Renowned Directors and Award-Winning Films Coming to Vilnius IFF (photos)

The biggest film festival in Lithuania will return for its 23rd edition on March 15th. The event will welcome notable guests, including the director of “The Florida Project” Sean Baker and Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai with his most recent documentary “West of the Jordan River”. Vilnius IFF is set to visit 11 cities – more than ever before – and screen around 170 films.

The festival’s carefully curated programme will bring last year’s outstanding films to Lithuanian audiences, including Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-nominated “Call Me By Your Name”, the Emma Stone starring “Battle of the Sexes”, directed by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, “Lumière!” from the Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux, honouring the brothers who started it all, and the first fully painted animated feature “Loving Vincent”, whose directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman will meet with festivalgoers.

The impressive list of guests also includes Swedish rapper and human rights activist Silvana Imam. Born to a Lithuanian mother and Syrian father, she took the music world by storm with her feminist songs and attitude. Her journey is explored in the documentary “Silvana”. As previously mentioned, Sean Baker will visit two screenings of his award-winning film, while Amos Gitai will present his controversial exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Credits: Robertas Daskevičius, Gediminas Gražys, Audrius Solominas

Xavier Legrand’s “Custody” will open the festival, paired with the director’s Oscar-nominated short film “Just Before Losing Everything” (2013). There will be more special screenings showing feature films alongside thematically similar shorts – one of this year’s new additions to the programme. Hypnotizing Lithuanian documentary by Mindaugas Survila “The Ancient Woods” will close the festival in all 11 cities.

The 23rd Vilnius IFF will also welcome the FIPRESCI jury. For the first time, members of this prestigious association will visit Lithuania and award one film from the Baltic region their prize. The organizers have also decided to focus on new filmmakers from all of Europe, instead of just the Baltic region, Eastern and Central Europe, by establishing the Competition of European Debuts. “There was a time when we needed to support the new European cinema from post-Soviet countries. However, these films can now hold their own when compared to Western European cinema. That’s why we made debuting European directors our priority,” said senior programmer Santa Lingevičiūtė.

Festival tickets will go on sale March 1st. The constantly growing festival received more than 114 000 filmgoers last year and shows no signs of slowing down. This is the sixth year that Vilnius IFF has partnered up with ERGO to grow and improve.

More about the programme here.