Winners of Vilnius IFF have been announced

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA -- A Romanian film starring the south-eastern European country's top veteran actor Victor Rebengiuc, that uses a robotic canine as a motif in a poignant tale of loss, separation and love, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu's Japanese Dog won best film and a $9,600 cash award late Thursday at the Vilnius International Film Festival.

The festival, which closed its 19th edition at the Baltic state city’s historic Philharmonic Hall, lauded first and second films in its main New Europe, New Names competition and regional discoveries in a new section, Baltic Gaze.

Arturas Zuokas, who presented the award for best film, joked: "Next year during the 20th edition of the festival we will make the working day shorter so that people can see all the movies."

Other winners in the main competition, awarded by an jury chaired by Japanese actress and producer,Kaori Momoi, were: Best director Levan Koguashvili for Blind Dates (Georgia); best actor Igor Samobor(Class Enemy, Slovenia); best actress Michaela Bendulova (Miracle, Slovakia, Czech Republic). A Cicae, international art house cinema organization, award also went to Rok Bicek, director of Class Enemy.

 

In Baltic Gaze, best film was The Hope Factory, a debut feature about life in a bleak provincial industrial city in Siberia, by Russian director Natalia Meshaninova; best director was Poland's Pawel Pawlikowski for Ida; best actor Lauri Lagle for Free Range, (Estonia, dir: Veiko Ounpuu); and best actress Alexandra Finder  (The Police Officer’s Wife, Germany, dir: Philip Groning).

 

Best short film was Pandas by Slovak director, Matus Vizar and audience awards went to Palestinian filmOmar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad and short film Kush by India's Shubhashish Bhutiani.