People Out There / Люди там (Latvia, 2012)

directed by Aik Karapetian, drama, 90 min, eng subtitles
written by Aik Karapetian
with Ilya Shcherbakov, Semyon Serzin, Mikhail Razumovsky, Eduard Murashov, Viktoria Kondratenko

Jan, a guy in his twenties, and his friend Cracker are involved in both petty and more serious crimes in their desolate high-rise suburb on the edge of Riga. After meeting the "golden youth" beauty Sabina, his mundane life gets thrown for a loop. He takes a liking to the lifestyle of the golden, pampered kids he meets, and he looks for a fresh start in downtown circles. The desire for love and a better life pulls him from his resignation and goads him to fight against the hopelessness of his situation. However, his hopes for love, compassion and opportunity are dashed by the even more ruthless rules of the bourgeois, and he comes to realize that the only one he can count on is himself.

Latvian director and screenwriter Aik Karapetian's raw debut drama contemplates the notion that environment determines a person's character. The filmmaker asks whether a person can break free of this environment and, if so, at what cost. Thanks to the dynamic editing and the use of hand-held camera, the filmmaker has succeeded in capturing the atmosphere of the "prefab jungle" where, in the end, there is no one to rely on but yourself.

Baltic Debuts International Film Festival 2012 (Best Director)