Director Pakalnipa to finish films in 2007

Latvian helmer Laila Pakalnipa is planning to shoot a series of short pics titled “Earth,” “Wind” and “Fire,” but take off those platform shoes and flared pants. This is no 70s funkathon but a lyrical exploration of the elements.

Flowing on from her Berlinale competish short “Water,” Pakalnipa hopes to lense “Fire” later this year and complete the others in 2007. Each pic will feature the same character at different stages in her life.

“I had the idea to make a film about a swimming pool, but then Francois Ozon’s film came out and I decided to call my film ‘Water’ and make three more films about the elements,” says Pakalnipa, who isn’t worried that an exploration of the elements isn’t exactly a fresh theme in the arthouse world.

“It’s such a general subject, there are endless possibilities for interpretation. They give me the freedom to play and do whatever I like,” she said.

Pakalnipa considers herself unashamedly arthouse. She finances her films through public subsidies and firmly believes in the importance of making films beyond the bottom line. However, her next pic, “Hostage,” which is in post-production, sounds a lot more commercial than one would expect from her.

“It’s about a hijacked airplane that’s landed in Riga Airport and the drama that goes on inside and outside the plane,” said Pakalnipa. “The hijacker asks for a hostage and a 7-year-old boy volunteers. It’s about the interplay between viciousness and innocence.”

Pic features action sequences and is a lot faster than Pakalnipa’s previous films, which include “The Shoe” and “The Python.” “Yes, it’s funny I guess the premise sounds commercial, but actually I’m just playing with commercial elements.”

Pakalnipa says she relies on film festivals for her pics to reach an audience and intends to have “Hostage” ready for Cannes.

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