Starring Vike-Freiberga

  • 2004-03-18
Latvia's first female president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is the subject of a new documentary that was broadcast on Canadian television earlier this month.

"Madame President: A Documentary About Power" follows the dramatic start to her political career and takes a look at her academic background.
Though Vike-Freiberga was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1937, she spent much of her life abroad after fleeing the country with her family in 1944. As a teenager, she moved to Canada where she continued her education, later becoming a professor of psychology. The new documentary asks how she made the transition from the white tower to the president's palace and examines the challenges she faced in between. Vike-Freiberga's story is no fairy tale, it suggests. The current president of Latvia had the necessary know-how to handle power.
"Imagine if you could find out what happened to Cinderella after the ball," says Mark Wright, producer and director of "Madame President." "Sure, she married the prince, but palace politics would have eaten her alive."
There is much that makes Vike-Freiberga's leadership unique, according to the documentary that studies how her personality has shaped her political path.
"Feiberga's political style is unusual, to say the least. She's been called everything from an iron lady to a white witch. Aside from the Thatcher comparisons, she [is] most often likened to Pierre Trudeau because of her razor sharp intellect," a press release for the documentary reads.
"Anyone who is interested in getting a profound glimpse into power and politics should watch this documentary," says Harry Sutherland who also produced the program.
"Madame President" was a joint production with CBC Newsworld and Prisma Light West, a Canadian production company, and aired on March 8, 2004.
According to Wright, the makers of the documentary hope to sell it to several European broadcasters, including LTV.