In April, the German city of Wiesbaden becomes a meeting point and a promotion platform for Central and Eastern European film and filmmakers. The 18th goEast festival, which kicks off today, is shining a spotlight on the Baltic States with a symposium, “Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema”, dedicated to the national cinemas of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, their histories, pursuits of national and cultural identities. The festival’s programme also includes some of the key recent titles of Baltic cinema. The project is part of a wide-ranging tripartite programme with which the Baltic States present their cinemas to Europe on the occasion of their centenary of statehood.
The carefully selected titles from Central and Eastern Europe in goEast film programme and the symposium are to reflect the region’s cinematic diversity: from contemporary filmmakers to their historical predecessors, from experimental to arthouse and popular film, with new spaces for discussions on film aesthetics, sociopolitical and theoretical underpinnings of filmmaking. The festival seeks to be a forum for an East-West dialogue, open up a space for creative interactions, discussions, workshops, lectures, cooperations with other cultural and societal institutions, networking, exchanges of experience, professional development opportunities for young filmmakers who will benefit from numerous programmes and projects organized by the festival.
Feelings by Almantas Grikevičius, Algirdas Dausa (1968)
“The visibility of Lithuanian filmmakers and has improved significantly over the recent years, newest films are being screened in the most important European festivals. But it is important to represent the industry with not just the most recent titles, we also pay attention to our cinematic heritage, we want to maintain a dialogue, to discuss tradition, its contemporaries, to study filmic identities with film experts, to survey what we have achieved, what makes us distinctive, what we are today. We have been thinking to present ourselves in an event like this for quite some time – so it is an important moment for us, crowning our efforts to put together a strong programme, bring experts, masters, important titles. It’s a result of cooperation among the three countries,” says project manager Dovilė Butnoriūtė, head of the Department of Film Promotion, Information and Heritage at the Lithuanian Film Centre.
Devil’s Bride by Arūnas Žebriūnas (1974)
The symposium “Hybrid Identities – Baltic Cinema” will include lectures and discussions focusing on Baltic pursuits of identity between 1918 and 1990; the film historian Dr. Lina Kaminskaitė–Jančorienė will talk about Lithuanian film production during the transitional 1980s; the Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Audrius Stonys, the Latvian filmmaker Laila Pakalniņa, the Latvian National Film Centre director Dr. Dita Rietuma and the Latvian film critic Elīna Reitere, among others, will share their insights about Baltic cinema.
Complementing the daytime discussions will be screenings of master works by the likes of Vytautas Žalakevičius, Almantas Grikevičius and Algirdas Dausa, Raimundas Banionis, Arūnas Žebriūnas, Robertas Verba, Valdas Navasaitis, Henrikas Šablevičius, Saulius Beržinis, Audrius Stonys.
Miracle by Eglė Vertelytė (2017)
The main goEast film programme will introduce the general cinema-going public to contemporary films from Central and Eastern Europe. The sixteen titles in competition will include Mindaugas Survila’s new documentary The Ancient Woods and Eglė Vertelytė’s tragicomedy Miracle. Vertelytė, alongside her producer Lukas Trimonis, are also invited to present the film as a case study at East-West Talent Lab, an education and experience exchange programme for young filmmakers. Eastern Business (dir. Igor Cobileanski), a Romanian-Moldavian-Lithuanian coproduction, and Giedrius Tamulaitis’ VR short Shil will be screened out of competition.
The Ancient Woods by Mindaugas Survila (2017)
goEast film festival, organized since 2001, seeks to present the diversity and richness of Central and Eastern European cinema in the very “heart of the West” and raise awareness of the region’s filmmaking and its relevance to international cinema. Each year, the festival’s programme of more than 100 feature, documentary and short films attracts up to 400 industry professionals and 11,000 cinema-goers.
Lithuanian filmmakers have presented their works in Wiesbaden before. In 2005, the festival screened Earth of the Blind (dir. Audrius Stonys), The Corridor (dir. Šarūnas Bartas), Illusions (dir. Diana and Kornelijus Matuzevičiai), The Lease (dir. Kristijonas Vildžiūnas), while Audrius Stonys’ Countdown was in competition. In 2006, the festival offered a retrospective of Šarūnas Bartas’ films; The Balcony (dir. Giedrė Beinoriūtė) was part of the film school programme in 2010. Lina Lužytė’s feature documentary Igrushki was screened in competition in 2013. In 2015, goEast screened documentary Barzakh by Mantas Kvedaravičius, and the Latvian-Lithuanian war drama Exiled (dir. Davis Simanis) was selected for competition programme in 2017.
The presentation of Baltic cinema at goEast and the symposium is organised in partnership with Lithuanian Film Centre, Latvian National Film Centre and Estonian Film Institute.
Friday 20, April
Historical Melodrama – Identities and Mythologies in Latvian Pre-War Cinema
Prof. Dr. art. Inga Pērkone
The Second Awakenings. On the Foundation of the National Film Studios in the Baltic Soviet-Republics
Olaf Möller, Barbara Wurm
14:00 Panel discussion
Pärn, Nukufilm & Co. – Small Estonia, Great Animation
Priit Pärn, Mait Laas und Andres Mänd
Saturday 21, April
Estonian Sixties and the End of the (Soviet) Thaw
On Documentary Poetry and Cultural Identity: The Riga School
Zane Balčus, Ābrams Kleckins
The National and the Transnational in Soviet and Post-Soviet Estonian Cinema
Prof. Dr. Eva Näripea
14:00 Panel discussion
Slow Transitions – Elusive Tranquility. On the Pace of Baltic Cinema
Elīna Reitere, Audrius Stonys & Laila Pakalniņa
Sunday 22, April
Long 80ies: Lithuanian Film Production in Transition
Dr. Lina Kaminskaitė-Jančorienė
In Search of Identity or: Heroes and Losers in Contemporary Latvian Cinema
Dr. Dita Rietuma
14:00 Closing Discussion
Lithuanian Film Screenings at the goEast Symposium
Classic Feature Films
Nobody Wanted to Die („Niekas nenorėjo mirti“)
Director Vytautas Žalakevičius / Lithuanian film studio, 1966
Devil’s Bride („Velnio nuotaka“)
Director Arūnas Žebriūnas / Lithuanian film studio, 1974
The Children Of The Hotel “America“ („Vaikai iš „Amerikos“ viešbučio“)
Director Raimundas Banionis / Lithuanian film studio, 1990
The Old Man and The Land („Senis ir žemė“)
Director Robertas Verba / Lithuanian film studio, 1965
A Trip Across Misty Meadows („Kelionė ūkų lankomis“)
Director Henrikas Šablevičius / Lithuanian film studio, 1973
The Brick Flag („Vėliava iš plytų“)
Director Saulius Beržinis / Lithuanian film studio, 1988
Autumn Snow („Rudens sniegas“)
Director Valdas Navasaitis / Studio Kinema, 1992
Director Audrius Stonys / Studio Kinema, 1995
Lithuanian Films in Other Sections of goEast
The Ancient Woods („Sengirė“) / Competition
Director Mindaugas Survila / VšĮ Sengirė, 2017
Miracle („Stebuklas“) / Competition
Director Eglė Vertelytė / In Script, Orka Film, Geopoly, 2017
Eastern Business („Kartą Rytų Europoje“) / Bioskop
Director Igor Cobileanski / Alien Film Entertainment, Brio Film Production, Kanoi Film, Just a Moment, 2016
Shil („Shil“) / Open Frame Award
Director Giedrius Tamulaitis, 2018