VILNIUS: The Lithuanian Film Centre has released a list of 33 Lithuanian films wich have been released and screened internationally in 2018 The list includes four animated, seven feature and 22 documentary films. (Already in 2018 distribution reached a remarkable increase – 21 national films were premiered (compared to 11 in 2017). Overall, the productivity of national cinema also grew: in 2018 a total of 54 new films of various lengths and genres were produced, 28 of them being feature films most of them supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre). A total of 41 films were produced in 2017, of which 15 were feature films. Lithuanian cinema continues to garner international attention. World premieres of Lithuanian films takes place at internationally acclaimed festivals, including Cannes, Busan, Karlovy Vary, and Leipzig, with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre. In 2019 the Karlovy Vary Film Festival had a large Lithuanian presence: in the competition programme, the jury, and at the industry event Work in Progress.
Karolis Kaupinis‘ debut feature Nova Lituania M-films about Lithuanian interwar geography professor’s efforts to establish a Lithuanian colony overseas, premiered in the East of the West debut film competition programme. Lithuanian producer Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė was a member of the East of the West jury.
The Latvian / Lithuanian / Belgian / French feature film Oleg (coproducer Lukas Trimonis, InScript) was screened in the Horizons section of the Karlovy Vary IFF. The leading actor in Latvian director’s Juris Kursietis film was Lithuanian actor Valentinas Novopolskij. The international premiere of the film took place in the 2019 Cannes film festival, in the Director's Fortnight section.
Latvian director’s Laila Pakalnina film Spoon / Šaukštas, which is coproduced by Lithuanian producer Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė (www.justamoment.lt) also premiered at the Karlovy Vary IFF, in the documentary competition section. This Lithuanian / Latvian coproduction analyses humanity and its evolution, it talks about society and its progress while showing the story of the plastic spoon manufacturing.
The Lithuanian / Georgian / German joint production Otar’s death / Otaro mirtis (directed by Ioseb Bliadze, coproduced by M-Films), was presented in the festival’s industry program Work in Progress.
Lithuanian documentary films gained plenty of international attention. A number of films were selected to prestigious film festivals worldwide, successfully competing in the main programmes. The documentary Bridges of Time / Laiko tiltai by Audrius Stonys and Latvian director Kristīne Briede (a coproduction between VFS Films, Studio Nominum and Vesilind) won Best Documentary award at the Seattle IFF. The film is a cinematic essay on Baltic documentaries and their directors from the second half of the 20th century.
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s first long documentary Acid Forest / Rūgštus miškas had its world premiere in Locarno IFF, where it won one of the prizes in the First Feature category, and then was screened at the Scandinavian film festival DocPoint Helsinki and at Hot Docs documentary film festival, in Canada. A documentary on the cormorants destroying a forest in Lithuania, Acid Forest won the First Film Grand Award (of 12,000 EUR) at the 60th documentary and short film festival ZINEBI, held in Bilbao, Spain.
A new opera-performance Sun & Sea (Marina) / Saulė ir jūra, by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė (writer Vaiva Grainytė and artist and composer Lina Lapelytė), won the top prize at the Venice Art Biennale 2019.
Aiste Žegulyte's animal-centred first documentary Animus Animalis (a story about People, Animals, and Things )/ Animus Animalis (istorija apie žmones, žvėris ir daiktus) received the Grand Prix at the Brussels International Film Festival and it was screened at Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, Canada, the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and Wroclaw Film Festival, Poland. Animus Animalis. A story about People, Animals and Things was also screened in Island, Israel, Belarus and Mexico. The film is produced by Meno Avilys.
Arūnas Matelis’ latest film Wonderful Losers: A Different World / Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta continues its successful journey across global film events. The film was screened at the Scandinavian Film Festival LA and the Chicago European Union Film Festival. The film is a Lithuanian / Italian / Belgian / Swiss / Irish / British / Spanish / Latvian coproduction, produced by Nominum in coproduction with VFS FILMS, Stefilm International, Associate Directors, DOKMobile, Dearcán Media, Planet Korda Pictures and SUICA Films.
