Pakalniņa was born in Latvia in 1962. She studied filmmaking at the Moscow Film Institute (VGIK) and has made various types of films but is mostly focused on documentaries. Pakalniņa’s documentaries show a side of the world that might seem quite inconsequential. They show people going about their daily lives, skiing, fishing or playing football. Through her brilliant use of montage she shows that these daily routines are anything but uninteresting, they are packed with humor and drama. Pakalniņa has been nominated for a multitude of international awards including the Palme d’Or and the Golden Bear for her short films. She has been awarded won prizes at the Latvian National Film Festival multiple times, as well as at other festivals such as Karlovy Vary and the Rome Film Fest. Pakalniņa is incredibly skilled at using imagery, sound and montage - the unique language of cinema - to tell big, multi-layered stories. Her films show daily life in a fresh and whimsical manner and invite the audience to look for the extraordinary within the ordinary.