Bold and tender documentaries – highlights of Vilnius International Short Film Festival special programmes

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A keen-eyed observation of man and nature is a quality shared by the three special programmes of the festival. The focus this year is on Arturas Jevdokimovas from Lithuania and Jan Soldat from Germany, two filmmakers with a distinct style. Their retrospectives are presented for the first time in Lithuania. The third highlight of the festival is a programme called Films from the Turning Point: 1988-1992, compiled by the Meno avilys organisation. It is a selection of newly restored films representing a difficult transitional period in the Lithuanian history. The Secret World of Moths, a Finnish film depicting the life-and-death cycle, will be screened screened in an inflatable planetarium. The 11th edition of Vilnius Short Film Festival will take place in Vilnius on January 18–22 and other Lithuanian towns on January 26–29.

 

Those who have yet to see Anthology of the Plot (2015), winner of the Silver Crane prize for the best short film of the year, will have a great chance to do so at the festival, along with other films by Arturas Jevdokimovas. Tushetian shepherds living in the North-Eastern Caucasus, birds and the ornithology station staff, filmmaker Sarunas Bartas and his film crew from Home, designers, models and guests of a fashion festival, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, artists and the like hanging out in the cult cafe The Plot – these are all the heroes of Jevdokimovas’ films. The programme will be presented by the author himself, who will also share some stories after the screenings.

 

More and more the name of Jan Soldat, a young German filmmaker, appears at the world’s top film festivals and award ceremonies. Some may find his extremely open, bold and inconvenient films shocking but that is definitely not the goal for Soldat. By filming sexual practices and fetishes, he invites one to face the marginalised groups of people without any prejudices and think about the search for sexuality, identity, body and self. “I don’t think I show something different than my world or other people’s world. My protagonists are a part of the same society,” says Jan Soldat.

 

Autumn Snow (1992) by Valdas Navasaitis, a film shown at a myriad of international festivals, returns after 15 years of silence; its film copy finally discovered after a long search. In it, winter sets in as an organic part of nature’s cycle and the falling of the first autumn snow coincides with the final seconds of a man’s life on earth. It is one of the newly restored films that make up the   Films from the Turning Point: 1988-1992 programme. Films that represent the transition from oppression to freedom, one system to another, and also serve as a dialog between four filmmakers of different generations. The other films of the programme, digitally restored by the Meno Avilys organisation, are We Were at Our Own Field (1988) by Henrikas Sablevicius and The Brick Flag (1988) by Saulius Berzinis and Ten Minutes Before Icarus Flight (1990) by Arūnas Matelis.

 

The greatest number of screenings in this year’s Vilnius International Short Film Festival has been bestowed on The Secret World of Moths (2016) by Finnish Hannes Vartiainen and Pekka Veikkolainen. Using 3D X-ray tomography the film will shed light to the hidden macrocosm and explore the moths’ way of life in an unprecedented way, geographically spanning from the Arctic Circle to the Equator. This film was made for a dome film screen. The Secret World of Moths will  appeal to both young and adult audiences.

 

The Secret World of Moths trailer