33 Animals of Santa Claus

33 Zvēri ziemassvētku vecītim
Director: Laila Pakalniņa

Latvia, Documentary, 2011, 50 min, latvian with english and lithuanian subtitles
Santa Claus lives on the 4th floor of a building somewhere in Latvia – and is called Livia. She owns 7 dogs, 6 cats, 2 rabbits, 1 crow, 1 pigeon, 1 chinchilla, 1 guinea pig, 10 degus and some fish. Some people might call Livia strange, but she is simply a good-hearted person. She and her colourful flat stand out and fascinate in the midst of a grey and dreary working class neighbourhood, but her eccentricity also causes fear. The Latvian director Laila Pakalniņa chooses an unconventional approach to her protagonist by hardly revealing any personal information about her or her psychological biography. Is it really her love for animals that makes Livia grant asylum to so many of them? Or is there a dark secret no one dares to imagine?
2011 – Best Film Award of the Tridens Baltic Feature Film Competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Estonia).
About the director:
Laila Pakalniņa was born in 1962 in Liepāja, Latvia. In 1986 she graduated from the Moscow University, Department of TV Journalism and continued her studies in the Department of Film Direction at the State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow (Russia), graduating in 1991. Laila Pakalniņa is director and scriptwriter of award-winning documentaries (“Three Men and a Fish Pond” (Par dzimteniti, 2008), “Snow Crazy” (Sniegs, 2012), shorts (“Anna’s Christmas” (Anna Ziemassvetki, 1992), “Water” (Udens, 2006) and feature films (“The Shoe” (Kurpe, 1998), “The Python” (Pitons, 2003) and “The Hostage” (Kilnieks, 2006).
Section: Identity

Screenplay: Laila Pakalniņa

Dir. of Photography: Uldis Jancis