The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic did not conquer one of the most important European film celebrations – San Sebastian Film Festival has begun and invites audiences to cinemas until 26th September. Lithuanian films as well as Lithuanian co-productions were selected as part of the film programmes in these difficult times, despite competition numbering in thousands. This year actor Aistė Diržiūtė will not be competing for the awards, but rather will be evaluating the first creations of the new film creators in the New Directors competition.
The main competition has invited 17 films from Cannes label, amongst them Šarūnas Bartas’s creation uniting talents of six nations – “In the Dusk”. Film production partners being – Lithuania, France, Serbia, Portugal, Czech and Latvia.
World premiere of the Lithuanian – Spanish co-production “Lobster Soup” (dir. Pepe Andreu and Rafa Molé) will take place, the script was co-authored, and the film co-produced by Lithuanian documentary film director Arūnas Matelis. The story presenting the legendary Bryggjan café, particularly significant to the community in Grindavik, Iceland, and its fate will compete for the Irizar Basque Film Award.
Lithuanian film makers present films in San Sebastian Film Festival since 2013. In 2019, Ignas Jonynas’s Invisible competed for the New Directors award, while in 2013 his debut film The Gambler was the first Baltic film to ever enter this film programme.
A thematic retrospective organised at the festival in 2014 – Eastern Promises. Portrait of Eastern Europe in 50 films featured two Lithuanian films: Šarūnas Bartas’s Eastern Drift (2010) and Kristina Buožytė‘s drama Vanishing Waves (2013). Lithuanian student films have also received attention at the festival – in the student film programme short-films The Camel (dir. Laurynas Bareiša, 2016), After Rave (dir. Kamilė Milašiūtė, 2014) and Youngblood (dir. Marija Kavtaradzė, 2013) were screened.
With Lithuanian teams becoming more active in the international projects we can celebrate the victories of co-produced films: in 2018 Russian-Lithuanian co-productions took part in the New Directors programme with a co-produced drama Core of the World (dir. Natalia Meshchaninova, co-prod. Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė (Just a Moment)), in 2016 Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian co-produced film Pretenders (dir. Vallo Toomla, co-prod. Uljana Kim (Studio Uljana Kim)) took part in the same programme. In 2018 Zabaltegi-Tabaklera programme Lithuanian-Spanish co-production Trot(dir. Xacio Baño, co-prod. Marija Razgutė (Čiobreliai, M-Films) 2018) was screened.
The 68th international San Sebastian Film Festival which is taking place on 18 to 26 September is one of the most noteworthy A Class film festivals in the world and one of the most important cultural events in Spain.