Since 1977 the International Documentary Film Symposiums have been held in Latvia every second year, gathering outstanding documentary film theorists and filmmakers, in order to analyze the trends of development and leading problems of this genre of art.
Initially, there were presented states of the Eastern block - Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, the USSR, Hungary, the GDR. In 1989 participants from West Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and the USA turned the symposium into a forum for meeting and exchange of experience between East and West.
Discussions and theoretical findings of the symposium have been documented and published in collections of proceedings.
Since 1991, responding to the new geopolitical situation in Europe, the Baltic Sea countries - Denmark, Estonia, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Finland, Germany, Sweden, - have become involved in the work of the Symposium.