Back 2023.11.10

Lithuania as a Focus Country at Tramway Film Festival in Poland

Lithuanian short film agency “Lithuanian Shorts” is collaborating with Tramway Film Festival, where this year the spotlight shines on Lithuanian short films. Film enthusiasts will have a unique opportunity to delve into the world of Lithuanian cinema through a non-competitive showcase featuring nine remarkable short films offering a glimpse into Lithuania’s rich storytelling and creative talents. Screenings will be held on 18th and 19th of November.

The Tramway Film Festival’s main goal is to showcase arthouse cinema, especially experimental, essay and hybrid film, which have so far been neglected in Poland. The Festival consists of two international competition programmes, about three non-competition programmes and one special feature film screening. 

This year one of the non-competition programmes is “Focus on Lithuania” and showcases nine Lithuanian short films: “The Noisemaker” (dir. Karolis Kaupinis), “Alizava” (dir. Andrius Žemaitis), “Dummy” (dir. Laurynas Bareiša), “The Bearers of Memories” (dir. Miglė Križinauskaitė-Bernotienė), “Cherries” (dir. Vytautas Katkus), “The Fall” (dir. Eglė Razumaitė), “I Put On the Ivy Crown” (dir. Emilija Noreikaitė), “Ieva” (dir. Domas Petronis, Vytautas Plukas) and “Through Gloom” (dir. Arnas Balčiūnas).

A founder and artistic director of Tramway Film Festival, Bartosz Reetz, shares his own thoughts about Lithuanian short film cinema and curated programme:

“My contact with Lithuanian cinematography began around ten years ago by discovering the works of Sharunas Bartas, Audrius Stonys and Valdas Navasaitis–the keystones of Kinema, the first legally and artistically independent film studio founded by the end of the Soviet Union in 1989. As Lithuania regained independence, a talented generation of artists entered the map of world cinema.

In the last years Lithuanian short films have gained international acclaim and the new generation of directors brings hope to the flourishing of film art in the country; a process not to be missed. However, first it’s worth to get a better understanding of the directions of development of the young Lithuanian cinema.

To this end, for the first edition of Tramway Film Festival I decided to create an auteur curator’s programme. As other festivals have shown, single-handed decision making contributes to a greater coherence of a programme. My intention was to present a spectrum of artistic expression in line with the idea of the festival, which is creative boldness and mutual permeating of feature and experimental cinema.

Some of the selected titles premiered at the biggest film festivals. Yet, during the selection process I wasn’t looking at awards and other festivals. I don’t want the Tramway Film Festival to copy others, but to move along its own self-constructed tracks and discover new talents.

Selected titles were produced between 2019–2023, save for one. While most were created independently after graduation, there are two student films in the section, made at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius.

The selection includes very intense narrative cinema, poetic landscapes of the soul as well as experimental cinema. Young Lithuanian auteurs touch upon diverse themes: from handling the post-Soviet heritage and road films that explore the darkness of solitude in search of communications between generations; through an existential journey deep inside the soul, in which the line between the living and the dead is blurred; to the relationship between humans and the nature by means of lending ear to the cycles of nature and Greek mythology.

I would like to express utmost thanks to Lithuanian Shorts, and especially Gabrielė Cegialytė, for their great help, as well as all Lithuanian directors whose films I have watched. It’s been a fascinating journey.” – Bartosz Reetz.

Gabrielė Cegialytė, project manager at “Lithuanian Shorts” and managing director of Vilnius Short Film Festival concur with the thoughts expressed, and further adds: “For the past few years, Lithuanian short films have been in a golden era. A new wave of exceptionally talented filmmakers has achieved international acclaim, featuring their works at esteemed festivals such as Cannes, Berlinale, and Venice. The selected nine Lithuanian short films exemplify the bold experimentation and boundary-pushing spirit of emerging talents as well as their unique artistic voices.” 

Screenings Schedule:

November, 18 (Saturday) 18.30 – Focus on Lithuania I

– The Noisemaker (dir. Karolis Kaupinis, Lithuania, Sweden, 2014, 15′)
– Alizava (dir. Andrius Žemaitis, Lithuania, 2021, 39′, Polish premiere)
– Dummy (dir. Laurynas Bareiša, Lithuania, 2020, 13′)
– The Bearers of Memories (dir. Miglė Križinauskaitė-Bernotienė, Lithuania, 2020, 13′, Polish premiere)

November, 19 (Sunday) 17.00 – Focus on Lithuania II

– Cherries (dir. Vytautas Katkus, Lithuania, 2022, 15′)
– The Fall (dir. Eglė Razumaitė, Lithuania, 2023, 22′, Polish premiere)
– I Put On the Ivy Crown (dir. Emilija Noreikaitė, Lithuania, 2019, 7′, Polish premiere)
– Ieva (dir. Domas Petronis, Vytautas Plukas, Lithuania, 2021, 14′, Polish premiere)
– Through Gloom (dir. Arnas Balčiūnas, Lithuania, 2022, 17′, Polish premiere)