Oscars: Latvia Nominates 'Rocks in My Pockets' in Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Karlovy Vary Film Festival
'Rocks in My Pockets'

Signe Baumane's animated film delves into a family's history of depression

Latvia has nominated Signe Baumane's Rocks in My Pockets in the best foreign-language category at the Oscars.

The animated film delves into the depression that has haunted three generations of a New York-based Latvian filmmaker's family, including the director herself.

Released earlier this month in the U.S. through Zeitgeist Films, Baumane's journey into the psyche of a family shaped by the traumatic events of the 20th century, where her tiny Baltic state was frequently invaded and occupied by foreign armies, uses the tagline: "A crazy quest for sanity."

The first-ever animated film to play in competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival earlier this summer, where it picked up an international critics' FIPRESCI prize, the film won over the Latvian Oscar committee, which lauded its "international language, intimate story, and the director's courage to look at serious personal issues."

Baumane uses real papier-mache props and sets alongside 2D animation to draw out the stories of five women in her family, including herself, who overcome obstacles of life and depression against the backdrop of the history and politics of the tiny country with a current population of 2 million.

International sales are being handled by Warsaw's New Europe Film Sales.

Baumane's film reflects current interest in Baltic countries and the impact of history on contemporary issues. Neighboring Estonia's Oscar entry, announced earlier this month, is the first-ever Estonia-Georgia co-production; Tangerines focuses on ethnic Estonians caught up in the 1990s civil war in Georgian breakaway territory Abkhazia. It has picked up 11 awards at international festivals, including best director for Zaza Urushadze last year in Warsaw.