappeared, and everyone is suddenly stunned to see an empty cradle. However strong the Sun and Moon are, they cannot find their Daughter nor bring her back home. It turns out they need a human being!

 

 

 

 

 

 

ULDIS MĀKULIS

Uldis Mākulis graduated from the Latvian Academy of Arts. Curator of film programs and exhibitions. Former expert of animation funding committee at Latvian National Film Centre. Uldis is an collector and curator of animation, he has been working on several projects promoting animation as medium in Latvia and promoting Latvian animation abroad, the most recent ones are Fantoche 2018 Latvian Focus and Latvian cinema days in Switzerland 2019.

MONTA ANDŽEJEVSKA

Monta is a recent graduate from the Latvian Academy of Arts. For her the animation process is hard and patient and the result comes slow, but with an excitement. Probably, this process is what she loves about animation. At the end there is this satisfaction that she has done something huge and important. She likes 2D animation as much as 3D animation and her works are mostly experimental and comedy animations.

 

Most-significant films:

 

Lust on the Hunt

Monta Andžejevska, 3D animation, 4 min, 2018, adults, no dialogue, subtitles in English.

The routine of an online computer game player is disrupted by another player. He abandons the rules of the game to retain the new friendship.


Works online

 

 

REINIS PĒTERSONS

Reinis Pētersons is an illustrator and artist who works in diverse styles. He is part of the creative team in Atom Art Studio. He has created the design for the studio’s children’s films as well as his own short animation film, Ursus, made in a delicate charcoal-drawing technique. Since 2009 he has made illustrations for more than 25 children's books, the artistic design for board games as well as costumes and scenography for puppet theatre plays.

 

Most-significant films:

 

Ursus

Reinis Pētersons, charcoal drawing, 10 min, 2011, Latvia, adults, no dialogue.

A charcoal-on-paper animation about a motorcycling circus bear who decides to leave the daily routine and takes off to the forest, where his true happiness seems to dwell.

 

Pigtail and Mr. Sleeplessness / Bize un Neguļa

Edmunds Jansons, digital cut-outs, 2D computer animation, 25 min, 2017, Latvia, children, dialogue in Latvian / English.

To win back her parents’ attention, a six-year-old girl nicknamed Pigtail and her imaginary friend Mr. Sleeplessness come up with a clever plan to send her Baby Brother and Grandma to the moon.


Works online

 

 

SABĪNE ANDERSONE

Sabīne is the CEO of the company and the main producer for most of the projects at Atom Art.

Although she is the main financial manager, she is one of the most creative people at the studio. She is producer of award winning animation shorts Choir Tour, International Father’s Day by Edmunds Jansons, Ursus by Reinis Pētersons, It’s about time by Ivo Briedis, Riga’s Lilac by Lizete Upīte, as well as series for pre-school children Shammies, Christmas special Pigtail and Mr. Sleeplessness, and feature film Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs.

 

Most-significant films:

 

Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs /Jēkabs, Mimmī un runājošie suņi

Edmunds Jansons, cut-out, 2D Computer Animation 70 min, 2019, universal audiences, with dialogues.

Adventure story about two kids who spend summer in city suburb, where together with talking dogs they rescue the romantic wooden-house neighborhood from reconstruction.

 

Miniseries Shammies / Lupatiņi

Edmunds Jansons, digital cut-outs, 2015, Latvia, preschool-aged children, dialogue in English / Latvian.

The Shammies are an animated cross-media project for preschool-aged children about discovering the world based on children’s games, fantasy and word play. The project consists of TV series, web episodes and a published calendar and books.


Works online

 

VLADIMIRS LEŠČOVS

Artist, director, animator and producer Vladimir Leschiov is the founder of animation studio Lunohod. He makes films in Latvia, however, the scale he works on is international – for example, he has dedicated a short film to the Japanese (The Letter from Hibakusha) and has collaborated with and co-produced films with Canadians and Estonians. His themes revolve around border situations where opposites meet: sleep and wakefulness, clarity and intoxication, life and death, meeting and parting. Animation is the best thing he has done in his life.

Most-significant films:

 

Electrician’s Day / Elektriķa diena

Vladimirs Leščovs, classical animation, 8 min, 2018, adults, no dialogue.

An accident happens during repairs at a psychiatric hospital. As a result, an electrician loses consciousness and finds himself on the other side of the wall.

 

Villa Antropoff

Vladimirs Leščovs and Kaspars Jancis, classical animation, 13 min, 2012, adults, no dialogue.

An ironic story about dreams and losing dreams. Inspired by a real event, when both directors found themselves at a strange wedding celebration in the villa of former USSR leader Yuri Andropov near Pärnu in Estonia.

 

DACE RĪDŪZE

Dace began working with animation in 1998 when she joined the Animācijas Brigāde film studio, where she learned about puppet cinema from the very foundations up. For her animation is a wonderful lifestyle that contains all of her favourite subjects – film, storytelling and creation of magical wonders. Animation has no boundaries. For 22 years she has worked in classical stop motion puppet animation technique because it involves theater, film, puppets, movements and many different combinations of methods. Mostly she is making films for children. 

