Back 2022.12.13

Vilnius International Short Film Festival unveils the Lithuanian short films that will make up its National Competition

While the holidays and New Year approaches, film fans will already be thinking about January as the 16th edition of the Vilnius Short Film Festival is due to take place between 18-24 January in Lithuania. The festival will take place in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius as well the cities of Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai. Films will be screened at cinemas as well as virtually for audiences within Lithuania.

Over six days, one of the largest short film festivals in the Baltic States will present a thoughtful selection with a wide range of genres and moods to rouse the audience’s imagination from its winter slumber.

Over its 16 years, Vilnius Short Film Festival has established itself as the biggest short film showcase in Lithuania. With its motto SHORT YET FILMS, the festival will kickstart the 2023 film-going season by offering over a dozen different short film programmes from all over the world, consisting of around 80 short films that have been the most critically acclaimed and popular in recent years.

Among the most anticipated of the programmes is the National Competition, from which an international jury will select the best Lithuanian short film. The competition will consist of two programmes made up of 11 films.

Rimantė Daugėlaitė-Cegelskienė, Head of Vilnius International Short Film Festival:

“The National Competition is a very important part of the Festival for us. We launched it in 2015, at the beginning of the surge in Lithuanian short film production, and this year’s record number of Lithuanian films submitted to the festival only confirms that this competition has become important for filmmakers over time. Each year, the National Competition reflects the key latest trends in Lithuanian short film. This year, both national programmes will immerse the audience in unexpected yet recognizable life situations, with relationships being a key and unifying theme amongst the films on offer.”

National Competition Programme I will begin with Parking Lot by Jorė Janavičiūtė, an exploration of mental health and interpersonal relationships. In Drylands by Urtė Sabutytė, we will see the process of coming to terms with change and the search for strength by a girl who has experienced a painful break-up. Arnas Balčiūnas’ film Through Gloom will take us on a taxi ride, where a wide range of emotions play out in a mysterious journey as the relationship between a female passenger and a male driver becomes more apparent. The programme continues with Birutė Sodeikaitė’s atmospheric and otherworldly animation Elena, and concludes with Elena Rožukaitė‘s Tell Me You Love Me, which will offer us a look into a couple’s complex relationship.

The second National Competition Programme is a journey of self-discovery and reconnection with others by overcoming crises, crossing boundaries and relentlessly looking ahead. It starts with The Trip by Jorūnė Greičiūtė, in which we travel through the wastelands of a foreign country in search of a guru to save a couple’s relationship. Next is Simona Jurkuvėnaitės The Pushers, a story of a changing relationship between a mother and her daughter and their connections to the outside world. It is followed by Jurga Šeduikytė‘s animated film Mora Mora, in which a girl named Mora wanders through a sleeping world looking for a way to bring it back from slumber. The programme continues with Sh by Julius Stakišaitis. Here, a man taking out trash will suddenly plunge into memories of the most uncomfortable situations, anxiety will mix with comedy, and all this will fit into just three minutes of the film. Moving on, we come to Mothers by the Golden Cross from award-winning playwright Birutė Kapustinskaitė, which deals with the bond between a pregnant woman and her mother, its metamorphosis and limits. The programme is rounded off by documentary Once Upon a Time in Vilnius by Eitvydas Doškus, which is seen as a symphony, weaving together the unsurfaced traces of Vilnius’ past and the ever-changing face of the city today, in search of its own identity.

The films for the National Competition have been selected by film director, screenwriter and educator Andrius Blaževičius, film critic and curator, publisher Monika Gimbutaitė, and film critic and journalist Ieva Šukytė.

All the films of the 16th edition of the Vilnius International Short Film Festival will be screened in cinemas in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Kaunas and Šiauliai, as well as online, on the ŽMONĖS Cinema platform on 18-24 January. The festival will also unveil some unexpected venues and special events in the coming weeks.

The festival is organised by the Lithuanian Short Film Agency Lithuanian Shorts.

For updates on the festival’s programme see:

Main sponsor of the festival: Lithuanian Film Centre. Institutional partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Audiovisual works copyright association AVAKA, Lithuanian Culture Institute, EU Creative Europe MEDIA Desk in Lithuania. The festival is a part of the Vilnius 700th Anniversary programme.