RIGA - It can seem, at times, as if the Baltics have become inundated with film festivals. New festivals 's some large and prestigious, some small and still groping for an audience 's crop up once every few months somewhere in the three countries.
But not all the festivals are just out to once again highlight the hottest new films to come out in the past year, or to promote local filmmaking.
Some of the film festivals have more specific, focused goals. The Riga tourism board is gearing up to launch its second "Tourfilm-Riga" festival, which will see tourism films from around the world splayed across the screen in Cinema Riga. The festival will also host a competition to determine the best promotional film in each of a number of different areas.
"Usually in the world, some festivals are meant more for professionals 's tourism operators, journalists, things like that," Sandra Inkena, one of the key organizers of the event, told The Baltic Times.
"It is a good marketing tool," she said.
According to the guidelines for the films, which are posted on the Riga city tourism Web site, the target audience for the movies are "specialists of tourism area to obtain the experience, introducing tourism films and clips, their development tendencies" or "interested persons and tourists [who want] to obtain visual information on potential tourism destinations in Latvia and abroad."
Inkena said that the purpose of the festival was to increase Riga's profile among tourism professionals and to "show that it is an attractive tourism destination." Last year's Tourfilm-Riga festival was a "pilot project" that was so successful in this aim that the city decided to make it a regular event.
The films themselves will largely be promotional videos of other cities and regions, most of which lie in continental Europe.
The guidelines state that the movies "must present the determined city, region or state as a tourism destination." Additionally, the films must be relatively new 's no older than four years 's and relatively short, running no more than 60 minutes.
This year, a total of 47 films have been submitted to the competition. The films will hail from 17 different countries, including Latvia, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Azerbaijan, Hungary, France, Malta, Russia, Montenegro, Moldova, Italy, Serbia and the U.S.A.
Six of the films will be about Latvia.
The films will compete for one of five different awards. The prizes up for grabs are for the areas of cultural tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, religious tourism, and gastronomy tourism.
Last year's winners included "Copenhagen/ Oresund: one destination - two countries" (Anders Garde Kongshaug); "Holidays in Riga" (Televizijas un Video parks); "Austrian Kickoff" (Georg Riha, Brains & Pictures, RIHA-FWG); and "Biotopes of Baltic Sea Kurland seacoast" (Kaspars Goba, Studio of Juris Podnieks).
The festival is being held in conjunction with the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals, known as CIFFT.
On April 25 at Cinema Riga, the films will be shown to the general public free of charge. The films will begin playing at 2 p.m.
"For the screenings the oldest and most splendid cinema "Riga" has offered the big hall with 500 places, thus the citizens of Riga and its guests are highly welcome to come and watch the films free of charge," Inkena said.