 

Most-significant films:

 

Up and Down / Kaimiņu būšana

Dace Rīdūze, puppet animation, 7 min, 2000, children, no dialogues.

Strange things are happening at the Tiger’s garden. Someone has stolen his carrots and some of the carrots are growing up and down.

 

Firefly / Jāņtārpiņš

Dace Rīdūze, puppet animation, 12 min, 2002, children, no dialogues.

Otis the Firefly is trying to find a girlfriend, but due to his inability to glow, he is finding this difficult.


Works online available only in Latvia

DZINTARS KRŪMIŅŠ

Dzintars has worked as a screenwriter, production designer, director, cameraman, computer artist and animator for several Latvian films. Since 2008 Krūmiņš has focused on the animation education - as the one of the most experienced 2D animation specialists in Latvia he is teaching classical 2D animation at Janis Rozentāls Art School and since 2012 at the Art Academy of Latvia. For him animation is a way how to make a brand new world.

 

 

 

Most-significant film:

 

Before the Day Breaks / Saule brauca debesīs

Roze Stiebra, drawn animation, 75 min, 2018, Latvia, universal audiences, dialogue.

The Sun and Moon have a baby, and mummers arrive to welcome the Daughter of the Sun. Amid the joyous crowds, no one notices that the Daughter has disappeared, and everyone is suddenly stunned to see an empty cradle. However strong the Sun and Moon are, they cannot find their Daughter nor bring her back home. It turns out they need a human being! 


Works online

EDMUNDS JANSONS

Edmunds Jansons is an animation film director, graphic designer. Founder of animation film studio Atom Art in 2001. He also works as an animator, graphic artist, editor and creative producer, and in his free time he enjoys illustrating children’s books. Edmunds works in several techniques like cut-out animation and 2D computer drawing.

 

 

 

Most-significant films: 

 

Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs /Jēkabs, Mimmī un runājošie suņi

Edmunds Jansons, cut-out, 2D Computer Animation 70 min, 2019, universal audiences, with dialogues.

Adventure story about two kids who spend summer in city suburb, where together with talking dogs they rescue the romantic wooden-house neighborhood from reconstruction.

 

Miniseries Shammies / Lupatiņi

Edmunds Jansons, digital cut-outs, 2015, Latvia, preschool-aged children, dialogue in English / Latvian.

The Shammies are an animated cross-media project for preschool-aged children about discovering the world based on children’s games, fantasy and word play. The project consists of TV series, web episodes and a published calendar and books.


Works online

EGĪLS MEDNIS

Egīls is an artist and graphic designer, a graduate of the Latvian Academy of Arts. He happens to love video games, Machinima animation, motion graphics and creating drawing robots. His previous animation, The Ship, made in computer game aesthetics,  received Jury Award at San Jose Next Generation Machinima Contest amongst other awards. At the moment Egīls is working on an animated experience Astapovo that is a creative vision of the last days of the great Russian writer and public figure Lev Tolstoy.

 

Most-significant film:

 

The Ship / Kuģis

Egīls Mednis, 8 min, 2007, children/adults.

Father and his son is on the way in a huge snow desert. But they are not alone, a black ship is following them. Their trip becomes a running away. What is this ship - reality or our imagination?

GINTS ZILBALODIS

Gints is a Latvian filmmaker and animator who made his debut feature film Away entirely by himself. He has made 7 short films in various mediums including hand-drawn animation, 3D animation and live-action and often mixing their characteristic aesthetics. Having tried his hand at classic animation, Gints has now turned to 3D computer animation, because it lets him use the camera as if in a feature film yet still retain the endless possibilities provided by animation.

Most-significant films:

Away / Projām

Gints Zilbalodis, 3D computer animation, 75 min, 2019, young adults, no dialogues.

A boy wakes up in the desert next to a downed airplane. A mysterious monster emerges from the wreck and starts pursuing the boy. His only salvation is an oasis, but it’s too lonely to live there for very long. One day the boy finds an orphaned bird, teaches it to fly, and soon both of them are ready to head out into the world to look for others like them.

 

Priorities / Prioritātes

Gints Zilbalodis, 3D animation, 9 min, 2014, young adults, no dialogues.

A story about a young man, who is fighting for survival, and his dog,

who is only fighting for his master’s attention.


Works online

IEVA VIESE-VIGULA

Ieva Viese-Vigula is a writer, critic, researcher and curator of animation. Graduated Audiovisual culture and Culture theory programs of Latvian Academy of Culture and studied Literature in University of Liepāja. Since 2010 Ieva has been conducting research in history of Latvian animation, particularly focusing on the work of Roze Stiebra and Ansis Bērziņš. Has authored the chapter on Latvian animation in Giannalberto Bendazzi’s Animation: A World History (Boca Raton CRC Press, 2016). For her animation is a beautiful way of expression.


