Vilnius Short Film Festival International Competition showcases films from nearly 30 countries

News 2023-12-28

From South Africa, Japan or Argentina to Hungary, Ecuador or South Korea – audiences of the 17th edition of the Vilnius Short Film Festival will have a chance to travel anywhere they please on 17–23 January. This year’s programme is particularly generous: the six International Competition programmes will showcase films from nearly 30 countries and the full festival repertoire will feature as many as 21 programmes. Films in the International Competition will be assessed by a competent jury of both Lithuanian and foreign film industry experts.

The easiest way to choose what to see is to look at the titles of the programmes, which reflect the unifying theme of the five to six films in each programme. From wealth inequality and politics to the body or the digital day-to-day reality of life, from memory to coming of age, the Vilnius Short Film Festival repertoire is sure to wake you up from your winter slumber, provoke, make you laugh, or even flinch in thrill.

This year, films for the competitions have been selected by film researcher and curator Mantė Valiūnaitė, film director, scriptwriter and educator Andrius Blaževičius, and film critic, journalist Ieva Šukytė. Competition film selection assistants: film director and scriptwriter Benita Paplauskaitė, scriptwriter Rokas Jonas, film and music video director Indrė Juškutė, film director, scriptwriter Lukas Kacinauskas, and film director Arnas Balčiūnas.

Empty Pockets programme is focused on wealth inequality. I believe that this topic is highly prominent and relevant in today’s modern life. While some of the films in the programme are able to poke fun at social inequalities, others deliver masterful jabs that are edgy and poignant. Empty Pockets is aimed at those who are not indifferent to injustice,” says Andrius Blaževičius.

Mantė Valiūnaitė on the programme Bodily Functions: “Bodily functions. What is that? This time it’s not about eroticism, but rather a whole spectrum of different aspects of relationship with body, both own and foreign. From a person’s “recycling” into an object, to the diverse supporting roles of a little-known actress, Jill Goldston, or a flamboyant show by Oliver Sim of The xx. These bodily functions are truly multifaceted and likely to evoke a variety of reactions, which is what makes them interesting.”

“Police brutality in the US, people affected by the war in Ukraine, the final year of East Germany and the dictatorship in Iran. The programme Political Violence presents edgy films that reflect on historical memory and the shocking events of the modern world, the cruelties of which are hard to turn a blind eye to,” says Ieva Šukytė.

The programme (Dis)connected will ask questions: “How far are you willing to go for your followers? Could you pester your local council with phone calls about a simple bench?” These absurd, funny and at times shocking films will reveal what goes on in the closed meetings of an advertising agency, what the weather cameras capture in ski resorts, and who secretly came up with an idea to make animated videos about a woman’s life.

What do we remember and what do we forget? Is it any indication of the importance of things? Sometimes a sight, a sound or an encounter can trigger an avalanche of memories, often beyond our control. In the programme Remind Me, the theme of memory unfolds from very different perspectives and invites us to delve into the search for both individual and collective memory.

The 6th International Competition programme, Sour Maturity, as the name suggests, is dominated by stories of teenagers or young people. They all go through personal tectonic shifts in their lives, usually followed by fundamental changes. The films are all different, each story is varied and unique. ‘Sour’ is an apt word to describe the films in this programme and the mixed emotions they evoke.

The jury: film industry experts from Croatia, Italy and Lithuania

Like every year, an international jury will assess the competition and announce the winners, selecting the best films of the International and National Competitions, and awarding one film with the Festival Grand Prix. 

This year’s jury consists of Croatian producer and festival programmer Inja Korać, Italy’s Lago Film Fest artistic co-director and film producer Alessandro Del Re, and Lithuanian film director and DoP Laurynas Bareiša, whose debut feature Pilgrims premiered at the 78th Venice Film Festival where it won the Orizzonti Award for Best Film before winning several Silver Crane film awards in Lithuania. 

International Competition titles:

  1. 2720, dir. Basil da Cunha, Portugal, Switzerland
  2. Paradise Europe, dir. Paulo Menezes, Leandro Goddinho, Germany, Brazil
  3. None of These, dir. Patricio Martínez, Francisco Cantón, Argentina, Spain 
  4. Crack of Dawn, dir. Anna Llargués, Spain
  5. Grill, dir. Jade Hærem Aksnes, Norway
  6. Jill, Uncredited, dir. Anthony Ing, United Kingdom, Canada
  7. A Study of Empathy, dir. Hilke Rönnfeldt, Denmark, Germany 
  8. We Love Life, dir. Hana Vojáčková, United Kingdom 
  9. Human Resources, dir. Titouan Tillier, Isaac Wenzek, Trinidad Plass Caussade, France
  10. Hideous, dir. Yann Gonzalez, United Kingdom
  11. As It Was, dir. Anastasiia Solonevych, Damian Kocur, Poland, Ukraine 
  12. And How Miserable is the Home of Evil, dir. Saleh Kashefi, Switzerland, Iran
  13. Margarethe 89, dir. Lucas Malbrun, France
  14. Back, dir. Yazan Rabee, the Netherlands
  15. Incident, dir. Bill Morrison, USA
  16. I Was Once Lost, dir. Emma Limon, France
  17. The Veiled City, dir. Natalie Cubides-Brady, United Kingdom
  18. What the Soil Remembers, dir. José Cardoso, South Africa, Equador
  19. A Bird Called Memory, dir. Leonardo Martinelli, Brazil, United Kingdom 
  20. Memories of a Perfect Day, dir. Davina Maria, Belgija, Portugal, Liban, Hungary
  21. A Kind of Testament, dir. Stephen Vuillemin, France
  22. Bugs, dir. Gwai Lou, Malaysia
  23. Offline, dir. Mauritz Brekke Solberg, Daniel Fure Schwarz, Norway
  24. Recordings of a Weather Camera, dir. Bernhard Wenger, Austria, Germany
  25. The Waves, dir. Yumi Joung, South Korea
  26. Municipal Relaxation Module, dir. Matthew Rankin, Canada
  27. Lemon Tree, dir. Rachel Walden, USA
  28. Ebounda, dir. Perrin Sombo, Central African Republic, France
  29. 27, dir. Flora Anna Buda, France, Hungary
  30. Waking up in Silence, dir. Mila Zhluktenko, Daniel Asadi Faezi, Ukraine, Germany
  31. Oyu, dir. Atsushi Hirai, France, Japan 

The 17th edition of the Vilnius Short Film Festival will take place in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, and Šiauliai as well as local VoD platform ŽMONĖS Cinema on 17–23 January. The festival is organised by the Lithuanian short film agency Lithuanian Shorts.

More info and regularly updated programme at

The festival is partially sponsored by the Lithuanian Film Centre, Creative Europe Media, and the 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.