CELEBRATION OF LIFE
CELEBRATION OF LIFE is a psychological drama in which a young woman, HELENA, makes peace with her estranged mother, albeit after her mother’s death. The story involves the history of the Baltic States in the latter half of the 20th century – a period of time that has seriously influenced several generations of people. Now, in order to carry on, the gap between the past and the future must be filled with understanding.
HELENA (30) is a creative director in a big advertising company. She is very well off, living together with her boyfriend UGA (34), the host of a popular TV show. Helena and Uga are soon to be married, an event that will solidify her position in the ad company, since Uga’s father owns it. The only dark spot in Helena’s perfect life is everything connected with her parents. Helena has never known who her father was and can’t forgive her mother ELEONORA for giving her away as a child. Eleonora tried to explain things to her daughter, but Helena would never believe her appallingly dramatic stories. Her resentment was so intense that Helena made up her own story, telling everyone that her mother and father had died many years ago. The problem starts a couple of weeks before Helena’s wedding, when her fiancé UGA gets an invitation to Eleonora’s funeral. Having been told that Eleonora died years ago, Uga asks Helena if there are any secrets he should know before their marriage. Helena denies anything. She cannot imagine that Uga might know anything about her mother. Uga is disappointed with Helena’s duplicity and starts having second thoughts about the wedding. The marriage, so important for Helena’s career, is under threat.
Having kept the funeral a secret, Helena goes to the service by herself but is surprised to find a number of strangers in attendance. It turns out that Eleonora had asked the local priest to invite these people to her funeral before her death. Helena is even more shocked when, just before leaving the cemetery, she realizes that Uga is there as well. Before she can confront him, he disappears. Even calls to his mobile don’t work – he has switched it off. The local priest gives Helena a letter that Eleonora left for her. The letter apologizes for the distance between mother and daughter and says that if Helena really wants to know the identity of her father, she should contact the people listed in the letter. Angry that her mother still wouldn’t come out and just say who her father is, Helena almost destroys the letter. But she thinks better of it and decides to follow the clues after all. Helena sets off on a journey to discover the origins of her own existence and the truth of her mother’s past.
As she interviews people on Eleonora’s list, Helena comes to realize what a truly extraordinary life her mother led. Eleonora had been caught in the whirlwind of history while conducting a search of her own – trying to find her fiancée HUGO, who was missing in action during the Second World War. Eleonora travelled to Germany to look for him – nearly died of starvation and was trapped in a brothel for a time. Later she worked as a nurse in a military hospital, all in hopes of finding her Hugo. Later, at the end of the war, the Soviets accused her of having been a collaborator and sent her to Siberia. Eleonora nearly died there and when she finally returned home to Soviet Latvia, she was labeled “an enemy of the nation” and forced to live as a washerwoman in a remote country village.
Helena learns of her mother’s experiences as if she had lived them herself (both Helena and Eleonora are played by the same actress) and she undergoes a roller coaster of emotions, from complete disbelief to tears and understanding. Helena even gets to know who her father is. And it seems that Eleonora was right not to tell her who he was. Understanding comes late for Helena, but perhaps not too late. The perfect marriage between Uga and Helena may not happen, but life has a way of bringing about its own corrections.
Film director, producer and editor. Since 1994 Antra is Managing Director of Juris Podnieks Studio.
She is a producer of The Naivists (best documentary in Latvia in 1993), series of documentaries (6×30) Beyond Red for BBC with TVE (UK) and Accursed Town for Channel 4.
Antra directed and produced Unfinished Business, film in memory of Juris Podnieks, for Channel 4 (award in Anthropological Film Festival in Parnu), Anatomy of A Provokation , Girls from Chaka Street for TVE (UK), Is It Easy To Be…? for Channel 4 (UK)(Prize in Leipzig Film Festival, FIPRESSI prize, nominated for Prix Europa), Where Does It All Begin? (documentary about an outstanding Latvian artist I.Blumbergs) she also directed short “Time For Bed”, winner’s prize at the Northern Lights Festival (UK) and produced documentary “Dina”, nominated for the best documentary in Latvia.
