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12 November 2021, online

Amateur filmmaking in the Latvian SSR


with Inese Strupule


Amateur filmmaking in the Latvian SSR: from actualities of everyday life to art experiments.

Online talk with film researcher Inese Strupule (LV/UK)

Baltic Analog Lab in collaboration with Latvian National film archive and studio “Locomotive” with a support of Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation project “Kultūrelpa” this year is working on a project “Beginnings of Experimental film in Latvia” where large number of Latvian Soviet time amateur films found in archive of BAL as well as National Film archive foundation is being digitised. The focus of the project is finding previously uncovered and unseen films in Latvia that could be considered as experimental and alongside Latvian National film archive amateur film collection will be published in online platform as well as website of Baltic Analog Lab by the end of the year.

Meanwhile we offer to join already our second public event this year – this time an online lecture on November 12 at 7pm (GMT+2) with a film researcher Inese Strupule who will read a lecture in English about amateur film movement in Soviet Latvia. The lecture will be streamed online via Zoom and Facebook.

In her talk, Inese Strupule will approach the amateur filmmaking movement in Soviet Latvia as a social and aesthetic phenomenon in the context of Soviet society from the Khrushchev ‘Thaw’ period to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The heritage of amateur cinema in the Soviet Union consists mainly of documentaries, but among the films that have captured the everyday life and work, celebrations, and parades, there are also those whose experimental form and non-realistic diegetic worlds can still captivate viewers today. Their authors fearlessly challenged the Soviet cultural canon and conducted their own film experiments in the best traditions of Luis Buñuel, Jean Cocteau, Maya Deren, and Andy Warhol.

The cinematic avant-garde in the Soviet Union is discussed very rarely outside the 1920s avant-garde movement and the filmmaking practices and theories of Lev Kuleshov, Sergei Eizenshtein, and Dziga Vertov; this talk will attempt to broaden our understanding of the Soviet cinematic avant-garde by looking for traces of experimental filmmaking practices on the peripheries of the Soviet state film industry, namely, in amateur-film studios and self-organized groups of non-professional filmmakers.

Inese Strupule has received her PhD from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Her thesis concerned the amateur filmmaking movement in Soviet Latvia and its social, cultural, and political impact. She has recently published an article entitled “Ingvars Leitis's Subversive Ethnographic Documentaries, 1975–1989: Cover Stories and National Representation in Soviet Latvia” in the edited collection Global Perspectives on Amateur Film Histories and Cultures (Indiana University Press, 2021).

Please RSVP for a Zoom link by sending us an email:

Zoom Recording is available here:

Amateur filmmaking in the Latvian SSR
Amateur filmmaking in the Latvian SSR
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