‘Summer’ shines at Latvian B.O.

Auds enjoy homegrown pic with local star

MOSCOW — Latvia’s first privately funded film has scored promising B.O. results as local auds in the Baltic country (population 2.5 million) flocking to see Aigars Grauba’s “Summer of Terror,” a drama portraying the events of the 1940 Soviet invasion through a love story.

Since pic’s opening at the end of February, total aud has reached some 75,000 with B.O. of 80,000 lats ($131,000). The $1 million film was produced by Platforma Films, a local production subsid of top commercial channel LNT and its director general Andris Ekis.

Path to payoff

Contributing to its success were the controversial nature of its subject (the pic shows how Latvians both resisted and collaborated with the invading Soviets) and a strong promotional drive. Interest in Grauba was also a factor — he’s a popular local rock star.

Though internationally the film’s results may not sound huge, they confirm that Latvian auds show a pronounced loyalty to home product –a rare exception in the ex-Soviet region.

In 1997, local helmer Janis Streics’ contemporary drama “The Mills of Fate” brought in an audience of over 100,000 — no mean feat given that “Titanic” scored 125,000 in territory.

But unlike “The Mills of Fate,” whose success was strictly local, “Summer of Terror” has already been acquired for distribution in neighboring Estonia and Lithuania, where it will run in the winter

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