– It was also a great night for filmmaker Staņislavs Tokalovs, whose works earned five prizes in total at the Latvian National Film Awards

Elza Gauja’s A Postcard from Rome crowned Best Feature at this year’s Lielais Kristaps

The team behind A Postcard from Rome picking up their Best Feature Film Award (© Gints Ivuskans)

On Sunday 4 February, the annual ceremony for the Latvian National Film Awards Lielais Kristaps was held in Riga. This year’s edition saw the triumph of Elza Gauja’s A Postcard from Rome, crowned Best Feature. The picture is a touching love story between two senior postal workers, played by local stars Jānis Jarāns and Indra Burkovska.

Moreover, it was a fabulous night for filmmaker Staņislavs Tokalovs, whose latest works earned him five statuettes. In detail, the series Soviet Jeans, which he co-directed with Juris Kursietis (see the news), received three awards, including Best TV Series, Best Scriptwriter and Best Actor in a Leading Role. The latter was bestowed upon Kārlis Arnolds Avots for the second time in a row. In 2023, Avots scooped the gong for his main role in Viesturs Kairišs’s coming-of age drama January [+see also:
film review
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Meanwhile, two more awards went to Tokalovs’ documentary Everything Will Be Alright – namely, the Prizes for Best Documentary and for Best Editing, the latter of which was handed to Stefan Stabenow.

Next, the Award for Best Director went to Aik Karapetian’s feature The Brazen [+see also:
film review
film profile
, billed by the Riga International Film Festival as “a family portrait against the backdrop of entomological horror”. The picture also scooped the gongs for Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Original Score.

Finally, two thesps from Ilze Kunga-Melgaile’s My Freedom (Latvia/Lithuania) were also rewarded: Ērika Eglija-Grāvele (Best Leading Actress) and Darius Meškauskas (Best Actor in a Supporting Role). The historical drama is based on the real-life story of Ita Kozakevica (played by Eglija-Grāvele), a Polish-born journalist and politician who was one of the most prominent voices in the late 1980s Latvian independence movement and national revival.

Here is the list of this year’s award winners:

Best Feature Film
A Postcard from Rome – Elza Gauja

Best TV Series
Soviet Jeans – Staņislavs Tokalovs, Juris Kursietis

Best Director
Aik Karapetian – The Brazen [+see also:
film review
film profile

Best Scriptwriter
Teodora Markova, Staņislavs Tokalovs, Waldemar Kalinowski – Soviet Jeans

Best Leading Actress
Ērika Eglija-Grāvele – My Freedom (Latvia/Lithuania)

Best Leading Actor
Kārlis Arnolds Avots – Soviet Jeans

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Sabīne Tīkmane – Black Velvet (Latvia/Lithuania)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Darius Meškauskas – My Freedom

Best Debut Film
Breathing Underwater – Ronalds Mežmačs

Best Animated Film
Rule of the Heart – Roze Stiebra
Special Mention for an Animated Film
In the End – Linda Stūre

Best Documentary
Everything Will Be Alright – Staņislavs Tokalovs

Best Short Fiction Film
Resistance Is Futile – Armands Začs

Best Documentary Short Film
Full Moon Serenade – Mārcis Ābele, Lauris Ābele

Best Documentary Director
Marta Herca – It’s Only Now We Begin

Best Cinematography
Jurģis Kmins – The Brazen

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film
Yevhen Titarenko, Ivan Fomichenko – Eastern Front [+see also:
film review
interview: Vitaly Mansky, Yevhen Titar…
film profile
(Latvia/Ukraine/Czech Republic/USA)

Best Director of an Animated Film
Roze Stiebra – Rule of the Heart

Best Production Design in an Animated Film
Aleksejs Naumovs – Rule of the Heart

Best Editing
Stefan Stabenow – Everything Will Be Alright

Best Production Design
Aldis Meinerts – The Brazen

Best Original Score
Ivars Arutjunjans – The Brazen

Best Sound
Ģirts Bišs – In the End

Best Costumes
Jaanus Vahtra, Berta Vīlipsone – The Invisible Fight [+see also:
film review
film profile

Best Make-up Artist
Gunda Zvirbule – Soviet Milk (Latvia/Belgium)

Best Student Film
Confessions of My Childhood Body – Emīlija Karetņikova

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