The 14th Vilnius International Short Film Festival, one of the first film festivals of 2021 running between January 14th and 19th, announced its official selection of films screening in its National and International competition programmes. With 33 films from across the globe and 11 films from Lithuania, the competition is a diverse and far-reaching selection of some of the fiction, documentary and animation made over the past year.
Due to the pandemic, the 2021 edition of the Vilnius International Short Film Festival will bypass cinemas and give audiences from across Lithuania the chance to watch programmes in the comfort of their own homes via VOD platforms. In the festival’s National Competition, 11 homegrown films will compete for the title of Best Lithuanian Short.
With more than 1500 entries received for consideration for the International Competition, the final 33 films that were selected represent a wide geographical spread with films from the likes of Chile and the Philippines. The 2021 programmes, grouped thematically, include Fast Heartbeat, a selection of films guaranteed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. Audiences can watch a documentary about a football referee, “Das Spiel”, by Swiss director Roman Hodel. In Search of Closeness has films that explore the search for a close relationship in a world of individualists and includes a French short animation “Mémorable” by Bruno Collet. Me and Myself asks the question “Who Am I?” among such films as Palme d’Or 2020 winner “I am Afraid to Forget Your Face” (dir. Sameh Alaa), while My Fair Existence has characters looking for the meaning of life in such films as documentary “Deep Waters” by Xacio Baño (Spain). Head On reflects efforts to maintain one’s identity, in such films as the Columbian/US drama “Between You and Milagros” (dir. Mariana Saffon), and issues of the modern day are confronted in Not Fake News, including the Russian documentary “The Golden Buttons” by Alex Evstigneev.
The films for the International Competition were selected by Andrius Blaževičius, director and screenwriter, Monika Gimbutaitė, film critic and journalist, and film producer Klementina Remeikaitė.
The selection was judged on January 17 by an international jury consisting of Sanne Jehoul, director of the Glasgow Short Film Festival, Zofia Jaroszuk, animation producer from Poland, and Jurgis Matulevičius, Lithuanian film director and screenwriter nominated for the European Film Academy Award. The films to be selected for awards are in the categories of best documentary, best fiction, best animation and best Lithuanian short film.
The best Lithuanian short selected in this year’s competition was Dummy (Atkūrimas) by Laurynas Bareiša. The jury deemed this a masterful and compelling story, that is a comment on maleness and gender roles, with examples of micro- and macro-agression as well as dark humour which appears in an unexpected narrative twist. Familiar, yet subtle expressions, and frugal yet revealing dialogue shows the young director’s grasp of the genre and his actors.