About Festival

Vilnius International Film Festival (Vilnius IFF) Kino Pavasaris is the biggest and most important cinema event in Lithuania. Over more than 20 years, the festival has become a highly-attended cultural phenomenon. The 2018 edition of the festival was visited by more than 116 thousand viewers – 2,300 more than last year. This year, Vilnius IFF will take place in 19 cities over two weeks – more than ever before.

Our carefully curated programme has earned festival recognition from viewers and industry professionals alike. Now in its 24th year, the festival’s visual identity „Don‘t rush. Imagine“ will encourage you to slow your pace and find time for yourself and quality cinema. The programme again focused on a variety of international auteur cinema and events that combine audience education with the film industry, provide the opportunity to share the experience as well as acquire new knowledge.

Vilnius IFF visual identity in 2019
Vilnius IFF visual identity in 2019

In 2018, Vilnius IFF screened around 170 films, including 12 Lithuanian premieres. This year the festival continues to present strong debuts and works from acknowledged masters of film. The large programme has been divided into just 5 categories: Discoveries, Festivals’ Favourites, Masters, Critics’ Choice, and Competition of European Debuts.

Every year, we hold at least 2 retrospectives of historically significant films. This year, the festival will honour two different but very influential film directors. The French modern cinema queen Claire Denis and Senegalese film director Djibril Diop Mambéty. These and many more exceptional filmmakers‘ works will be shown in screen 9. Here the festival-goers are invited to dwell into a provocative and inspiring programme that you rarely will find in regular film theatres. 

Vilnius Film Festival 2018
Vilnius Film Festival 2018

Since 2009, the festival’s competition programmes have become our phenomenal calling card for international film industry professionals and a great educational tool for festivalgoers. This year, films from debuting European directors took part in the Competition of European Debuts.

In 2018, Vilnius IFF was also the first Lithuanian festival to welcome members of the prestigious FIPRESCI association. Robert Schwentke’s World War II drama The Captain was awarded by the FIPRESCI jury. The FIPRESCI Prize is significant proof of the festival’s quality being recognized on an international level.

The festival also organizes major Lithuanian premieres. Last year, “The Ancient Woods”, an impressive documentary directed by Mindaugas Survila, closed Vilnius IFF. “Breathing into Marble” by Giedrė Beinoriūtė, based on an award-winning novel, was also included in the Lithuanian film programme, alongside 10 short films that signal the rise of a new generation of filmmakers.

Viewers were able to vote for their favourites in the Best Lithuanian Actor and Actress Competition.

Many renowned international guests have come to present their films and interact with viewers, including Michel Hazanavicius, Joshua Oppenheimer, Emir Kusturica, Mike Leigh, Leos Carax, Werner Herzog, Sergei Loznitsa, Krzysztof Zanussi and others. This year’s list of guests includes Sean Baker, Silvana Imam, Homayounas Ershadi and others. This year the festival expects to welcome many famous as well as debuting filmmakers.  

Silvana Imam, the star of documentary SILVANA, visited the festival
Silvana Imam, the star of documentary SILVANA, visited the festival

In 2018 the international audiovisual industry event Meeting Point - Vilnius received around 300 guests from all around the world. The intensive development programme for film festival professionals Developing Your Film Festival took place during the event. In its 10th edition MPV programme has been enriched with the Talent Nest programme co-organized together with MAIA workshops. We are also happy to continue our partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, with an international Meeting Point – Vilnius jury selecting in-development projects to take part in the special Marché du Film programme Goes to Cannes.

Meeting Point – Vilnius
Meeting Point – Vilnius

Meeting Point – Vilnius is an important event for the Lithuanian film industry, allowing cinema professionals from other countries to discover the Lithuanian cinema market’s identity and foster partnerships between major international film festivals in Eastern and Central Europe.

Vilnius IFF pays special attention to volunteering. Each year, around 300 film enthusiasts of various ages join the ranks of volunteers and become full-fledged members of the team while the festival is getting organized and taking place.

Festival volunteers
Festival volunteers

Vilnius IFF is a socially responsible organization that presents educational and social projects alongside the numerous films and competition programmes. One of our most successful projects is the Film Caravan. During May–September 2018, it travelled to 19 towns and organized 41 free outdoor screenings of films beloved by our festivalgoers. The project’s main goal is to bring auteur cinema to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to see it.

A moment from the Film Caravan
A moment from the Film Caravan

Another fresh initiative that has brightened up the whole team of VIFF Kino Pavasaris is Young programmers. The initiative is co-organized together with Moving Cinema and Meno Avilys. Eight 17 – 19-year-olds will share their film recommendations as well as behind the scenes of 24th VIFF Kino Pavasairs.