- Arnolds Burovs
- Bimini (dir. Arnolds Burovs, 1981)
- Creative team (Pēteris Trups, Jānis Cimermanis, Igors Jakovļevs, Renāte Martini, Dace Rožlapa, Ilze Kiršteina) with Arnolds Burovs at a celebration for Arvīds Noriņš
- Directors Ansis Bērziņš and Roze Stiebra
- From the series Fantadrome (“Fantadroms”, dir. Ansis Bērziņš, 1984-85)
- In My Pocket („Kabata”, dir. Roze Stiebra, 1983)
- Hunting (“Medības”, dir. Jānis Cimermanis, 2007)
- Let’s Fly?! (“Lidojam?!”, dir. Nils Skapāns, 1994) from the Munk and Lemmy (“Munks un Lemijs”) series
- Woman (“Sieviete”, dir. Signe Baumane, 2002)
- Insomnia (“Bezmiegs”, dir. Vladimir Leschiov, 2004)
Arnolds Burovs gathered around him other puppet enthusiasts – former Puppet Theatre production manager Valentīns Jākobsons, puppet master Arvīds Noriņš, and sculptress Anna Nollendorfa – in a creative group that was later joined by cinematographer Pēteris Trups. Burovs also successfully collaborated with others, such as screenwriter Jānis Rokpelnis and artist Gedimins Kotello.
Accomplished aesthetic form was characteristic to Burovs’ films - artistic composition, a slow tempo and beautiful scenery – which allowed for a chance to dwell in the animated “reality” governed by the artist’s sense of the possible and impossible.
Burovs made 40 films (1966 – 1990).
ROZE STIEBRA AND ANSIS BĒRZIŅŠ
The tandem of Roze Stiebra and Ansis Bērziņš gave rise to the professional appliqué and drawn animation tradition in Latvia. For both, close ties with Latvian cultural traditions and folklore imagery is an essential element in their work; animation is their search for a language for the imagery that would belong in a cultural context familiar to the audience, while also allowing them to create using a unique form of expression.
Roze Stiebra’s animation is characteristically musical and lyrically poetic – the appliqué films The Golden Sieve (“Zelta sietiņš”, 1975) and The Little Hares’ Bath (“Zaķīšu pirtiņa”, 1979), drawn films In My Pocket (“Kabata”, 1983), My Dear Little Sister (“Man vienai māsiņai”, 1984), I Played, I Danced (“Spēlēju, dancoju”, 2007), and the Little Fairy Tales (“Pasaciņas”) series (1994–2003). Ansis Bērziņš covers more dramatic and emotionally heavier themes – as in the films The Curse (“Lāsts”, 1979), Seasons (“Abi gali balti, viducis zaļš”, 1977) Fantadrome (1984), Tortoises (“Bruņurupuči”, 1987) and The Trumpeter of Tālava (“Tālavas taurētājs”, 1988).
The team of Stiebra and Bērziņš created the first animation series (1974-76) centred on artist Daina Lapiņa’s Dilly Dally – a happy-go-lucky boy fighting the grotesque Perpendicular, a stiff and cowing creature made of drawers, rendering lifeless any happy object placed inside. Dauka Studio also produced Latvia’s first feature-length animation, Ness and Nessy (“Ness un Nesija”, dir. Roze Stiebra, Ansis Bērziņš, 1991).
JĀNIS CIMERMANIS AND MĀRIS PUTNIŅŠ
Jānis Cimermanis gained experience working at the Puppet Theatre as a puppet master, operating Arnolds Burovs’ puppets, but soon began making his own animation. His debut was The Forester’s Grandson (“Mežsarga mazdēls un...”, 1985). While working on his next films he met screenwriter Māris Putniņš, and together they created the next chapter in the history of the Animation Brigade Studio. Their first large collaboration was the series Rescue Team (“Avārijas Brigāde”, first episode came out in 1991), featuring an active, uncontrolled release of energy and playfully absurd logic; Cimermanis himself is the prototype for the Poteriks character.
Nils Skapāns’ bond with animation began as a cinematographer on drawn animation films at Dauka Studio, but he soon became co-writer and director on several of the Munk and Lemmy (“Munks un Lemijs”) series films at Animation Brigade Studio. Moreover, one of them, Let’s Fly?! (“Lidojam?!”, 1994), received the Crystal Bear, the main prize in the Generation programme at the Berlinale Film Festival. Nils Skapāns continued to look for new forms of expression, and created the film Spring (“Pavasaris”, 2001) – his first work in plasticine, which becomes his medium of choice.
Signe Baumane began working in animation as an animator at Dauka Studio, the home of her first films as director: The Witch and the Cow (“Ragana un govs”, 1991), Tiny Shoes (“Kurpes”, 1993) and The Gold of the Tigers (“Tīģeru zelts”, 1995). Signe Baumane is also the artist of her films. She often touches on myths, stories, fables, poems and other recognizable forms of relaying, while at the same time creating specific connections – for example, using animal figures to reveal human tendencies, and illustrating subjective feelings with direct, hyperbolized imagery.
Vladimir Leschiov went his own way, with only formal and periodic contact with film studios, developing an individual style now very much in demand internationally. His first films, The Letter (“Vēstule”, 2002) and Grandad’s Honey (“Vectēva medus”, 2002), created as projects at the Konstfack, University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden, garnered international recognition, and Leschiov’s subsequent films have received an even greater response. Each of his films is created using a different technique – graphite pencil, oil paints, pencil crayons, watercolour; the medium is chosen according to the film’s theme and scene tonality.