The film is up for 15 awards at the Lielais Kristaps awards, which take place November 15. It is also set to have its international premiere at Estonia’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on November 19, and its North American premiere at the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival on November 19. Pic is a frontrunner to be Latvia’s submission to the International Oscars this year.
Written and directed by Viestur Kairish, the film follows the talented Ansis as he negotiates a national dictatorship, the Soviets, and the Nazis in his pursuit of an art career and the free-spirited Jewish Sisla, while settling for sign painting and the Christian girl Naiga. Kairish’s last feature, Chronicles Of Melanie, was Latvia’s Oscar entry in 2016.
You can see the The Sign Painter‘s first trailer here:
Sales co EastWest Filmdistribution struck the North America deal. “Black Nights is an ideal launching pad for Baltic features during awards season,” said EastWest Filmdistribution CEO Sasha Wieser. “With Neil taking this story of Latvia’s tumultuous history to North American audiences, starting with the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival on Nov 19, we can’t think of a better kick-off for a global sales campaign.”
“The Sign Painter is a newly discovered gem. The film utilizes humor and irony to heighten its telling of historical fiction in a way that harkens back to the finest Buster Keaton comedies from the silent era,” added Menemsha Film’s Neil Friedman. “This is a remarkable film that works on a multitude of levels that are relatable to all of us irrespective of language. We have been lucky enough to have been involved with numerous films from Eastern Europe that became nominees for Best Foreign Language film and we only hope the same result for The Sign Painter if the film becomes Latvia’s entry in the Best International Film category. Fingers crossed.”