Latvian Beasts

Mārtiņš Grauds (born 1973 in Riga) is a Latvian filmmaker and photographer, known for his poetic visual language and witty, inventive approach to his subjects. He has directed five documentaries and two short films (Lust Lust – Grand Prix, ASVOFF, 2010). His latest documentaries explore the relationship between nature and creativity (Tree Opera, 2020; Forging Condors, 2018). A keen observer also of human nature, he has published several photo books, including the iconic Cemetery Festival – Coming Together (2016), devoted to this peculiar Latvian tradition. Well-known and resourceful director of commercials, he has directed more than 800 spots in his 20+ year career in the industry, and a number of music videos for artists such as Michelle Gurevich (Chinawoman), Brainstorm, Tribes of the City, and others, earning four Latvian Music Recordings Annual Awards for the Best Music Video. In 2020 he collaborated with the New Riga Theatre troupe and director Alvis Hermanis on 10-part limited series Agency as the director of photography and editor.

Linda Leimane (born 1989 in Dobele) is a Latvian composer, whose works tend to be physicality and bodily art related. She works with soloists, ensembles, orchestras, theatre directors and ballet choreographers, she creates and performs electronics, as well as produces and curates installations by collaborating with artists of other media. She has expanded her knowledge in composition and new music technologies at the National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Lyon, during her traineeship at the sound research centre AGON in Milan and various workshops. Her music has been performed in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the U.S. and Australia. Her electronic works have been presented on the SHAPE platform and Crack Magazine 2022.

Their collaborative work, including electro-acoustic music, video, animation and shadow thater, is based on the book “Latvian Animals” by writer Inese Zandere.

In the work “Latvian Beasts”, five fairy tales for children written by the contemporary Latvian writer Inese Zandere are told in an audio and visual way. In the winter of 2022, the composer Linda Leimane accidentally discovered a very engaging children’s design book “Latvian Animals” in an empty apartment, the author of the idea of ​​which is the artist Mārtiņš Grauds. In the summer of 2022, on the textual and visual basis of the book, Linda Leimane and Mārtiņš Grauds create a new collaboration in the LYRA project, bringing the book to life for the children’s joy in both sonic rhythms and cinematic sound effects, as well as giving it the life of movement and shadow games. In 2009, near Madona, a unique book project was photographed in cooperation with a whole team – actors, costume designers, photographer and director. This summer, Linda Leimane and Mārtiņš Grauds meet deep in the forest by the Árona River to capture the sounds read in the book and create a joint work – a unique soundtrack for the audiovisual work in the LYRA concert for children.

The performance is acompanied by animated visuals directed by Mārtiņš Grauds and animated by Sabīne Moore. The project’s imagery is based on a photo shoot from 2009 (directed by Mārtiņš Grauds) that was made to illustrate the kids book book “Latviešu zvēri”. Both the music and visuals are inspired by the stories written by Inese Zandere in the book. The narrative is is refected in the animated photos, in combination with real-time projections and shadow play.

Sabīne Moore is an animator, illustrator, musician and performance artist. They studied at JRRMV, LMA VKN and UDK Berlin. Sabine’s artistic activity is mostly in the audiovisual sphere, which does not fall far from their many experiments in performance art, playing with characters (like Drag King Bill Lagoon), and experimental technologies – obtaining music from the impulses of living plants and mushrooms for their avant-pop music project Waterflower. Waterflower’s album ‘Balta Gaisma’ received two nominations for Zelta Mikrofons 2021, in the categories Best Album Design and Best Alternative or Experimental Music Album.

Sabīne is also known for their professional activities in videography and animation, working on the full-length animated films “Saule brauca debesīs” (2018, directed by Rose Stiebra), “My Love Affair With Marriage” (2022, directed by Signe Baumane), and as a comic book artist and illustrator (in Kuš! #13, #9, #8, #7 and Š! #13, and #43, and for a kids book titled “Topsy Turvy Tasks” (part of the Bikibuks series), which was also translated published abroad.

LYRA receives grants in the amount of EUR 206,256.00 within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

Total LYRA eligible costs: EUR 202,510.00, European Economic Area financial instrument programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Culture Cooperation support sum: 85% or EUR 85,000.00, of which:
European Economic Area financial instrument co-financing: 85% or EUR 175,317.60;
State Budget co-financing: 15% or EUR 30,938.40.