Back 2023.01.05

Vilnius International Short Film Festival: Korean gems, sci-fi, contemporary video art and Ukrainian animation

Film lovers are bound to flock cinemas in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai as well as their own home cinema screens as Vilnius International Short Film Festival will take place on 18–24 January offering a total of 84 films spread over 17 vibrant and diverse programmes.

“Vilnius Short Film Festival, in its 16th year, is almost as young as Vilnius itself,” jokingly says the festival’s managing director Gabrielė Cegialytė. “Our festival is the first of the film events to start the celebrations of Vilnius 700th anniversary by offering an array of exclusive short film programmes and special events.”

Traditionally, the festival programme consists of three parts: the National Competition for the Best Lithuanian Short Film and the International Competition, where films are going to be assessed by the International Jury. The third, and most diverse, part of the repertoire is the special programmes, showcasing the latest trend-setting, cutting-edge films from imagination-stirring sci-fi, Lithuanian video art, stylish Korean films to Ukrainian animation for the whole family, programmes compiled by teenager and senior programmers and the traditional crowd-pleaser, the Short Film Night.

The festival presents the most distinct South Korean short films

One of the highlights of the 16th edition of the Vilnius Short Film Festival, ‘Korean Cinema: New Perspectives’ will offer a glimpse at the Far East. According to the curator of the programme and senior programmer of the Busan International Short Film Festival, Sanghoon Lee, “Korean cinema has undergone tremendous development and today it has become one of the major players in the world film industry. Korean film achievements are dazzling, from Im Kwon-taek, Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong and Kim Ki-duk to major awards at the world’s major film festivals”. ‘Korean Cinema: New Perspectives’ consists of four fiction and one documentary film, highlighting the main trends in South Korean short films. 

Mind-boggling science fiction programme

‘Other Realities’ is a fantastic genre programme curated by filmmaker Jonas Trukanas, often titled the ambassador of Lithuanian genre cinema. “Fantastic genre films tend not to be based on facts, rather they are driven primarily by the imagination. ‘Other Realities’ is a programme showcasing the ability of filmmakers to construct credible worlds: we will visit dreams, Frankenstein’s castle, post-apocalyptic Spain, and a colony of bee-people,” says Jonas Trukanas.

Animated films from Ukraine

In order to promote Ukrainian culture, the festival has teamed up with the LINOLEUM International Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival in Kyiv and devised a special selection of Ukrainian animated films. This vibrant programme called ‘Animated World for Kids’ will transport the littlest of film lovers to surprising new worlds. Set in a fantasy room, deep woods, sunny village, and on a bridge that remembers the past, these are the stories of friendship, creative freedom, relationships, and love to the environment around us. As the films contain no dialogues they are accessible to any age group.

Senior citizens and teenagers take a shot at festival programming

This year, the festival has challenged senior citizens and teenagers to compile a selection of films that were relevant to their respective age groups yet appealing to the others. First time in the festival, festival presents  a senior-compiled programme All’s Well That Ends of Lithuanian films, compiled at the short film programming workshop for seniors organised by the Lithuanian Shorts.

The programme ‘Protest’ will help answer the question, what are the youngsters into? The young programmers at Meno Avilys, a group of 16-18 year-old film buffs, have watched the festival films and put together a five-short-film programme, that reveals people’s determination to fight for their values.

The traditional Short Film Night

The festival’s most popular and widely anticipated Short Film Night screening will invite viewers to test their stamina with a short film all-nighter. A 5-hour–programme consisting of 20 films from all over the world will be presented at exclusive screenings in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai on 20th January only.

Loudly whispering video art

Vilnius Short Film Festival will present a programme conceived by Deimantas Narkevičius, one of the most internationally acclaimed Lithuanian contemporary artists. The contemporary Lithuanian film and video art programme ‘Whispering Loudly’ consists of three special screenings, each presenting the works by contemporary filmmakers and visual artists that go beyond conventional short films. Screened at last year’s edition of the world’s oldest short film festival in Oberhausen, the three-part programme will be presented by its curator Deimantas Narkevičius at the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius.

‘European Stories’: films by emerging European filmmakers

For the fourth year, the festival collaborates with the EU Creative Europe MEDIA Office, presenting the latest short films by European filmmakers in the programme ‘European Stories’. The selection has an underlying ritual theme of the transition from one stage of life into another, whether it is a farewell to childhood or carefree adolescence or liberation from the societal boundaries. These films have been well received at major international festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand, Palm Springs, Busan, and now they continue their journey in Lithuania.

The festival will close with the screenings of the Festival Winners, presenting the best films of the National and International Competitions, named by an international jury.

16th edition of Vilnius International Short Film Festival will take place on 18–24 January 2023 in:

VILNIUS: Pasaka Cinema Boutique, Skalvija Cinema Centre, and National Gallery of Art;

KAUNAS: Kaunas Cinema Centre “Romuva”

KLAIPĖDA: Cinema “ArleKinas Klaipėda”

ŠIAULIAI: Photography Museum

as well as on VOD platform “ŽMONĖS Cinema”.

Info, tickets and full programme at