Magazine article Screen International

Vilnius: 'Thirst' and 'I, Olga Hepnarova' Share Top Honour

Magazine article Screen International

Vilnius: 'Thirst' and 'I, Olga Hepnarova' Share Top Honour

Article excerpt

Bulgarian filmmaker Svetla Tsotsorkova's Thirst and the Czech directorial duo Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb's I, Olga Hepnarova [pictured] were declared joint winners of the Best Film in the New Europe - New Names competition at this year's Vilnius International Film Festival (March 31 - April 14).

Speaking at the awards ceremony in the Lithuanian capital's historic National Philharmonic Hall, International Jury member and Chilean film critic Pamela Biénzobas explained that the splitting of the top prize was "to acknowledge the diversity of cinematographic styles."

Other awards included best acting prizes to Thirst's Monika Naydenova and Our Everyday Life's Uliks Fehmiu, and Best Director to Poland's Agnieszka Smoczynska for her feature debut The Lure.

Meanwhile, the Best Film honour in the Baltic Gaze competition was won this year by Vitaly Mansky's documentary Under The Sun ahead of such titles as Tomasz Wasilewski's United States of Love, Ignas Miskinis's King's Shift, Thomas Vinterberg's The Commune and Hanna Sköld's Granny's Dancing On The Table.

Coming Soon Showcase

Vitaly Mansky's latest documentary, Close Relations. Ukraine, The Crisis, My Family And I, was among 20 projects presented in a Coming Soon showcase at the seventh edition of the festival's industry event, Meeting Point Vilnius (MPV).

Producers Simone Baumann (Saxonia Entertainment) and Guntis Trekteris (Ego Media) explained that Mansky's portrait about his family living in different parts of Ukraine was now in post-production after having been shot in Lvov, Odessa, Donetsk and Crimea between spring 2014 and autumn 2015.

The co-production between Latvia, Estonia, Germany and Ukraine will be handled internationally by Leipzig-based Deckert Distribution, the sales agent of Under The Sun.

Meanwhile, Planet Korda Pictures' Jeremiah Cullinane revealed that Swiss-based sales agent First Hand Films has taken on international distribution for Lithuanian director Olga Cernovaite's Butterfly City about the town of Visaginas which was created in the 1970s to service a Soviet nuclear power plant.

The Lithuanian-Irish-Danish co-production had previously been presented at Trieste's When East Meets West, Moscow Business Square and Nordisk Panorama.

From Sirk to Dostoyevsky

In addition, local producer-director Romas Zabarauskas unveiled the first footage of his second feature You Can't Escape Lithuania which he describes as being influenced by Douglas Sirk, New Queer Cinema and Dostoyevsky.

Lithuania's only openly gay filmmaker told Screen that post-production had only been completed last week on the film which is being handled internationally by UK-based John Flahive of Wavelength Pictures who also served as a co-producer on the low-budget production. …

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