Few of her articles are found here: about the history of animation, about animation director Roze Stiebra, about american animation.

INDRA SPROĢE

For an artist turned writer Indra Sproģe animation is a way how to communicate with the world. In order to teach her characters - beetles and zebras to move and to act she has become a director and an animator. Indra works in a self-developed technique - combining classical and stop-motion animation. And their films have mostly educational contents related to person's spiritual growth. 

Most-significant films:

Introduction to an Epilogue / Ievads epilogam

Indra Sproģe, plasticine, tracing paper, 9 min, 2018, adults, no dialogues.

An allegorical animated film about the fear of death, which, it turns out, is in fact a narcissistic emotion. The film reflects man’s transformation at truly difficult life moments and his ability to accept the inevitable and understand that life is always just one life long.

Awesome Beetle’s Colors

Indra Sproģe, Plasticine, acrylic, pastels, 3 min, 2016, children’s film, dialogues.

A colourful, surreal animated film that presents the English alphabet three times. The film received the Cristal Award at Annecy and has been screened at more than one hundred festivals on five continents.


Works online

IVO BRIEDIS

Ivo Briedis is not only animator, but also a script writer, director and dramaturg. For him, making animation is a way of having godly powers. He was the script author of the film To Swallow a Toad (directed by Jurģis Krāsons), which was nominated for the Best Short in Festival de Cannes. His prefered techniques are stop-motion and puppet animation. 

 

Most-significant films:

 

It’s About Time / Laiks iet

Ivo Briedis, puppet animation, 6 min, 2015, adults, no dialogue.

A message brought by the wind urges a lonely man to go out into the city, but there is someone who does not want him to leave the room.

 

To Swallow a Toad / Norīt krupi

Together with Rija Films, Jurģis Krāsons, classic animation, 9 min, 2010, adults, no dialogues.

Once upon a time, the rotund intellectuals lived in a small town. They were smart, good-natured, prescient and successful. And this success was based on their ability to...swallow a toad. In other words, to swallow their pride, or overcome offence. The square, practical workers also lived in this same town. They were pragmatic realists who rewarded good with good and evil with evil and did not swallow any toads. A peaceful coexistence. But one day one of the squares inadvertently found out that the rotunds swallowed toads.

JURĢIS KRĀSONS

Krāsons is a feature-film artist who studied to be a painter and turned his attention to animated films in 2006. He worked with the Rija and Kompānija Hargla studios and went on to establish his own animation studio Krasivo Limited in 2015. The directors original signature - artistic solutions and social satire - gives something modern to the old fashioned plots. He adds symbols, paradoxes and allegories fitting his taste. He is working on a combination of 2D and 3D computer animation.

 

Most-significant films:

 

How I Gave Up Smoking / Kā es atmetu smēķēšanu

Jurģis Krāsons, 3D computer animation, 11 min, 2016, a film for adults, no dialogues.

The habit of smoking will truly be broken by the end of this film. At the beginning of the film, however, a Scandinavian woman almost dies because the main character lights a cigarette at an airport.

 

To Swallow a Toad / Norīt krupi

Together with Rija Films, Jurģis Krāsons, classic animation, 9 min, 2010, adults, no dialogues.

Once upon a time, the rotund intellectuals lived in a small town. They were smart, good-natured, prescient and successful. And this success was based on their ability to...swallow a toad. In other words, to swallow their pride, or overcome offence. The square, practical workers also lived in this same town. They were pragmatic realists who rewarded good with good and evil with evil and did not swallow any toads. A peaceful coexistence. But one day one of the squares inadvertently found out that the rotunds swallowed toads.

KĀRLIS VĪTOLS

Kārlis Vītols graduated Department of Painting at the Art Academy of Latvia. He is self-taught in animation and music. Vitols is interested in mythology, archetypes and their usage and the role of consumers in society. He thinks that animation is the most realistic cinematic form because instead of trying replicate or imitate reality on the screen, it creates reality directly in your brain so people can experience this reality and feel it in their bones. Kārlis works in stop motion and digital cutout techniques and he loves sci-fi, fairy tales and experimental genre. 

 

Most-significant films:

 

The End / Beigas 

Kārlis Vītols, digital animation / original technique, 15 min, 2018, adults, no dialogues.

The heavenly Count Pīlādzis sees a younger version of himself reflected in the water. Being a slave to vanity, he must now observe his own withering away and turns to various clichéd survival strategies: the breasts and legs of pretty girls, a house with a pool, a fancy car and endless sleepless nights.

 

Minotaurus / Mīnotaurs

Kārlis Vītols, oil on glass, 8 min, 2016, adults, no dialogues.

While Father is at work, little Minotaurus looks for playmates. In the endless labyrinth, he finds mythological figures who are occupied with their own ambitions.


Works online