RIGA: Latvian director Signe Birkova has started shooting her first fictional feature Lotus, a comic phantasmagoria about a young woman in 1919 Latvia, who desires new challenges and the expression of inner freedom. The film is produced by Roberts Vinovskis and Dominiks Jarmakovičs for Studio Locomotive (Latvia) and Uljana Kim for Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania).
The film tells the story of the German-Baltic Countess Alice Von Trot, a foreigner who, overcoming physical and mental obstacles and prejudices, becomes an avant-garde filmmaker of Latvian silent cinema. Elements from various film genres and quotes from world cinema classics (Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, etc.) will be included, along with a special silent film dedication. For more authenticity, the fragments of silent films will be shot with a 1921 silver camera specially acquired for this production. Instead of digital cameras, Lotus will be shot by a 16mm analog camera using Kodak film.
The main role is played by Severija Janušauskaitė, a Lithuanian theater and film actress who appeared in the series Babylon Berlin (2017), and in the movies What Silent Gerda / Ko zina klusā Gerda knows (2020) by Jevgēņijs Paškēvičs, Isaac (2019) by Jurgis Matulevicius, and Homeland / Gimtine by Tomas Vengris (2019). The cast also includes a number of Latvian film and theater actors, including Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš and Rēzija Kalniņa.
Birkova has directed short fiction films, experimental and documentary films, television programs and created analog film performances. For experimental films, Birkova uses 16mm and Super 8 films, as well as a variety of animation techniques. She received the FIPRESCI prize at the National Film Festival for her short film When I return, I will be a flaming rose / Un tad es atgriezīšos kā kvēlojoša roze (2014, Camera obscure). His feature documentary Ring of Fire / Flattened Uguns (2021, VFS Films) premiered at Riga IFF 2021.
The interior scenes are shot in the BBstudios filming pavilion, which opened in the fall of 2021 in Riga. The first filming period in December lasted four days. The remainder of the 30-day filming schedule will resume in spring 2022.
Lotus is slated for release in 2023. The total budget for the film is 880,000 EUR, of which 500,000 EUR is from the Latvian National Film Center.
Locomotive Studio (Latvia)
Studio Uljana Kim (Lithuania)
Director: Signe Birkova
Writer: Signe Birkova
DoP: Martiņš Jurevics
Publisher: Andris Grants
Production designer: Mārtiņš Straupe
Costume designer: Jurate Silakaktiņa
Make-up artist: Ilze Trumpe
Original music: Paulius Kilbauskas
Cast: Severija Janušauskaitė, Baiba Broka, Vilis Daudziņš, Mārtiņš Kalita, Rēzija Kalniņa, Andis Strods, Iveta Pole, Āris Matesovičs, Jana Čivžele, Lauma Balode
Producers: Roberts Vinovskis, Dominiks Jarmakovičs
Co-producer: Uljana Kim