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THE NORTHERN STAR

Work in progress


It is the middle of the 18th century, and free sharing of knowledge is not generally accepted. Nikolaus von Himsel, a young inquisitive idealist from Riga, sets out on a Grand Tour, a journey whose destination is in the cradle of Western civilisation, Italy. He is set apart from other young traveling gentlemen by a noble goal – to assemble a collection for the first public museum in the Baltics. Himsel encounters his peer, a spoilt and wealthy Prussian, Lawrence von Mill, and they continue the journey together. Lawrence is also assembling a collection. His aim is to present it to Charles VII of Naples. Lawrence questions Himsel's intention to gather exhibits for a public museum, as ordinary people are only interested in the extraction of money from the rich. The views of both are tested. They visit different Italian cities, take part in the important events of the time and meet notable individuals. Will Himsel succeed in assembling a collection and establishing a museum contrary to public opinions?

Using the means provided by animation, the film draws a rich representation of the events of the time. Without striving for historical accuracy, the story brings objects and works of art to life and reveals the enchantment experienced by an actual traveller during his Grand Tour.

Director: Kārlis Vītols / Animation Technique: 2D / Lenght: 72′
Financial Support: National film Centre of Latvia, State Culture Capital Foundation

 
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ABOUT

“Studija Kokles" is a family-based studio which believes in the power of the animated film language. We see the great potential of modern era, where, by using very limited resources, you can achieve a high artistic value with deep universal meaning.

Besides animated films studio also provides explainer animation, 2D cutout and flash animation for documentaries, feature films, commercials and other projects.

 

THE END

11:00 min

Technique: 2D Cutout
Latvia, 2019
Writer / Director / Art / Animation / Edit: Kārlis Vītols
Producer: Sniedze Kāle, Studija Kokles
Music: Kauli
Sound: Kauli

The crisis of a middle-aged man who finds himself trapped in his memories, trying to cope with the physical and mental feeling of the impending end. The End was made as the last part of a trilogy of non-narrative films, in which a Count experiences three different settings and moments from his life. 

 

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THE ANIMATION TRILOGY

Being a professional in two fields – as director and artist, Kārlis Vītols creates hybrid interdisciplinary forms and their most vivid result is the first trilogy in Latvian animation. In 2006 and 2010, he organised solo painting exhibitions Garden of Fetish and Eclipse, where the main message of the exhibition was revealed by a non-narrative short film of the same title. In late 2018, the concluding part of the trilogy, The End, was made – this time, without the accompanying paintings, directing full attention to the moving image projected on the wall. The film earned recognition in the art scene and the Latvian National Museum of Art added it to their collection, while its life in the field of film began in late 2019, when it premiered in the international competition programme at the Riga International Film Festival. The film currently continues its tour of festivals.

 

ECLIPSE

10 min
Technique: 2D 
Latvia, 2010  
Writer/Director/Art/Animation/Edit: Karlis Vitols

Producer: Karlis Vitols, Viesturs Graždanovičs

Music & Sound: Totem 

A transcendental ritual takes place in nature during a solar eclipse. Two worlds collide, and a sacred gate is opened for a male to reach a female.The film participated in the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France (2010).

 
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STATES OF DECONSTRUCTION

Ieva Viese, film critic, animation researcher on the trilogy

Kārlis Vītols has been investigating the interaction of two rather distinct media, painting and animation. Three of his short animation films were created to be viewed specifically in the setting of an exhibition and constitute a trilogy that explores turbulent states of existence. The rhythm of the films is characterized by the tension between the stillness of the painted components and the dynamics of the drawn movement.
In Vītols' work there are mythical creatures that act with seemingly timeless determination and kitschy signs of pop culture. In a play of signifieds and signifiers, the naked body can be a superficial promise of youth, while the heavy eyelids of a mask represent unmasked vulnerability. Meaning is only achieved in states of transgression, when a previously established order is questioned and deconstructed. These are the states of identity crisis or an encounter with something or someone that is perceived as an other.

 

THE GARDEN OF FETISH

10 min
Technique: 2D 
Latvia, 2006  
Writer/Director/Art/Animation/Edit: Karlis Vitols
Producer: Karlis Vitols
Music & Sound: Totem 

It analyses the abstract components that make up a work of art as well as the fetishes cultivated by the artist while creating it. The film participated in the Oberhousen Short Film Festival in Germany (2007).