A colorless and oppressive space at firt sight...
“I grew up in the Latvian community in Toronto. I started travelling to Riga Latvia in the mid 80s. Latvia was still a part of the Soviet Union. For a teenager from Canada, Soviet Latvia seemed like a colorless and oppressive space–overbearing social realist architecture, political propaganda etc. But at the same time, 1980s Riga was one of the most creative places I have ever experienced. The city seemed to be filled with art, writers and music that just wanted to do something new.”
“At the forefront of all of this was the band Perkons. I’ve always wanted to tell their story, but never knew how. When I started experimenting with virtual reality a few years ago, I knew that this was the medium through which I could tell their story. Through VR I could create the juxtaposition of social realism spaces and the brave new art of 1980s Latvia.”
Finding the narrative
“The writing of the script was a collaboration between Jeff Kling, Zack Carlstrom and myself. We spent more time storyboarding than writing the script. Perkons’ story is extremely rich in detail and it’s easy to lose the narrative thread in those details. One the biggest challenges for use was honing the story down to the story we wanted to tell about the band. Once we had that down, writing the script came fairly quickly.”
“We were about half way through finishing the film, when something unexpected happened: Trump was elected President. US society was rapidly transforming and starting to resemble the world of our story in eerie ways. A few months after the election we realized that we weren’t making a documentary about the past, we were making one about the present. We then decided to rework the script.”