New Ukrainian, Homegrown Lithuanian Talent and Local Audiences

VILNIUS, March 26, 2023. This year’s Vilnius International Film Festival returned to a fully in-person edition as one of Europe’s strongest supporters for Ukrainian filmmakers, celebrating a fresh wave of homegrown Lithuanian talent while local audiences returned in record numbers and the city is celebrating its 700th anniversary this year.

VIFF closed with a special screening of the observational documentary LETTERS TO UKRAINE, which is collectively and voluntarily made by the Lithuanian film community. All proceeds of the feature-length doc that closely follows someone close to the devastating war that is disrupting Europe will go to the Lithuanian Red Cross
helping out Ukraine.


The Ukrainian feature LA PALISIADA by Philip Sotnychenko (FIPRESCI award IFFR 2023) is the winner of this year’s Coming Soon competition, a 8,000 Euro cash prize offered by the municipality of Vilnius. The jury consisting of Polish distributor Jakub Duszynskis (Gutek Film), festival director Miguel Valverde (IndieLisboa), director/producer/actress Dounia Sichov and director Laurynas Bareiša noted that, “Our strong emotional response was connected with an innovative technique and playfulness, which provoked curiosity and a desire to return to cinema.” 

This desire was echoed by the festival’s CEO Algirdas Ramaška, who comments on the festival’s 80,000 visitors. “It was great to see the hustle and bustle in the cinemas; film fans waiting for their screening and already choosing their next film, people trying to jump from one event to another, extensive feedback and sharing of experiences on films. This year we had an absolute feeling of togetherness. The dominant theme in almost all of our films was relationships. After such hard pandemic years and the war, we feel the need of being better version of ourselves and being together.” 

VIFF’s industry program Meeting Point Vilnius concluded its Coming Soon competition with three winners, including the Lithuanian documentary POŽERSKIS: IN FOCUS by Joris Skudra. As Head of Industry Alessandra Pastore comments, “Together with curator Edvinas Pukšta we offered sales agents, buyers and programmers a wide range of projects in terms of countries and genres–from Lithuania to Armenia, from fiction to animation. Our other main achievement was having our Talents Nest program on site, which means that 25 emerging professionals from the Baltic countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine were able to come here for a five-day study visit made possible by the EU4Business: Connecting Companies project. Their presence made MPV a real meeting point for filmmakers facing the post-covid and war consequences.” 


Best Film - LA PALISIADA by Philip Sotnychenko 

Best Lithuanian Film - MARIUPOLIS 2 by Mantas Kvedaravičius and co-director Hanna Bilobrova 

Best Short Film - NEIGHBOUR ABDI by Douwe Dijkstra 

Best Short Film special mention - SHADOWS OF THE BUTTERFLIES by Sofia El Khyari 

Best Lithuanian Short Film - CHERRIES by Vytautas Katkus 

Audience Award - THE EIGHT MOUNTAINS by Charlotte Vandermeersch, Felix van Groeningen 

La Palisiada
2023 / Ukraine / dir. Philip Sotnychenko
Ля Палісіада
Mariupolis 2
2022 / Lithuania, France, Germany / dir. Mantas Kvedaravičius
Mariupolis 2
Neighbour Abdi
2022 / Netherlands / dir. Douwe Dijkstra
Neighbour Abdi
Short film
Shadow of the Butterflies
2022 / France, Portugal, Qatar, Morocco / dir. Sofia El Khyari
L'Ombre des Papillons
Short film
2022 / Lithuania / dir. Vytautas Katkus
Short film
The Eight Mountains
2022 / Italy, Belgium, France / dir. Charlotte Vandermeersch, Felix van Groeningen
Le otto montagne

Meeting Point Vilnius winners 

Avaka Best Lithuanian Pitch Award - POZERSKIS: IN FOCUS by Joris Skudra 

The Lithuanian Film Center Award - NOBODY LIKES ME by Tomas Weinreb and Petr Kazda 

MARCHé DU FILM-Producers Network Awards - Juste Michailinaite producer of POZERSKIS: IN FOCUS and Mina Dreki producer of ISTHMUS  


The Vilnius Film Festival is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre, co-funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Creative Europe MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Vilnius City Municipality and Go Vilnius. Vilnius IFF Kino Pavasaris is an independent private initiative.  


MPV is organized in cooperation with Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts together with partners, Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia curates Creative Industries sector within the Eurochambres project EU4Business: Connecting Companies. 

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