Juris Podnieks was born on December 5, 1950 in Riga. He graduated from Moscow’s VGIK film school in 1975 and went on to work at the Riga Film Studio. He found national acclaim in the Soviet Union with his film Constellation of Riflemen (1982), but is best known for his perestroika documentary Is It Easy to Be Young? (1986), which was internationally acclaimed and screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes film festival. His other notable work includes Hello Do You Hear Us? (1990). He died in a diving accident on June 23, 1992.