In celebration of its 700th year Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, welcomes a fresh array of homegrown talent at the VILNIUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL from March 16-26th.
Vilnius put itself on the map, globally speaking, two years ago when the 2020 edition turned the country’s airport into a drive-in theatre. A year later, the programming moved into top hotels where locals could check into a room for the full immersive festival experience. Last year, the festival was one of the first to champion Ukrainian films, raising the profile of the beleaguered nation’s plight.
Lithuania may be a small country with only three million inhabitants but it punches above its weight culturally with a vibrant sense of innovation in cinema, the arts, food and tech. VIFF, known as the Kino Pavasaris (“Film Spring” in Lithuanian), reflects this high level of creativity in the upcoming 28th edition which features five Lithuanian features and five shorts. In some ways the lockdown was positive because filmmakers spent more time developing their scripts, rehearsing with their actors and preparing their films in general. And it shows.
Tragedy struck last year when Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed during the making of his feature documentary Mariupolis II. This year’s festival once again focuses on Ukraine with a screening of his documentary, and also includes LUXEMBOURG, LUXEMBOURG by Antonio Lukich and Philip Sotnychenko’s LA PALISIADA. The festival closes with a mystery screening; an observational documentary collectively shot by the Lithuanian film community on a voluntary basis–an unprecedented project never seen before in the country.
The Vilnius Film Festival is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre, co-funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Creative Europe MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Vilnius City Municipality and Go Vilnius. Vilnius IFF Kino Pavasaris is an independent private initiative.
Vilnius International Film Festival: kinopavasaris.lt