Juris Podnieks (1950 – 1992)
Cinematographer, director and producer born 5.12.1950 in Riga. His father, the well-known narrator Boriss Podnieks, takes JP to the Riga Film Studio where he starts out as an assisatnt camera operator in 1967. In 1972, JP gets his first independant assignment as a cinematographer - a commission film The Protected Flora of Latvia SSR (dir. Vadims Mass). In 1975, JP graduates from the VGIK and finds himself in a cinematographer's baptism of fire when director Herz Frank sends him and Sergejs Nikolajevs alone to film in a borstal, to gather material for the nascent film Forbidden Zone (1975). In 1978, JP invents technical solutions for filming the world-famous Herz Frank's film Ten Minutes Older, then he     
makes an outstanding portrait of the actress Vija Artmane in Rolands Kalniņš' documentary film Conversation with the Queen (1980) and keeps on working as a cineatographer at other directors' films until 1990.
In 1977, JP makes his debut as a film director with a newsreel Padomju Latvija/Soviet Latvia (3/1977, The Cradle). His first documentary film - Brothers Kokari (1978) - is soon followed by On Your Horses, Lads! (1979), White "Ave Sol" (1979, LTV), Under the Sign of Sagittarius (1982), Commander (1984), The Stone of Sisyphus (1985) and Is It Easy to Be Young? (1986), which was, within a year, viewed by 28 million people and later screened in over 80 countries. Juris Podnieks gains world recognition and Brittish producers' invitation to make a documentary film about the USSR. The work started in 1987 and made 5 full-length films, known under the common title We/Soviets (1989). The film was followed by Post Scriptum (1991, dedicated to Andris Slapiņš and Gvido Zvaigzne, victims of the Barricades), End of the Empire (1991), Moments of Silence (1992).
In 23.06.1992 Juris Podnieks drawns in the Zvirgzdi lake. In 1990, his studio is taken over by Juris Podnieks' editor, later producer and director Antra Cilinska.