Vilnius Short Film Festival has announced the winners
The 17th Vilnius Short Film Festival held its Awards Ceremony on Sunday evening, announcing the best films of this year’s edition. This year’s competition programmes included 42 short films from over 30 countries, including 11 works by Lithuanian filmmakers. On 22-23 January, the festival’s extensive repertoire will be complemented by a special winners’ programme, consisting exclusively of the festival’s award-winning films, to be screened in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda cinemas.
Like every year, the Competition programmes were reviewed by the international jury, which announced the winners on Sunday evening, selecting the best films of the International and National Competition, and awarding one film with the festival’s Grand Prix. Additionally, one film from both the National and International Competition received Special Jury Mentions, and one Lithuanian film received a “Shorts Critics” Special Mention.
The films were assessed by a competent jury with vast experience in the film industry: producer and festival curator Inja Korać from Croatia, Alessandro Del Re, Lago Film Fest (Italy) Artistic Director and film producer, and Lithuanian film director and cinematographer Laurynas Bareiša.
Vilnius Short Film Festival winners
The Grand Prix of the festival went to Oyu (dir. Atsushi Hirai), a story of a man going to the public bath on the last day of the year to retrieve a forgotten object, and, once inside, deciding to stay. The Grand Prix monetary prize was established by Vilnius City Municipality.
“It is a cinematic experience that is authentic to the audience, with an incredible attention to detail and one that reminds us of the importance of everyday small things. For the film’s ability to bring hope to humanity by caring about the value of connections and showing the passing of time and lives through different speeds,” said the jury presenting the top award.
The prize for Best Short Film of the International Competition went to waking up in silence, a documentary from Ukraine by Mila Zhluktenko and Daniel Asadi Faezi, depicting a summer day in former German military barracks, where children forced to have fled Ukraine have found refuge. In their games, they discover military symbols from the past and link them to their present experiences.
“For choosing to communicate a condition without exploiting the shock value of it and in the process achieving a timeless depiction of youth in times of war,” said the jury members presenting the award.
Milda Augustytė’s documentary debut Number One was named the Best Short Film of the National Competition. Its protagonist, 12-year-old Arianas is preparing for the Lithuanian championship of Standard and Latin American dances with his partner. The monetary prize for the Best Short Film was established by the LATGA Association.
“The film portrays sarcasm towards today’s competitive and macho society through this incredibly earnest and talented boy whom we fall in love with from the very first moment. We were mesmerized by bold cinematography choices used in a documentary film that are showcasing how the author is confronting the authorities but at the same time protecting our main character – who we feel needs to be shielded,” said the jury.
This year’s Jury Special Mention went to two films. From the International Competition, a Special Mention was given to Crack of Dawn (dir. Anna Llargués), a story of a farmhouse of a rural family declared unfit for habitation. While part of the family fights to save the space built by their ancestors, the younger ones imagine where they could go.
According to the jury, “the film gently captures the soul of this family and takes the audience on a nostalgic journey to the buildings that have marked its childhoods. With skilful and intuitive use of different cinematic languages, it highlighs some slow and quiet yet essential life moments.”
From the National Competition, jury’s Special Mention went to Dear Dad by Austė Urbanavičiūtė, a film about young adults exploring their childhood experiences, memories and feelings through the lens of parents capturing happy family moments on home videos.
“With the special mention we want to encourage a new voice, which is using cinema not just as a form of personal expression, but also creating a public space giving a mature perspective on topics of fatherhood and growing-up,” said the jury members in the Awards Ceremony.
All of the above films will be part of the Festival Winners programme, which will be available along with the rest of the repertoire in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda on 22–24 January.
Additionally, for the first time, the festival introduced a new special mention from film critics specifically for one of the films in the National Competition. This mention is initiated in the framework of a Lithuanian film criticism program called “Shorts Critics”. The “Shorts Critics” Special Mention went to Way Better (dir. Skirmanta Jakaitė).
The festival takes place on January 17–23 in Vilnius, Klaipėda, Kaunas, and Šiauliai cinemas, as well as on ŽMONĖS Cinema home cinema platform. The festival is organized by Lithuanian short film agency Lithuanian Shorts.
Info, tickets and full programme at: www.filmshorts.lt
The festival is partially sponsored by: Lithuanian Film Centre, Creative Europe Media, Audiovisual works copyright association AVAKA. Institutional partners: Vilnius City Municipality, Šiauliai City Municipality, Creative Europe Media desk in Lithuania, LATGA Association. Main media partner: LRT Epika.