Back 2024.01.04

Vilnius Short Film Festival presents AI-made films, Artūras Barysas avant-garde retrospective and late night fantasies

On 17–23 January, film lovers will come together in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda and Šiauliai cinemas as well as at home cinema screens for the 17th annual edition of the Vilnius Short Film Festival, which has revealed its complete programme and launched ticket sale. Its dynamic, daring and varied repertoire features a record number of programmes consisting of over 100 top class short films from all over the world.

The festival programme is traditionally divided into three parts: National Competition films that are to compete for the Best Lithuanian Film; International Competition films, which as well will be assessed by an international jury; the third part of the repertoire, a motley of themes, genres and techniques of exceptionally broad geography, is the guest-curated special programmes.

Thirteen special programmes feature trend-setting and future-predicting short films, from works made by artificial intelligence, retrospectives by renowned filmmakers or PG-18 rated programmes to selections by artistic directors of major foreign short film festivals, animation for children, and the now legendary Short Film Night.

AI-made cinema will call to doubt the reality

The gem of the repertoire, Algorithmic Mirages is a showcase of films made by, or with the help by, artificial intelligence. It will take us on a puzzling tour of synthetic films made using AI tools. The programme will make you question what is real and what is a mirage of algorithms and will leave you with more questions than answers. Curated by Antanas Skučas, animator and teacher at the Vilnius Academy of Arts.

Focus country – Sweden 

Programme curator Jung Haase of Swedish Film Institute says about This Is Sweden programme, “Ahhh, Sweden, the nature, the mountains, blond people with flowers in their hair dancing around a midsummer pole and Dalar horses all around… Sweden is so much more than this tourist poster from the 60s. Meet our many-faceted country, from North to South, from city to countryside, majorities and minorities, poetic, rough, beautiful, absurd, funny, and thought-provoking. This is Sweden!”

New York-based Latvian film star Signe Baumane retrospective

Late Night Fantasies is a retrospective of Latvian independent animator Signe Baumane who is one of the most prominent and unique voices in the world of contemporary animation. Having gained her this year’s Oscar nomination, Baumane’s films surprise with provocative humour, free spirit, sincerity and could be certainly defined as bold statements of feminism and female gaze. This programe will be tor adults audiences only.

This year’s programmers: kids, seniors and youngsters

The youngest of viewers will surely enjoy Animated Frolics for Kids, a programme curated by the ‘Kids Programmers’, a group of elementary school students aged 7-10 with a keen interest in cinema. Under the guidance of professional film curators and educators, they selected films that were relevant to their interests. A colourful selection of ten animated stories will immerse the little ones into a diverse world full of surprises and imaginary frolics. The screenings will be accompanied by animation workshops for kids and their parents.

Another programme is curated by the ‘Young Film Programmers of Meno Avilys,’ a group of 16–18 year old film enthusiasts. The Searchers explores human wanderings, lost horizons, its characters are highly motivated to find the meaning of their lives by understanding their own nature and feelings. 

Humming Hive is curated by seniors from Kaunas, the second biggest city of Lithuania. In their own words, “Human lives are like a humming beehive. These films, slightly comic and dramatic, reveal a variety of outlooks on life and human relations: between parents and children, men and women, and different generations. The characters try to find their place in relationships, society, in a never-ending process of learning about themselves and the others.” The programme was conceived at the Cinema Travel short film programming workshop for seniors organised by the Lithuanian Shorts.

A rarity in Lithuanian cinemas – Artūras Barysas “Baras” retrospective

A selection of films by an unconventional artist needs an unconventional title. Ssshhh: No Fun At The Seated Discotheque is a specially for Vilnius tailored programme of the rivetting 1972-1982 recently digitised short films of the late Lithuanian film auteur, co-founder of avant-garde Pysche group IVTKYGYG, countercultural thorn-in-the-side and fop Artūras Barysas with footage lifted from the shelf including specially commissioned 2022 re-scored soundtracks by notable Lithuania Contemporary Composers.

Some never-seen, pre-edited footage, out-takes, cine-communiques from the deep-freeze of pre-Glasnost Lithuania plus selected original soundtracks collaged from Barysas’s legendary lost collection of late 20th century pop & underground music. Music which like the films express a sparky, effervescent satirical defiance against the po-faced rigidity of Homo Sovieticus.

The most anticipated film event of the winter – the traditional Short Film Night

Short Film Night, which has become the festival’s most popular, widely anticipated tradition, will be presented at exclusive screenings on 19th January only. A generous 5-hour programme consisting of 20 inspiring films, sure to bring you tears of laughter, make you raise brows or tickle your nerves. Being the longest programme of the festival, it presents not only a nighttime adventure but also a great way to see a large portion of the festival films in one go.

European film future horizon

European Stories will give a chance to feel the pulse of new European cinema. It presents up-and-coming European filmmakers who, with the help from experienced producers, have made their first films, ready for international audiences. This year’s programme exhibits boldness in tackling uncomfortable, even controversial topics, and in showing a diversity of approaches to them. Viewers will be transported not only to different European countries but also to different periods in time. The productions were funded by the EU Creative Europe MEDIA programme. The programme will be screened at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and available on LRT EPIKA home cinema platform nationwide.

Triangle, a joint project of three European festivals

This three part programme is a part of Triangle project initiated by Vienna Shorts, the biggest short film festival in Austria. Vienna Shorts invited Vilnius Short Film Festival and Lago Film Fest (Italy) to curate short film programmes under the theme dedicated to time in its most transient unit: the moment. All three programmes showcase the power of the moment in cinema from different perspectives: from stills to stop-motion, archival footage or slow-motion shots capturing a moment or prolonging it to make the most of it. 

The three programmes: Triangle: Captured Moments (curated by Daniel Hadenius-Ebner, co-director of Vienna Shorts), Triangle: Frame by Frame (curated by Ieva Šukytė, programmer at Vilnius Short Film Festival), and Triangle: From an Instant to Other Visions (curated by Alessandro Del Re and Morena Faverin, artistic directors of Lago Film Fest) have been presented at all three festivals. This programme will be screened exclusively at the MO Museum in Vilnius. 

This edition of the festival will round up with traditional Festival Winners screenings showcasing the best films in the National and International Competitions, selected by the international jury. The films will be revealed after the Awards Ceremony on the 21st of January.

17th edition of Vilnius Short Film festival will take place on 17-23 January at:

VILNIUS: Pasaka cinema, Skalvija Cinema Centre, MO Museum, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania;

KAUNAS: Kaunas Cinema Centre “Romuva”;

KLAIPĖDA: cinema “ArleKinas Klaipėda”;

ŠIAULIAI: Museum of Photography;

As well as Žmonės Cinema home cinema platform.


Info, tickets and full programme at:

The festival is partially sponsored by: Lithuanian Film Centre, Creative Europe Media, Audiovisual works copyright association AVAKA. Institutional partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Šiauliai City Municipality, Creative Europe Media desk in Lithuania, LATGA Association. Main media partner: LRT Epika.