Family Feature Film BILLE

The troubled yet fanciful childhood of a Nobel Prize nominee

Deeply hurt by her bitter mother and other grownups, Bille and her friends set out on a pilgrimage to a fantasy land where houses are made of gingerbread and candies fly in the sky like dragonflies. But nothing goes according to their plan in the complicated adult world.

Seven-year-old Bille lives in a world where the rich and poor walk separate streets. She has learned to put up with poverty but not with the constant lack of her mother’s love.

The development path of Bille’s personality runs through unfulfilled dreams and disappointments. But eventually she finds her way and proves that dreams may come true. This poignant yet inspiring family drama set in the sweet yet turbulent 1930s brings the excitement of childhood and visions of a child to the big screen.

The Story

Feature film “BILLE” is a family film based on the autobiographical novel "Bille" by the internationally recognized Latvian writer Vizma Belševica (1931-2005) about her colorful childhood memories in late 1930s, the romantic era of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

As a small kid from a working-class family, Bille is confronted by the weird and ruthless adult world and tries to find an escape in her vivid imagination. She explores the world through Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” and Shirley Temple movies, gets into adventures in the city and looks for the fantasy land Cockaigne she’s heard about as a little child and still believes in. “BILLE” addresses the relevant issue of the complicated children-parent relationships and the need of children to escape the harsh reality. Despite being unappreciated by her family, Bille learns to believe in herself eventually proving her value and fulfilling her dreams.

Times have changed but neither the time nor place has affected family relationships and children are ever looking for appreciation and understanding from their parents. And when the adult world gets too cruel they will look for ways to get away, whether it’s a journey to Cockaigne or video games.  

Award-winning and Experienced Team

Film studio “DEVINI”
is an internationally known and respected production company with a filmography of over 20 successful titles. Previous production of director Ināra Kolmane, documentary “Ruch and Norie” (Latvia in cooperation with Japan), captured hearts of audiences all over the world and became a box office hit winning the Best Film of 2015 and 3 other awards at the Latvian National Film Festival. “BILLE” is her second feature. Studio’s first feature “MONA” (Latvia-Iceland, 2012) was distributed worldwide and appreciated by many viewers in USA, China, South Korea and Europe. 

The main asset of the film is the strong group of child actors
that were thoroughly selected by an experienced casting agency. Bille is the first screen appearance of little Rūta Kronberga but she has already received a lot of compliments on her nuanced acting. The outstanding and dynamic performance of child actors combined with the excellent Director’s work renders a stellar outcome. 
With the nostalgia for early 20th century in television productions at the moment, “BILLE” is going to be especially attractive to children and adults everywhere. We are absolutely positive that it will attract wide audiences. The premiere is planned in 2018, which coincides with the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Latvia. Therefore, “BILLE” is a project of national importance which has been supported by the grant program of National Film Centre of Latvia "Latvian Films for Latvia's Centennial” and anticipated eagerly. Furthermore, the latest development in partnership building suggests that the feature is going to have a strong international appeal. Lithuanian film production company “Studija 2” and Czech production studio “MasterFilm” have appreciated the strong potential of “BILLE” and have committed as co-producers.

Story by Award Winning Author and Nobel Prize Candidate

Among the numerous authors whose works writer Vizma Belševica has translated is Ernest Hemingway who wrote that an unhappy childhood creates a successful writer. Indeed – little Bille grew up and became an internationally recognized and esteemed writer. Being the only Latvian ever considered for the Nobel Prize, Belševica was the candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature five times. She has won numerous prestigious awards, including Swedish writer’s Tomas Tranströmer Award in Poetry, Einar Forseth Foundation Award (Sweden), and the Annual Literature Award of Latvia. Novel “Bille” is the first book of the trilogy “BILLE” (“Bille”, “Bille Lives On” and “Bille’s Beautiful Youth”). The novel had a strong influence on how children-parent relations were portrayed in 1990s literature breaking the cannon of idyllic family life in 1930s childhood memories. Trilogy “Bille” gained great popularity in Sweden and quickly became a bestseller in Latvia. The first edition of “Bille” was published by the publishing house “Mežābele” in Ithaca, NY, USA. A new edition and English version will accompany premiere of the film in 2018.

Use of Funds

One of the most difficult parts in making this film is the age of the leading cast
– it is vital to film quickly since kids are growing and changing fast. We wouldn’t want to lose time and miss capturing the look of the small actress playing Bille. Also, seasons come and go quickly and it is always tricky to reconstruct a historical period in film. The majority of the material has been obtained last summer but we're still missing few episodes with and without Bille we intend to film soon. We also need funds for filming background shots for computer design and visual effects (VFX). The film is going to have vibrant and impressive visual effects so we want to ensure the best quality of the footage we capture. In order to complete the production and start the post-production stage this year, we would need the funds as soon as possible. Your contributions will be used to cover the production costs (equipment rental, wages, transportation, etc.). You may give any amount you can afford, there is no minimum. It is also possible to send us a direct donation (please contact the studio [email redacted]).

“BILLE” is a grand and significant project that needs your help – as little or great it may be.

Please help little Bille reach the screens and get this film finished. Donate and spread the word!

More information:

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A "special thanks" just for you in our Facebook page and credits of the film


A DVD of the box-office hit documentary “Ruch and Norie” or another film studio “DEVINI” film


A DVD of the completed film, your name in the credits and a certificate confirming the gratitude of film studio “DEVINI” for a valuable support to the post-production of the international feature film “BILLE”.  


A DVD of “BILLE”, your name in the credits and two tickets to the premiere of the film, where you will be amongst the guests of honor PLUS a certificate confirming your contribution to an important audiovisual artwork in a rare category – historical family film.


All the aforementioned perks and the status of the honorary member of BILLE Club which provides members with invites to local film festivals and screenings where the movie is going to be showcased, and access to an online page with updates, making-of videos and excerpts of the film. As BILLE CLUB Member you will also receive a special certificate confirming your membership in the club and your participation in production of feature “BILLE” with a highly valuable investment.

Thank you for your support!

Marta Mannenbach, Executive Producer
Film Studio DEVINI
  • L A 
    • $10 
    • 49 mos
  • Dzintars Jaunzems 
    • $5 
    • 49 mos
  • Agrita Krievina 
    • $100 
    • 50 mos
  • Dace Zvīdriņa 
    • $24 
    • 50 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 50 mos
See all


Martha Mannenbach 
San Francisco, CA