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Latvian film director Olafs Okonovs has passed away

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Last December, the life of the film director Olaf Okonov (13.04.1973 – 07.12.2020) changed, and the representatives of the director confirmed the portal “Delfi”.

He was previously reported missing in Australia in early December. The family does not reveal the cause of death. We publish an obituary dedicated to Olaf Okonov.

From an early age, Olaf’s talent has brilliantly illuminated cultural life in a variety of ways – in cinema, video art, and music.

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Starting at school in the French Lyceum, Olaf became involved in film as a member of the film club, worked on the school’s radio station and organized extraordinary discos, introducing his contemporaries to unusual music – “Yello”, Brian Io, Jean Michel Jean-Claude, as well as classical music.

Many years later, Olaf produced one of the most beautiful albums of traditional music of this century – “Silver” by kokleta Laima Jansone.

With this music, Laima became the first Latvian representative at the International Music Fair “Womex” (2011), while the recording was included in the selection of “Womex” best soundtracks of the year.

Immediately after graduating from school, Olaf became the personality of Radio as the host of the program “Microphone” and news programs. Often, the “Morning News” directed by him completely unexpectedly supplemented business information with his own, amazingly poetic lines of poetry.

During the rebirth of the Republic of Latvia in the 1990s, Olaf expanded the ranks of Latvian Television employees as an editor of entertaining programs, producing and directing the popular programs “Mikrofons” and “Futūršoks”, as well as creating music videos for the most popular stage artists of that time.

Already in the 90’s, Olaf’s talent was clearly reflected in his debut video work “Circles” (1992), which won a Grand Prix at the French Baltic Festival (1993).

The visual eye of Olaf’s camera has been focused on outstanding Latvian artists at various stages of his life. The poetic documentary film “Workshop in the Countryside” (2002), which captures the everyday life of Inta Celmiņa and Eduards Grūbe artists, won both the “Big Kristaps” Prize (2002) and the prize at the Bergamo International Film Festival in Italy (2004). Later, films were made about Tatjana Suta, Boris Bērziņš, Džemma Skulmi.

In the film “Territory. Vija Celmiņš” (2014), Olafs for the first time revealed a close-up of a world-famous Latvian artist in an extremely poetic and deeply personal way. In addition to documentaries, which were the main expression of Olaf in cinema,

Okonovs implemented various broadcast projects both in the producers’ association “Hansa Media” and in Juris Podnieks Studio. Robert Rubin, one of the colleagues of “Everything Happens”, a close friend, says: “Olaf was an innovator in editing and directing techniques.

He was an example to me for a long time,” drawing parallels with Olaf’s creative expression and Hardy Ledin’s work and influence in the cultural environment.

Olaf was an extremely extraordinary personality, always tempted by everything unusual. He had a special sense of beauty that he knew how to relate to science and philosophy. Risk, courage, daring to be different was a sign of his personality.

He was very attracted to travel to exotic cultures and places. For the past year, he has been living in Australia with his family.

His way of life also broke out in this distant land. One of the latest entries in Olaf’s Facebook account reveals his interest in the Voyager 2 spacecraft’s journey outside our solar system, which brings new scientific discoveries.

Olaf was also always on the way, exploring this world and creating beauty with relentless interest.

Now it is continued by children – film director and cinematographer Aleksandrs, Jēkabs, who, like his father, studies journalism, and the youngest – Anna and Vilis, for which all choices are yet to come. May the easy path, dear Olaf, go to eternal light!

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