New Year’s Movie Week

Blizzard of Souls – Based on true events and the novel by Aleksandrs Grins, which was forbidden in the USSR, the film follows a coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old Arthur. After the loss of his mother, he enlists to fight in WWI with dreams of becoming a hero, but after surviving the brutalities of trench warfare and the loss of his family, he wonders if his efforts in battle were futile and if hope is only to be found in rebuilding a family and a home as Latvia itself is born from the atrocities of war.

BLIZZARD OF SOULS was directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and written by Dreibergs and Boriss Frumins. The film was produced by Inga Pranevska and Dzintars Dreibergs for KULTFILMA, and associate produced by Gatis Sniedziņš. Ilona Bičevska serves as International Producer. It was edited by Gatis Belogrudovs and composed by Lolita Ritmanis. 

Once upon a time in Venezuela – The massive political and economic crisis and one of the world’s largest refugee crises in Venezuela is the backdrop of this stunning film and Oscar contender. Directed by Anabel Rodríguez Ríos and Produced and Edited by Sepp R. Brudermann. Once upon a time, the Venezuelan village of Congo Mirador was prosperous, alive with fishermen and poets. Now it is decaying and disintegrating – a small but prophetic reflection of Venezuela itself.

With the world’s largest crude reserves at Lake Maracaibo not far from Congo Mirador, Venezuela was one of Latin America’s richest countries through the 1990s. The lake’s namesake city was even referred to as “Venezuela’s Saudi Arabia.” But inequality was high, and the boom time wasn’t to last. In 1999, Hugo Chavez took power and launched the Bolivarian Revolution, centralizing power to the state, redistributing wealth and nationalizing industries including oil and banking. His socialist political reforms put him at odds with the United States, and a hostile relationship lasted until his death in 2013. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, continued Chavez’s legacy, but by 2016, oil prices had fallen by more than 70 percent, plunging the country into a humanitarian crisis. In addition, the Trump administration put sanctions on Venezuela and refused to recognize Maduro’s presidency after highly disputed elections in 2018. Suffering from hyperinflation, environmental degradation, and shortage of food and basic necessities, over 4 million Venezuelans left the country in the past few years, and many millions more are expected to continue to flee in what will be the world’s worst refugee crisis of modern times.