Lithuanian filmmakers have faced a major obstacle, with government funding cut from 2 million Euros in 2008 to just over 1mln Euros in year 2009, 2010 and in 2011 (4.3 millions. Litas). Yet, 2011brought good news and results. Lithuania plans to introduce a tax incentive programme within a year to attract productions to the country. Hopefully, the Lithuanian parliament will follow suit and back NPA's plea for a 20% tax rebate program (modelled on the successful Hungarian system) as early as 2013.
In another step forward, it is possible that as early as by the end of 2011, the long awaited film law will establish a national film center and provide guaranteed financial support for the domestic film industry.
In 2011for the first time, a Lithuanian film company, Uljanos Kim studija, received partial support from MEDIA through the film package sponsorship scheme. Three Lithuanian films -- the feature Trys draugai ir kiti, by Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, the debut feature Odisėja. R. ir J. by Arūnas Matelis and the full length documentary Po ąžuolo šaknimis, by Audrius Stonys -- were awarded 363,000 Litas. Outstanding director and European Film Academy (EFA) member Arūnas Matelis was awarded with 78,000 litas for the develpment of the 3D documentary Gladiatoriai. Kita planeta.
A new 2011 version of the first historical action movie, Tadas Blinda. Pradžia by Donatas Ulvydas , released in Independent Lithuania 40 years after the original film on Lithuania‘s 19th century folk hero in the mold of Robin Hood. The new version was a record breaking movie presenting the youth of the legendary Tadas Blinda and the events that staggered the region on the treshold of the Prussian uprising. The film premiered on 20 September 2011, and by the end of November Tadas Blinda. Pradžiahas become the most profitable Lithuanian movie at the national box office, with 278,000 admissions.
Lithuanian film director Mantas Kvedaravičius made a strong debut with the documentary Barzakh produced by Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki. The film opened the DocPoints Festival in Finland and the program of documentaries in the Panorama session of the Berlin International Film Festival.
Back To Your Arms by Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, the first-ever Lithuanian-Polish co-production (2010), won eight Silver Crane statuettes, including for best director and best film, at the Lithuanian Film and TV industry's Silver Crane Awards, 2011. Back To Your Arms was submited for the Academy Award, for an Oscar in category of the best foreign language movie.
For the first time, the Lithuanian film industry was featured at the European Film Market. The stand was organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania and public company Eksportuojanti Lietuva and MEDIA Desk Lietuva (International Cultural Programme Centre). In 2011 more than twenty enterprises and organizations were on hand to represent Lithuania, including such film companies as Kino vilkai, which is a collection of eight enterprises based in Vilnius, Tremora Era Film, Monoklis, organizers of festivals such as the Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring and Kaunas International Film Festival and representatives from cinemas including Skalvija and Pasaka.
The Baltic Sea Region-Japan Co-production Forum, a three-day event for the young filmmakers, aimed at broadening collaboration and film production opportunities between Japan and countries of the Baltic Sea Region, was held on 11 -13 November, during the Scanorama European Film Forum. Ten filmmakers from Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as well as ten cinematographers from Japan presented their projects to the experienced European and Japanese film professionals during a pitching day .
Vilnius International Film Festival Cinema Spring (Kino pavasaris) also put emphasis on local filmmakers in 2011 and screened 13 short film and documentary premjeres.
Public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television(LRT) contributed with documentary film How We Played Revolution by Giedrė Žickytė, made with the use of archival material, and will screen on TV in March, 2012. A story about those who fought for the independence of their country with smiles and songs, it was co-produced by Gilles Perez and Treize Au Sud (France). The film was budgeted at 170,000 Euro.
Lithuania has three national broadcasters: public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television(LRT, www.lrt.lt), which operates two national television and three radio channels; foreign-owned commercial channel TV3 (www.tv3.lt ) and commercial channel LNK (www.lnk.lt) also known as Laisvas ir Nepriklausomas Kanalas ("Free and Independent Channel").
Major organizations and contact information:
Independent Producers Association of Lithuania
Kraziu st. 21
LT-01108 Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel. +370 682 96 128 +370 682 96 128
Lithuanian Filmmakers Union
Vasario 16-osios 13 / Šermukšnių 1, LT-01107 Vilnius,
Tel./fax +370 5 212 0759 +370 5 212 0759
Lithuanian Theatre, Music and Cinema Museum
Vilniaus g. 41, LT-01119
Tel./fax: +370 5 262 24 06
Lithuanian Central State Archives
O. Milasiaus 21, Vilnius -10102
Tel./fax: 370/52/47-78-29, 370/52/76-53-18
www.lfc.lt (information about Lithuanian films online)
Lithuanian Film Studio
UAB Lietuvos Kino Studija
Laisvės pr. 3
Fax: + 370 5 276 4254
The Ministry of Culture of Republic of Lithuania
Basanavičiaus g. 5 | LT-01118 Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel. (8 5) 219 3443 | Fax. (85) 2623120