The 71st Cannes International Film Festival – one of the most important film industry events around the globe – opens today and will take place on May 8–19. Lithuania will traditionally present its potential at the festival’s film market Marché du Film. About 50 representatives of the Lithuanian film industry will take part at the market and across the programme set up for industry professionals. Producer Lukas Trimonis was selected for the networking platform Producers on the Move, the special programme Vilnius Goes to Cannes will feature the film Isaac by the filmmaker Jurgis Matulevičius while the country’s pavilion will promote Lithuanian films and raise awareness about the Lithuanian film tax incentive which has already brought over €8.5m of investments into film production in Lithuania during the past few years.
“Each visit at the Cannes shows that we don’t really need to explain where we come from or how we work anymore”, Dovilė Butnoriūtė, the head of the Lithuanian pavilion and the head of Department of Film Promotion, Information and Heritage at the Lithuanian Film Centre, says. “Lithuania has fortified its position on the global film industry map as a regional hub of professionals. Festival programmers show interest in the films currently in production and in Lithuania as a partner country offering exciting and diverse content through retrospectives and special programmes. This year we will focus on special events to strengthen industry ties between Lithuania and the Baltic states, Poland, Croatia, and Georgia, and to promote co-production. We get a lot of attention and honoured guests, so we can only hope that the coming days bring new projects and good results.”
Lithuanian pavilion at the Cannes film market
The Lithuanian pavilion will provide information to foreign film industry professionals and advise on the current situation in the local film industry market, on shooting opportunities, and on the benefits of the corporate tax incentive. It will also introduce the latest Lithuanian films and projects that are still in production, the country’s film industry guide, and the restored Lithuanian film classics in the publications Lithuanian Films 2017–2018 and Lithuanian Film Industry Guide released by the Lithuanian Film Centre this year. Representatives of the country’s film industry will present their projects, finished productions, and services, look for collaboration opportunities and new business partners, hold meetings at the Lithuanian pavilion, and develop international film promotion projects.
Lukas Trimonis will represent Lithuania in the programme Producers on the Move. Despite the huge competition, he was selected for the networking platform as one of the 20 most promising, up-and-coming European producers. For almost two decades the programme of the European Film Promotion has been aiming to promote long-term cooperation between the European countries in the film industry, while the participants are selected according to their co-production experience and premieres beyond their native countries. Four other Lithuanian producers have also taken part in the programme – Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė in 2016, Živilė Gallego in 2015, Donatas Žvalionis in 2012, and Ieva Norvilienė in 2006.
Producer Lukas Trimonis
During the intense 5-day programme, Trimonis will present three co-productions he is currently working on – Eglė Vertelytė’s tragicomedy Miracle (Lithuanian-Bulgarian-Polish co-production), Neringa Medutytė’s documentary Waiting for Invasion (2017; UK-Lithuanian co-production) and the feature film Oleg by the Latvian filmmaker Juris Kursietis, which is currently in post-production (Latvian-Belgian-Lithuanian co-production).
The great news is that the Miracle – which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017 being the first Lithuanian film at the festival in the past 17 years and was launched on a successful tour around international festivals – will be presented to the French public at large tomorrow. From May 9, the Miracle distributed by Urban Distribution will reach the cinemas across France.
Yet another Lithuanian name will be mentioned at the Cannes Film Festival when presenting The Short Films and Cinéfondation Jury – the Lithuanian filmmaker Alantė Kavaitė will rate the short films in competition and the productions selected for the Cinéfondation programme dedicated to the works from a variety of film schools. Kavaitė’s film The Summer of Sangaile gained international critical acclaim three years ago. It was awarded for the best directing at the leading American independent film festival Sundance and screened in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Panorama section as well as at the Marché du Film.
Filmmaker Alantė Kavaitė
Lithuanian filmmakers should be noted for their contribution to the feature film Donbass by the famous Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa, which was selected as the opening film of the programme Un Certain Regard at the Cannes this year. Just as in Loznitsa’s A Gentle Creature which was screened in the main competition programme last year, Danielius Kokanauskis was once again entrusted with editing the film, while the Lithuania-based Vladimir Golovnitski took care of sound.
This year, the special programme Vilnius Goes to Cannes, which features works in progress, will introduce Jurgis Matulevičius’ film Isaac produced by Stasys Baltakis (production company Film Jam). The exclusive opportunity to make this presentation and to build partnerships with foreign sales agents, distributors and festival programmers was arranged by the Vilnius International Film Festival “Kino pavasaris”.
Isaak by Jurgis Matulevičius
The Short Film Corner at the Cannes will feature Gabrielė Urbonaitė’s latest work The Last Day of School. The previous work of this young generation filmmaker titled Back was also selected for the programme in 2016.
The Last Day of School by Gabrielė Urbonaitė
The first Lithuanian-Georgian co-production Namme directed by Zaza Khalvashi will have a special screening at the Cannes film market. This presentation has been arranged by the sales agent Alpha Violet. The world premiere of Namme took place in the competition programme of the Tokyo International Film Festival in the autumn of 2017. The European premiere took place at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
Namme by Zaza Khalvashi
The Cannes Film Festival will also host the first meeting of the European film festival network Moving Images – Open Borders initiated this year. The Lithuania-based European Film Forum Scanorama is one of the seven founding members of the network, which will foster the artistic value and regional peculiarities of European film, and mentor new European filmmakers and talents.
The presentation of the Lithuanian film industry at the Cannes film market is sponsored by the Lithuanian Film Centre. This huge global film industry event is visited by over 12,000 professionals each year including 4,000 producers, over 3,000 buyers and distributors, as well as 1,000 festival programmers.