• Photo from the Riga Film Museum exhibition The Forbidden Time of Rolands Kalniņš (“Rolanda Kalniņa aizliegtais laiks”), 2007

Lenin’s saying, “Cinema, for us, is the most important of the arts” adorned the interiors of any institution connected to film during the Soviet era. The importance of cinema was manifested by its centralization: all processes associated with film production, especially of the so-called art films (now known as features) were controlled by the centre, Moscow, because that’s where financing came from. The system was judicially approved in November 1940, with the Latvian SSR Commissaries Council resolution – “Regulation of Film Production in the Latvian SSR” - which stipulated that Latvian feature film production was transferred to the control of the USSR State Committee for Cinematography. After the war, film production, distribution and exhibition was judicially placed under the double jurisdiction of the republic and Moscow. In November 1963, the Latvian SSR Supreme Council resolution regarding the establishment of a Council of Ministers Cinematographic Committee in Latvia, was approved. The resolution stated that the committee is an institution of the republic created to guide the development of cinema in the republic, and is under the jurisdiction of the Latvian SSR Council of Ministers and the USSR State Committee for Cinematography. It’s significant that the core filmmaking processes – shooting, done at the Riga Film Studio, distribution (rentals), and exhibition – were integrated into one system and were closely associated. Since 1957, a parallel operating system was the USSR TV and Radio Committee, which ordered films from the republics’ film studios and maintained the film production departments at the TV studios (in Latvia it was Telefilma-Rīga).