march 14–27


Winners of the 26th Vilnius IFF Announced

“Gritt” by Itonje Søimer Guttormsen won the Best Film title in the European Debut Competition for its tremendous portrait of creative, economic, and social failure, while the film’s lead Birgitte Larsen took home the award for Best Actress.

The festival went digital for the second year in a row, with winners announced during a live broadcast. Ainhoa Rodríguez was named Best Director for her impressively distinct vision in “Mighty Flash”. The Best Actor title went to Pierre Deladonchamps for his enthralling performance in the tense social thriller “Rascal” by Peter Dourountzis. Visual artist Tim Leyendekker’s bold and justly provocative “Feast” received Special Mention.

10 feature films were selected for the European Debut Competition. The winners were chosen by a jury consisting of artistic director of Venice Film Festival’s Giornate degli Autori sidebar Gaia Furrer; Canadian filmmaker Denis Côté; Hungarian filmmaker Lili Horvát; vice president of content at MUBI Daniel Kasman; and Lithuanian producer Marija Razgutė.

“Places” by Lithuanian director Vytautas Katkus received the Best Short Film award, while “Fish Like Us” by Raphaela Schmid earned Special Mention. The Short Competition winners were announced by Japanese film critic and journalist Nanako Tsukidate and Lithuanian filmmaker Ignas Meilūnas. French film director and cinematographer Camille Degeye rounded out their three-person jury.

The FIPRESCI Prize, awarded to films created in the Baltic region, went to “People We Know Are Confused” by Lithuanian director Tomas Smulkis, which skilfully and sensitively links three lives.

Jasmila Žbanić’s Oscar-nominated “Quo Vadis, Aida?”, a harrowing retelling of the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre, received the Audience Award. Viewers also picked “Swamp” by Klementas Davidavičius as their favourite Lithuanian Film and “The Little Bird and the Bees” by Lena von Döhren as the best Short Film.

Winning films and audience favourites will continue to be available on-demand, with the hope of screening them in-person once movie theatres reopen.

According to preliminary data, 100,000 viewers streamed the festival line-up. “We’re glad that the language of film transcended our physical separation, providing an unparalleled sense of community and closeness,” said CEO of Vilnius IFF Algirdas Ramaška, thanking fans for their support. “Together with our partners we were able to provide safe experiences following quarantine restrictions, such as the private screening rooms in hotels that surely left indelible memories,” shared Ramaška.

Photos authors Gediminas Gražys, Tautvydas Stukas ir Robertas Daskevičius

The awards ceremony was also broadcast on the drive-in screens in Kaunas, next year’s European Capital of Culture. Organizers of Kaunas 2022 gifted viewers a special musical performance that closed out the event.

The project is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre, sponsored by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, European Commission’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, and Vilnius City Municipality. Vilnius IFF Kino Pavasaris is an independent private initiative.


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