About the Festival
Vilnius International Film Festival “Kino Pavasaris” is the largest and most widely attended cinema event in Lithuania. Founded 25 years ago, the festival has become a significant part of the country’s cultural life.
Over two weeks, Vilnius IFF presents a contemporary film programme that is notably diverse in genre and geography. Particular attention is paid to the history of film, national premieres and industry developments. The main competition programme dedicated to debut films is the highlight of the festival.
The 26th Vilnius IFF will take place March 18 – April 1, 2021.
The past decade has seen an increase in festival attendance, from 55 000 to 126 000 in 2019. This year, the 25th anniversary edition of the festival switched to a digital format – one of the first in the world to do so. Due to the pandemic, physical screenings were moved to five streaming platforms.
Over two weeks, films made available online were streamed more than 58 000 times. According to data from the research company Kantar, most often two, sometimes three or more people watched each film.
More information about the results is available here, and in the video below.
A Broad Outlook
The film programme at Vilnius IFF is exceptional for spotlighting distinctive filmmakers from countries that are often internationally overlooked. Around 170 feature and short films are screened during the two-week-long festival. Creators of narrative, documentary, animated and experimental films come to Vilnius IFF to meet with festivalgoers.
Films are divided into the following programmes: Competition, Critics’ Choice, Discoveries, Festivals’ Favourites, Masters and Retrospectives.
Continental feature films take part in the European Debut Competition, while short films are included in the Short Competition. Films created in the Baltic region are assessed by the FIPRESCI jury. A list of the 2020 winners can be found here.
Screen 9 is a space for fans of unconventional cinema. It is dedicated to retrospectives as well as experimental films that provoke discussions and are seldom screened at film festivals, much less included in regular movie theatre programmes.
Every year, Vilnius IFF decides on a concept that guides its film programme and visual identity. This theme reflects the world that surrounds us, important aspects directors observe, experience and address in their work.
In collaboration with the artist duo Pakui Hardware, the 2020 edition of the festival foresaw Futures as explored in various narratives. More on this visual identity here.
Meeting Point – Vilnius
In 2020, the industry event Meeting Point – Vilnius (MPV), which has been held during the festival for the past 10 years, was cancelled due to the pandemic. The major event allows professionals from other countries to discover the Lithuanian film industry and helps foster close partnerships between international film festivals of Eastern and Central Europe.
MPV has been granted patronage by Eurimages, a prominent co-production support fund.
In place of the cancelled MPV, a virtual conference for film industry professionals titled “The Challenge of Organising a Digital Festival During the Coronavirus Pandemic” was held after Vilnius IFF. CEO Algirdas Ramaška shared his presentation and advice with over 500 festival organizers and other industry professionals from around the world. A recording of the conference is available here.
Vilnius IFF doesn’t limit its activities to just the two-week-long festival. The most popular films are screened for free during summer months at Film Caravan and Summer Movies outdoor events, working together with Kino Pavasaris Distribution to share auteur cinema with the broadest possible audience.
This spring, Vilnius IFF organized Aerocinema – a month-long series of experiential screenings which became an international sensation. For the first time in history, a drive-in theatre was opened on the airport tarmac.
The team at Vilnius IFF emphasize creative solutions, which often become the basis of successful partnerships with public and commercial institutions. Existing and potential partners are offered professional sponsorship programmes. Another one of the festival’s goals is to foster cooperation between the creative industries and the business sector.
Our team often acquires new skills as well as shares their experience at various workshops, conferences and seminars in Lithuania and abroad. Projects with clear partner integration go on to win competitions.
The 2021 edition of Vilnius IFF will take place March 18 – April 1.