It's a wrap! The Winners of the 23rd Vilnius Film Festival Announced

Winter Brothers, a winning debut feature by director Hlynur Pálmason Winter Brothers, a winning debut feature by director Hlynur Pálmason Vilnius Film Festival

Danish psychodrama Winter Brothers received the main prize at the 23rd edition of Vilnius Film Festival Kino Pavasaris. Directed by Hlynur Pálmason, it is the first winner of a newly established European Debut competition. Bertrando Mandico’s The Wild Boys and Robert Schwentke’s The Captain are also among the winners announced at the closing ceremony on Friday.

Pálmason’s debut feature is set in a small community of Danish chalk mine workers. Praised for its visual poetry and minimalistic style, Winter Brothers tells a story of brotherhood, violence and loneliness within.

“It heralds a new voice in art house cinema” said the jury, consisting of Screen Daily’s chief critic Fionnuala Halligan, Jerusalem Film Festival’s program director Elad Samorzik, producer and festival strategist Kathleen McInnis and director Audrius Stonys.

Winter Brothers was also a success for actor Elliott Crosset Hove who won the Best Actor award for his demanding lead role as Emil. The best actress award went to Darya Zhovner for her outstanding part in Closeness, the dark coming of age drama set in the Russian North Caucasus.French director Bertrando Mandico’s experimental debut feature The Wild Boys earned him the Best Director award.

This year, Vilnius Film Festival combined two traditional main competition programmes New Europe – New Names and Baltic Gaze into the newEuropean Debut competition, focusing on debuting filmmakers from all of Europe.

Robert Schwentke’s World War II drama The Captain was awarded by the FIPRESCI jury. This year marked the first time that FIPRESCI members gave their prize at Kino PavasarisJens Assur’s debute feature Ravens was awarded with the special Cineuropa’s prize.

Loving Vincent, the world’s first fully painted feature film by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman earned the Audience Award and Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoye’s Mother got the Audience Award for the best short film. The award of the Short Film Competition went to Lithuanian director Laurynas Bareiša for By The Pool.

The festival was a success for Jurgis Matulevičius, whose historical drama Isaac was chosen as one of the winning in-development projects atMeeting Point – Vilnius industry screenings. The excerpts of this film together with Annagret Sachse’s Russia today and Kristians Riekstins Evawill be shown during Cannes industry screenings this May. Marija Stonytė’s coming-of-age story Gentle Warriors and Audrius MickevičiusExamplary Behavior won special post-production and promotion prizes.

Held in 11 cities in Lithuania, Kino Pavasaris counted 115,000 cinemagoers, once again establishing itself as the leading film festival in Lithuania. 



European Debut Winners

Best Film:

Winter Brothers / Vinterbrødre (Denmark, Iceland)

Directed by Hlynur Pálmason


Best Director:

Bertrand Mandico for The Wild Boys / Les Garçons Sauvages (France)

Best Actress:

Darya Zhovner for Closeness / Tesnota (Russian Federation)

Directed by Kantemir Balagov

Best Actor:

Elliott Crosset Hove for Winter Brothers  / Vinterbrødre (Denmark)

Directed by Hlynur Pálmason



The Captain / Der Hauptmann (Germany, France, Poland, Portugal)

Directed by Robert Schwentke

Cineuropa Prize:

Ravens / Korparna (Sweden)

Directed by: Jens Assur


Audience Award – Best Feature Film:

Loving Vincent (Poland, United Kingdom)

Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman

Audience Award – Best Lithuanian Feature Film:

100 Years Together / 100 metų kartu (Lithuania)

Directed by Edita Kabaraitė

Audience Award – Best Short Film:

Mother / Madre (Spain)

Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen



Best Student Film:

Mono No Aware (Lithuania)

Directed by Emilija Juzeliūnaitė

Perspective Student Director:

Titas Laucius for Snake / Gyvatė (Lithuania)

Special Mention:

Vytis (Lithuania)

Directed by Jevgenij Tichonov



Special Mention:

Little Hands / Les Petites Mains (Belgium, France)

Directed by Rémi Allier

Best Short Film:

By The Pool / Pirtis (Lithuania)

Directed by Laurynas Bareiša



3 films – 20 minutes of each of the winning film projects will be shown at the Cannes Marche du Film industry screenings:

Isaak / Izaokas (Lithuania)

Directed by Jurgis Matulevičius

Russia today / (Germany, Russia)

Directed by Annagret Sachse

Eva (Latvia)

Directed by Kristians Riekstins

Sound and video post-production prize established by Vilnius Film Cluster together with “Madstone” and “Roofsound”:

Gentle Warriors / Švelnūs kariai (Lithuania)

Directed by Marija Stonytė

Digital storage and promotion prize from Baltic View and Noir Lumiere:

Exemplary Behavior / Pavyzdinas elgesys (Lithuania)

Directed by Audrius Mickevičius

Best Lithuanian film project pitch awarded by AVAKA:

Gentle Warriors / Švelnūs kariai (Lithuania)

Directed by Marija Stonytė