held on May 3 - 9, 1997 in Jurmala, Latvia
European Documentary Film Symposiums Riga, 1999

From the 1977 Latvia developed as a unique centre of the theory of the documentary film. From that time on the international documentary film symposiums dedicated to the actual creative problems and tendencies of this genre of art took place every two years in Jurmala.
From the onset the representatives of the states of the Eastern block - Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, USSR, Hungary, DDR - took part in them. Later, in 1989, the filmmakers from Western Germany, Finland, Switzerland joined it. The symposiums became a meeting place to exchange opinions and experiences between East and West.
The theoretical conclusions and insights of the symposiums were reflected in the professional editions of the participating countries, but in 1990 a volume of selected stenographic materials Documentary Film. Past. Today. Future, have been published in English and Russian.
The same year owing to the high reputation of the Jurmala symposiums a meeting of the American and Soviet documentary filmmakers was carried out on its basis (approx. 80 participants). It was the first outdoors session in the history of Robert Flaherty Seminar.
From the year 1991, taking account of the new geopolitical situation in Europe, the other Baltic sea countries - Denmark, Norway, Germany, Sweden became involved in the work of the symposium.

The International Documentary Film Symposium held on May 3 - 9, 1997 in Jurmala, was organized by
European Documentary Film Symposiums Riga
Haus des Dokumentarfilms Stuttgart
Soros Foundation Latvia.

It was supported by
Robert Bosh Foundation
Soros Foundation
Goethe-Institut Riga
Nordic Information Office
Latvian National Film Centre
Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Other institutions and companies.

The Symposium has gathered 56 participants and guests from 16 countries. There were screened 49 documentaries from 15 countries.
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