The series “Soviet Jeans” is a tragicomic story about free thinkers and conformists, about relationships and choices, about borders and the opening of the world. And about the pants that changed the world! The directors of the series, Stanislavs Tokalovs and Juris Kursietis, take the viewer to the end of the seventies – a time when fierce propaganda against Western culture was spread throughout the USSR – an illegal and successful underground jeans factory operates in a psychiatric hospital in Latvia.
Renard (Karlis Arnolds Avots) loves rock and roll and deals in contraband to earn a little money. Then he meets the love of his life, Tina (Aama Milonoff). A conflict with the KGB lands Renard in a psychiatric hospital, where he starts an underground business producing Western jeans. The director of the hospital makes a good profit from it and promises Renard freedom in return. Jeans become popular among Latvian youth, and Renārs becomes an anonymous underground legend who is wanted all over the country by the KGB. The conflict between Renard and the KGB agent (Igor Shelegovskis) goes beyond jeans and criminal cases – it becomes a clash of life philosophies and ideologies. Step by step, Renard becomes a real rebel, jeans are no longer a tool for freedom, but a form of protest and a higher goal.
The TV series “Soviet Jeans” is based on three true stories, developed in eight episodes by three screenwriters – Stanislavs Tokalovs, Teodora Markova and Waldemar Kalinowskis. “The first story is about psychiatric hospitals in the Soviet Union where patients were used to produce illegal goods to be sold on the ‘black market’. The second is about a young man in the Baltics, which unfortunately ended in tragedy in real life, and the third is about a fisherman who secretly built a boat to escape to Sweden,” reveals Stanislavs Tokalovs, the film’s director and screenwriter.
The events of the film take place in 1979. “It is the time before the awakening. The eighties are already associated with the idea of freedom, but the seventies were still a time of stagnation, and only the bravest began to think about standing against the authoritarian state. I think one of the most important messages of “Soviet Jeans” is the human desire for freedom. This creates cracks in any authoritarian regime. It is impossible to keep a person in a cage all his life. Of course, we see it happening right here in the neighboring country, but we cannot lose hope that there will be a revival there as well. The driving force of a wise man is knowledge of the world, and this will be the biggest stumbling block for any dictator. Sooner or later. For young viewers, watching this multi-episode movie might even be more interesting than witnessing history, because they will see how their parents lived when they were young. The story itself and the way it is told is also youthful. A story about interesting, brave and daring people. It’s always interesting to watch them,” says the director of the series, Juris Kursietis.
Stanislav Tokalov adds: “This is the story of a young man who, growing older, realizes that freedom is possible. This story has no deadline, it is as important now as it was in 1979.”
The series has won 12 nominations for the “Lielais Kristaps” national film award and was selected in the Berlin International Film Festival program “Berlin Series Market Selection 2024”, which offers an exclusive preview of series from all over the world.
Starring Kārlis Arnolds Avots, Aamu Milonoff and Igors Šelegovskis.
Cast: Andris Keišs, Gints Grāvelis, Dainis Gaidelis, Ivars Krasts, Gundars Āboliņš, Yevgēnijs Isajevs, Jānis Jarāns, Nikolajs Šestaks, Valentīns Novopoļskisj, Gatis Gāga, Indra Briķe, Juris Bartkēvičs, Matīss Ozols, Jānis Skutelis, Yuris Djakonovs, Baiba Broka, etc.
The author of the series idea, Stanislavs Tokalovs; script authors Stanislavs Tokalovs, Teodora Markova, Valdemars Kalinowskis (Waldemar Kalinowski); directors Stanislavs Tokalovs, Juris Kursietis; operator Valdis Celmins; artists Laura Dishler and Zanda Landrāte-Bedrīte; costume designer Liene Bite; makeup artist Maija Gundar; composer Kārlis Auzāns; sound director Ernests Ansons and editing director Oskars Moroz. Producer Aija Bērziņa, “Tasse Film” studio.
The series “Soviet Jeans” was created with the support of the European Regional Development Fund and the National Cinema Center. The series is co-financed by Go3 and TV3. The general sponsor of the series is the store chain DEPO. International distributor: Beta Film.
The studio “Tasse Film” was founded in 2011 and is currently managed by the experienced producer Aija Bērziņa. “Tasse Film” is engaged in the production of high-quality art films in cooperation with experienced directors, as well as in the search for new talents and their promotion in the international film market. The studio has produced the films “I’m here” (dir. Renārs Vimba, 2016), “With foam on my lips” (dir. Jānis Nords, 2017), “Paradise 89” (dir. Madara Dišler, 2018), “Olegs” (dir. Juris Kursietis, 2019), “Mīlulis” (dir. Stanislavs Tokalovs, 2022) and “My Freedom” (dir. Ilze Kunga-Melgaile, 2023).