The Highest Scriptwriters Courses of All Union Committee of Cinematography (Moscow), 1987-1989, graduated as scriptwriter of feature films;
The State Institution of Theatre, Music and Cinematography (Leningrad), 1983-1988, graduated as director of TV programs and films;
Latvian State University (Riga), 1980-1985, lawyer.
from 2000 – Director at the experimental theater “TT THEATER”
from 1997. – Head of Writing Department at Latvian Academy of Culture,
1995-1998 – Program Film producing director at Latvian Academy of Culture,
from 1991 – lecturer of practical writing at Latvian Academy of Culture,
from 1991 – free-lance scriptwriter and playwright and theater director,
1989-1991 – producer of programs of professional choir Sindi Putnu Dårzs,
1985-1988 – creator and artistic leader of Riga city theatre Theatre #8,
1982-1985 – director of musical programs at Latvian State Television.
2007 Celebration Of Life, at Juris Podnieks Studio
2005 Neighbour, short film, Juris Podnieks Studio
2000 Never, never, never!…,director, scriptwriter KVINTA,
1999 Brothers in Arms, for Riga Motion Picture Studio, Handful of bullets, KAUPO
Fall of Doctor D., AURA filma studio,
1998 Follow Me,studio KAUPO (Latvia), Bjerking Prouktion (Sweden), the best scipt at 1 EUROPEAN FILM FESTIVAL, Coleto, Italy, 2000, Lead on Canvas, in process at film studio ZALKTIS,
1997 The Guillotine, based on own novel Footprints on a Glass Hill (1993.), studio KAUPO,
1996-1997 TV serial script The Sugar House ( 10 episodes 45′ each), at Latvian State Television Company, awarded as The Best Film of the Year and prise for The Best Script of the Year, published by publishing house KAROGS,
1996 The Comet ( 10 episodes 10′ each), produced by film studio AVE (Riga),
1995 The Strong Werse, published,
1990-1992 four scripts for Latvian and Lithuanian private film studios, one of
them realized – The Duplet (1991.), film studio DEKRIM (Riga),
2004 Touching the Polar Bear, at the TT Theatre
2001 Tiritomba or The Golden Fish,Theatre TT.
2000 Whistling From the Ocean, Theatre TT,
1999 The Rabbit’s Song, Liepaja theatre MURIS, Livingstone, Latvian Puppet’s Theatre,
The Cheese and the Marmelade, the best entry at DAILES Theatre (Riga) playwrighting competition,
1997 Wagner Will Never Return, translated into German for Cologne Radio, published,
1996 The Duel, based on A. Chekhov’s story, Daugavpils Theatre (Latvia),
1994 The Story of Cavalier des Grieux and Manon Lescaut, based on Francois Prevost novel, Riga New Theatre, Hansel and Grethen, based on brothers’ Grimm fairy tale, Liepåja Theatre,
1993 Matîss – The Drinker for Riga New Theatre,
1989 The Magic Enclosure, Ventspils Theatre (1999.)
1986-1990 three plays, two of them staged at Theatre #8 – The Seventh, The Catastrophe (also as co-director),
2001 Tiritomba or The Golden Fish, own play in the Theatre TT.
2000 Never, never, never!…, full length feature, studio KVINTA,
- Priede The summer of the Youngest Brother, in New Riga Theatre,
Livingstone, own play, in Latvian State Puppet’s Theatre,
1999 J.Reza ART, at Liepåja theatre MURIS (nominated as the best
performance of the season in Latvia theatres),
1997 A. Chekhov’s The Duel at Parnu theatre ENDLA (Estonia),
1994 W. Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Liepåjas Theatre (award for the best young director of the season, nominated as the best performance of the season in Latvia theatres),
1983-1986 three musical programmes at Latvia State TV
1980-1983 three non-professional feature films:
– The Cut – the best film of 1982 in Latvia, 3-rd award at World Non-professional Film Festival UNICA 1992,
– The Play of Men in the Nature, 3-rd award in Badalona Film Festival (Spain), 1981.
1993 a novel Footprints on a Glass Hill (award at first afterwar Latvian Novel Competition).
from 1995 – tutor of practical playwriting at several international playwriting and scriptwriting workshops in Latvia and Estonia,
1999 – Leading tutor at international scriptwriting workshop MARE LIBERUM in Latvia, 2000. – Tutor at INTERPLAY EUROPE 2000, in Warszaw.
Chair of the Board of Latvian Playwrights’ Guild, Member of the Board of ASSITEJ-Latvia branch, Member of Latvian Writers’ Union.
Talsu iela 28, LV-1002 Rîga LATVIA
Tel. +371 – 2273826, mobile tel. +371 – 9541099, e-mail: email@example.com
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