Vilnius International Short Film Festival announces the winners

News 2023-01-23

Sunday night, Vilnius International Short Film Festival held its awards ceremony, where the international jury announced the best films of the festival’s 16th edition. This year’s Competitions featured 41 Lithuanian and international short film. A special programme of the winning films is to compliment the festival’s broad repertoire on 23–24 January in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda cinemas.

As usual, the international jury watched the Competition programmes through the course of the festival and announced the winners on Sunday night, naming the best films in the National and International Competitions and awarding one of them with the festival’s Grand Prix, established by Vilnius City Municipality. The prize for the best National Competition short film was established by the LATGA Association.

The films were assessed by the competent jury with a large body of experience in film industry, made up of both Lithuanian and foreign experts: South Korean film curator and festival programmer Sanghoon Lee, Lithuanian cinematographer Laura Aliukonytė, and Moldovan filmmaker Olga Lucovnicova.


Vilnius International Short Film Festival winners

The Grand Prix went to How Do You Measure a Year?, a Jay Rosenblatt (US) documentary about a father filming his daughter on her birthday for 16 years, asking her the same questions.

“A very touching and unique portrait that transcended the personal appeal and becomes a universal portrait of a journey to adulthood and a tender but complex father-daughter relationship, which evolves over time,” said the jury presenting the festival’s top award.


Teppo Airaksinen’s film Blanket (Finland) was named the Best International Short Film. It follows 10-year-old Marja, who is sent to fetch milk for her baby brother. On the way there are things even more dangerous than the thin ice. “A bright film about the big drama of a lost childhood in the war, when a little girl becomes a hero and a fighter for her family, taking on a heavy and overwhelming burden of responsibility, reminding us of the nowadays reality of many children trapped in war,” shared the jury.


This year’s Special Mention in the International Competition went to Goodbye Jerome! by Adam Sillard, Gabrielle Selnet, Chloé Farr (France). Having just arrived in paradise, Jerome sets out to find his wife Maryline. In the course of his search, he sinks into a surreal and colourful world in which no one seems to be able to help him. “The directors use the language of animation, expanding our notions of reality and challenging the stereotypes of the afterlife,” stated the jury members.


Birutė Kapustinskaitė’s film Mothers was named the Best National Short Film. Its protagonist Aldona is the single mother of a daughter, Miglė, who is soon to become a mother herself. When Miglė comes to visit her, Aldona tries to show how much she cares, but instead starts to control her daughter, crossing the line eventually. “The director delves into the complexity of intergenerational relationships with all their beauty and struggles. Anecdotal and casual situations lead us to a universal theme through a very light and funny atmosphere,” said the jury about the short film by the Lithuanian filmmaker.


One film from the National Competition was also given a Special Mention by the jury. It went to Arnas Balčiūnas’ Through Gloom, which follows a talkative taxi driver roaming the nightly streets. An apathetic girl enters his car. The two don’t seem to connect, until she asks to make a stop with intent to cause harm. In the words of the jury, “the director creates dramatic tension, where the darkness becomes a door into the unknown, and the ending is left open as the film develops in our imagination.”

All of the above films will be screened as part of the Festival Winners programme, which will be available along with the rest of the repertoire in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda until 24 January. 

Major sponsor: Lithuanian Film Centre. Institutional partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Audiovisual works copyright association “AVAKA”, Lithuanian Culture Institute, LATGA Association, Creative Europe Desk Lithuania MEDIA Office. Media partner: LRT. The festival is part of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius programme. The festival is organised by the Lithuanian short film agency Lithuanian Shorts.