The top 10 things you didn't know about Lithuanian films


    {mosimage}How much do you know about Lithuania and its film industry? That it is a small country near the Baltic Sea, creating a record low amount of films? Unfortunately we have to disappoint you because your knowledge might be a bit outdated. Lithuanian film industry has reached something that could be described as a breaking point in 2011 and it is going though a revival process.

    Lithuanian Films have come a long way which has finally led it to the international arena during its two decades of independence. Today Lithuanian Films stand firmly with both their feet on the ground worldwide. In addition, Lithuanian Films also set an example to the other countries seeking favorable decisions from a film perspective from both a political and an artistic level. And yet, what was so special about 2011?

    1. Lithuanian Film Centre and Increased Film Funding

    The Lithuanian Film Centre will commence operations on May 1, 2012. It is a fact of history that Lithuania was the last hold-out in Europe to accept Christianity, but once it did so, Lithuania became its very best stronghold. Even though Lithuania is probably the last country in this area of the world to establish a Film Centre, since Lithuania has now committed to this endeavor, we will be the most dedicated one possible anywhere.

    The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture is in the process of forming an exceptional film policy and the Lithuanian Film Centre will use all means possible at its disposal to implement same. The aim of the Lithuanian Film Centre is to support and to encourage the production of Lithuanian films and their wide spread not only in Lithuania but worldwide. The Lithuanian Film Centre will not only contribute towards the financing of the films, but will also work towards film distribution, marketing and archiving.
    A new film law approved by the Lithuanian Parliament in 2011 allows for increased funding for this most important program. Appropriations provided in the national budget now allow for 60 percent of the previous year's actual revenue from VAT (Value Added Tax) on film revenue received from distribution to be returned to the film sector.

    2. Celebrities from around the world filming in Lithuania

    The Italian director Gabriele Salvatores started shooting his "Siberian Education" where the leading role is being created by a famous American actor, director and producer John Malkovich in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius last year. Vilnius was chosen by the film makers due to its unique landscape, architecture, professional staff and low costs involved.

    3. Vilnius Film Office - A Helping Hand for Filmmakers

    The Vilnius Film Office was established at the end of 2011. The aim of the Vilnius Film Office is to promote film production and to attract more international filmmakers to Vilnius. The City of Vilnius fully recognizes and appreciates the fact that filmmakers coming to film in Vilnius from abroad provide an investment opportunity for the city itself. The goal of the Vilnius Film Office is to promote Vilnius as a „Film Friendly City" and encourages the development of the film production sector - both locally and internationally - in the city of Vilnius.

    An amendment to the national tax law that will implement tax incentives for the film industry is currently under consideration in the Lithuanian Parliament and it is very likely that it will come into force in 2013. The passage of this law will help to boost film production not only in Vilnius but in the entire country of Lithuania.

    4. A Lithuanian "Avatar" has been created

    "Tadas Blinda. The beginning", directed by D. Ulvydas, has beaten all time records of attendance and revenues, even leaving behind the all time record holder in Lithuania - "Avatar" (directed by James Cameron).

    5. The Soviet experience reflected in a film

    A short film "Restricted Sensation" by Deimantas Narkevicius has been screened in the competition programme of the International Film Festival Rotterdam where it competed for the main "Tiger" in the short film category. The film will also be presented in the "Forum Expanded" programme at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival 17th February, 2012.

    The film takes us back to the Soviet Lithuania in 1970 when the individual human freedom was regulated and collective interests were put above everything else. The motto of this film, which is also a popular phrase of the Soviet era, "Just give as a person and we will have no problem in finding the right law, needed to imprison that person", is exactly what can be referred to as an absurd that perfectly reflects the legal nihilism of those times.

    6. "Barzakh" - the best Baltic film

    The documentary "Barzakh", directed by Mantas Kvedaravicius and presented at the "Panorama" competition programme of the 61st Berlin Film Festival, has toured many European film festivals: Cannes, San Sebastian, the 10th Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, Belgrade, and others. The film won two awards at the International Film Festival of Tallinn. "Barzakh" has been recognized as the best Baltic film, and the director was awarded the Federation of Film Critics FIPRESCI award.

    7. Documentary film boom

    A documentary film "Ramin"by a National Culture and Art Award winning director Andrius Stonys was presented at Vilnius International Documentary Film Festival in 2011. This film is a joint co-production with Georgia and Latvia.

    2011 was very productive in terms of documentary films: the premieres of not only "Barzakh" and "Ramin" took place, but also the premieres of the documentary film "Field of wonders" by Mindaugas Survilas, the film "How we played the revolution" by Giedre Zickyte and the film "The age of Czeslaw Milosz" by Juozas Jovaitis are worth mentioning.

    8. Lithuanian directors screen the books

    The premiere of the newest feature film "The fortress of sleeping butterflies", directed by Algimantas Puipa has marked the beginning of 2012. The film is based on the novels of a famous Lithuanian writer Jurga Ivanauskaite.

    The premiere of the full - lenght documentary "Game of the nation", directed by Andrius Lekevicius is also eagerly awaited in 2012. The film has captured those moments that all Lithuanian basketball fans did not get a chance to see while the European Basketball Championship took place in Lithuania.

    9. Lithuania - the country of film festivals

    Lithuania - is famous for an abundance of film festivals. More than 15 film festivals take place within the biggest cities throughout the year and three of those festivals are very well known internationally. Such film festivals include the European film forum "Scanorama", held annually in November., The International Vilnius film festival "Kino Pavasaris", which presents over 200 of the most recent films from around the world to Lithuanian viewers. Finally, Kaunas International Film Festival, which has been organised since 2007 and held annually in the fall.

    Lithuania is also host to a variety of film festivals genre, which include documentaries, short films, animations and even films purely demographically associated to Lithuania itself.

    10. Increasing productivity

    At present, there are fourteen new premieres by the Lithuanian directors awaited in 2012. All of these films will be presented at the Lithuanian Films Stand at the EFM, which you can find at the Marriott Hotel, Stand 116.

    In total three new full - lenght documentaries, nine short films and fourteen already mentioned films, of which the premieres are still awaited, wil be presented at the Lithuanian Films Stand at the EFM.

    For more information please contact:
    Rimante Daugelaite
    MEDIA Desk Lithuania
    International Cultural Programme centre
    Z.Sierakausko g. 15, LT-03105 Vilnius
    Mob.phone.: +370 5 212 71 87
    Faks. +370 5 2609425
    E.mail.: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.