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Matīss Kaža

Matiss Kaza.jpg

I'm a director, producer and writer, and the founder of Trickster Pictures.

I was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1995, but grew up mostly in Riga, Latvia. I'm a Latvian/American/Swedish triple citizen. I know it sounds like I'm some MI6 agent.

I hold a BFA in Film & Television from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and have been a Directing Fellow at AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. In 2021, I graduated from the MA program in Audiovisual and Performative Arts at the Latvian Academy of Culture.


I directed my first feature-length documentary ONE TICKET PLEASE (2017) about New York's (in-)famous theatre addict and hustler Nicki Cochrane during my sophomore year of college, and it got featured in Goteborg IFF, Krakow IFF, Beldocs among other prestigious film festivals, winning the NewDoc Award for Best Debut at Tempo Documentary Festival in Stockholm, as well as several other noteworthy awards at festivals around the world. 

After graduating, I returned to Europe to work as a producer and director on several short films and documentaries, including MEYERHOLD'S FLIGHT (2018) and THE WANDERERS (2020). During the Covid-19 pandemic, I directed an experimental feature-length single-take comedy AT THE MOVIES (2020), which blends theatre and cinema and was shot entirely in one take. Thereafter I released the first Baltic western WILD EAST (2021). My latest works as a director are THE TASTE OF WATER (2021), a single-take satire taking on the post-truth era, which premiered internationally at Tallinn Black Nights, as well as NEON SPRING (2022), a techno-infused youth drama that had its premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival and has traveled festivals around the world. It was also acquired by Magnolia Pictures International. In 2022, I produced Linda Olte's sensitive debut SISTERS (2022), which won two awards at the Warsaw Film Festival. My documentary co-production IMAD'S CHILDHOOD (2021) by Zahavi Sanjavi won the Tempo Documentary Award 2021 in Stockholm. 

​I'm also directing for the theatre, with SOFT POWER (2023) as my directorial debut at the Latvian National Theatre.


In 2024, I premiered my first animated film as a producer and writer, FLOW (2024) by Gints Zilbalodis. It was the first Latvian film in 26 years to premiere in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival.

When I'm not directing, producing or writing for the screen, I'm exploring new forms of devised theatre, and curating lecture programs in cinema for schools. I have also taught screenwriting, new media and directing in the bachelor's program at the Latvian Academy of Culture.

I'm interested in provocative, intellectually engaging and artistically brave performative art, but I also love work that doesn't take itself too seriously, that deconstructs and reconstructs the way we experience and enjoy the artistic experience. 


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