Mindaugas Survila’s documentary essay The Ancient Woods / Sengirė, a Lithuanian / German / Estonian coproduction represented Lithuania at the EU Film Days in Tokyo. It was the 50th film festival for The Ancient Woods, which has already been screened in 27 countries. The film was for the first time among the most-viewed films in Lithuania, setting a record for independent Lithuania's documentary filmmaking. The Ancient Woods was also adapted for the blind and it attracted more than 67,000 admissions in Lithuania. It was also screened at the US festival Panorama Europe.
Chodakowski Sisters / Aš priglaudžiau prie žemės širdį, by Ramunė Kudzmanaitė, Tumas's Codex/Tumo kodeksas by Eimantas Belickas and Lituanie, My Freedom / Lituanie, mano laisve by Martina Jablonskytė, were presented at the Lithuanian Documentary Film Festival in Chicago. Films Lituanie, mano laisve and Tumo kodeksas were presented at the Lithuanian Museum - Archives of Canada. All these films are produced by Ketvirta versija.
After its world premiere in DOK Leipzig, Sandro Bozzolo's documentary Nijolė (produced by Just a Moment),was screened in Colombia, South America.
Aistės Stonytė‘s first documentary Hunt / Medžioklė participated at the Speed Meetings of DocsBarcelona. The long documentary is produced by Nominum.
Several documentary film projects were presented at international forums. Gentle Warriors / Švelnūs kariai directed by Marija Stonytė and produced by Moon Makers was presented at Last Stop Trieste - When East Meets West (wemw.it). Sounds From The Desert / Garsai iš dykumos, directed by Emilija Škarnulytė and Meno Avilys partcipated in the Berlin International Film Festival's talent development programme Berlinale Talents 2019.
(Not)forgotten War / (Ne)užmirštas karas, directed by Linas Mikuta was developed and presented at the Valetta Film Lab workshop. Endangered Species / Nykstančios rūšys (ARTBOX www.artbox.lt) was presented at the Belgrade IFF‘s Beldocs in Progress (https://beldocs.rs/en/beldocs-in-progress/). Gods Arise / Dievai bunda was presented at Docs Barcelona and I'll Stand by You / Būsiu su tavim, directed by Lukas Trimonis (In Script) was presented at the Bio to Be Industrial Event in Bologna.
Marija Kavtaradzė’s debut feature Summer Survivors / Išgyventi vasarą won Best Baltic Film at the Tallinn Film Festival. The film is a 100% Lithuanian production, produced by Lithuania’s M-films and After School.
A psychological thriller with an intriguing script structure and the debut feature by Lithuanian director Laurynas Bareiša, Pilgrims/ Piligrimai (produced by After School) was developed at TorinoFilmLab. The main theme of the film is the conflict between individual and collective traumas.
Festival International du Film d'Aubagne included the world premiere of Ernestas Jankauskas’ feature Sasha Was Here/ Čia buvo Saša (production company Dansu Films). Another Dansu Films production, Jonas Trukanas‘ feature film When the Lights Go Out / Užgęsus šviesoms had its world premiere in the competitive programme of the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.
Lithuanian short films have also been included in programmes of international festivals. Laurynas Bareiša short fiction film Caucasus / Kaukazas (produced by Po mokyklos) was presented at the Busan International Short Film Festival. Watchkeeping / Budėjimas, directed by Karolis Kaupinis and produced by Čiobreliai had its world premiere at the Zsigmond Vilmos Film Festival. Community Gardens / Kolektyviniai sodai, directed by Vytautas Katkus, became the first Lithuanian film to be included in Cannes Critics' Week.
The newest animated short film by Skirmanta Jakaitė The Juggler / Žonglierius (2018) has its world premiere at DOK Leipzig Film Festival and was afterards selected for the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Animafest Zagreb 2019. The film is a Lithuania / France coproduction between Art Shot, Tripode Productions, Perspective Films.
The animation film project Žmogus ant fortepijono (Meno Avilys), was presented at the European Short Pitch coproduction forum.