Dok Leipzig’s Focus on Lithuania: Historic Documentary Retrospective and Three Premieres

Kadras iš G. Žickytės filmo „Kaip mes žaidėme revoliuciją“

The 61st edition of DOK Leipzig, an international festival for documentary and animated film which kicks off today, has Lithuania as its country in focus to celebrate Lithuania’s statehood centenary. The international public will see a documentary retrospective encompassing three generations of filmmakers, “Challenges of (In)Dependence”, in addition to three Lithuanian premieres vying for the festival’s prizes. Lithuanian filmmakers are also taking part in DOK Leipzig’s industry events.

The particularly extensive Lithuanian retrospective is the biggest national cinema programme at the world’s oldest documentary festival in 12 years. “It is a great honour to take part in DOK Leipzig as the guest country during our celebrations of statehood restoration centenary. Lithuanian filmmakers are enjoying a truly exceptional attention from the festival organisers this year. We are happy to present to international audiences Lithuanian contemporary documentary filmmaking as well as films that have been inaccessible abroad for a long time due to historical circumstances,” says Rolandas Kvietkauskas, the director of the Lithuanian Film Centre.


A still from R. Verba’s film The Old Man and the Land (1965)

The celebrated filmmaker Audrius Stonys has been invited to curate the documentary retrospective. The programme, “Challenges of (In)Dependence”, captures the Lithuanian nation’s key historical turning points and presents three generations of filmmakers who lived in very different times: children of the war, of independence and of the digital age. The eldest generation is represented by the films of Robertas Verba, Edmundas Zubavičius and Henrikas Šablevičius; the early independence years are reflected in the films by Šarūnas Bartas, Arūnas Matelis, Audrius Stonys and Valdas Navasaitis; Giedrė Žickytė’s and Mindaugas Survila’s films capture the shifts of the digital generation.

kadras is filmo po restauravimo

A still from A. Stonys’ film The Earth of the Blind (1992)

Additionally, three new Lithuanian films will screen in DOK Leipzig’s competitive programmes. The long documentary and animated film section “Next Masters” includes Sandro Bozzolo’s documentary Nijolė and Aistė Žegulytė’s debut feature Animus Animalis (a story about People, Animals and Things), both having their world premieres at Leipzig. Skirmanta Jakaitė’s latest animated short The Juggler will receive its world premiere in the International Competition Short Documentary and Animated Film section.

Kadras iš S. Bozzolo filmo „Nijolė“

A still from S. Bozzolo’s film Nijolė (2018)

The last time a Lithuanian title competed for a DOK Leipzig prize was in 2015 when Giedrė Žickytė brought her documentary Master and Tatyana. Over the last decade, four Lithuanian films were included in the festival’s competition and four shorts were presented to the public in Leipzig. Lithuanian animators last featured in 2013 with Reda Tomingas’ animated short Guilt.

Kadras iš S. Jakaitės filmo „Žonglierius“

A still from S. Jakaitė’s film The Juggler (2018)

Lithuania will also feature during industry days at DOK Leipzig. Producer and director Giedrė Žickytė, producers Agnė Adomėnė, Giedrė Burokaitė and Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė will take part in the DOK Co-Pro Market. Žickytė will be presenting the young documentarian Marija Stonytė’s film One Life at the DOK Short’n’Sweet pitching event for short film projects.

DOK Film Talk will include a discussion “Lithuanian Documentaries – A Poetic Look at Reality”, moderated by the well-known documentary expert Tue Steen Müller (Denmark). Directors Giedrė Žickytė and Mindaugas Survila will discuss their country’s documentary tradition and how it impacted their own artistic explorations.

Kadras iš A. Žegulytės filmo „Animus Animalis (istorija apie žmones, žvėris ir daiktus“

A still from A. Žegulytė’s Animus Animalis (a story about People, Animals and Things) (2018)

DOK Leipzig is the world’s oldest and one of the biggest and most important international festivals for documentary and animated film, attended by up to 50,000 viewers each year and featuring over 300 documentary and animated films from around the globe. The 61st edition of the festival runs October 29 through November 4.

The Lithuanian film programme is organised and supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre in cooperation with the media education and research centre “Meno avilys” and the Embassy of Lithuania in Germany. The event is dedicated to commemorating the centenary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence.


Country Focus Lithuania: Challenges Of (In)Dependence

Post War Generation: Landscapes of Forbidden Memory

The Old Man and the Land (Senis ir žemė), dir. Robertas Verba, 1965
A Trip Across Misty Meadows (Kelionė ūkų lankomis), dir. Henrikas Šablevičius, 1973
No Foe Can Scare Us (Mums nebaisūs jokie priešai), dir. Edmundas Zubavičius, 1978
The Dreams of Centenarians (Šimtamečių godos), dir. Robertas Verba, 1969
Sensitivity as Bread (Jautrumo kaip duonos), dir. Edmundas Zubavičius, 1979

Born with Independence: In Search for Inner Landscapes

Ten Minutes Before the Flight of Icarus (Dešimt minučių prieš Ikaro skrydį), dir. Arūnas Matelis, 1990
In Memory of a Day Gone By (Praėjusios dienos atminimui), dir. Šarūnas Bartas, 1990
Autumn Snow (Rudens sniegas), dir. Valdas Navasaitis, 1992
The Earth of the Blind (Neregių žemė), dir. Audrius Stonys, 1992

Children of Digital Age: Exploration of the New World

How We Played the Revolution (Kaip mes žaidėme revoliuciją), dir. Giedrė Žickytė, Lithuania, France, 2011
The Field of Magic (Stebuklų laukas), dir. Mindaugas Survila, 2011

Official Selection: Next Masters Competition 

Nijolė (Nijolė), dir. Sandro Bozzolo, Lithuania, Italy, 2018 | Documentary | World Premiere
Animus Animalis (a story about People, Animals and Things) (Animus Animalis (istorija apie žmones, žvėris ir daiktus), dir. Aistė Žegulytė, Lithuania, 2018 | Documentary | World Premiere

Official Selection: International Competition Short Film

The Juggler (Žonglierius), dir. Skirmanta Jakaitė, Lithuania, France, 2018 | Animated Film | World Premiere