Winter Brothers crowned Best European Debut at Vilnius Film Festival Kino Pavasaris
by Vassilis Economou
- Jens Assur’s Ravens has won the Cineuropa Prize and Bertrand Mandico the Best Director Award for The Wild Boys, underlining the Lithuanian festival’s focus on debuts
The Vilnius Film Festival Kino Pavasaris has wrapped its expanded and feature debut-packed 23rd edition by awarding Hlynur Pálmason’s Winter Brothers [+see also:
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile] as Best Film in the inaugural European Debut Competition. The awards ceremony was held on Friday 30 March at the Forum Cinemas Vingis, and was hosted by the festival’s general director, Algirdas Ramaška, and Richardas Jonaitis and was broadcasted live by LRT Culture.
The jury of the European Debut Competition, which is a combination of the former New Europe – New Names and Baltic Gaze programmes, comprised festival strategist Kathleen McInnis, Iranian actor Homayoun Ershadi, Jerusalem Film Festival programme director Elad Samorzik, Lithuanian producer Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė and Lithuanian filmmaker Audrius Stonys. They stated, “Winter Brothers heralds a new voice in arthouse cinema.” Danish lead actor Elliott Crosset Hove also received the Best Actor Award for his role as Emil, one of the two eponymous winter brothers in the successful and award-festooned offbeat romantic drama.
For the first time at the Vilnius Film Festival, the Cineuropa Prize was handed out, and the jury bestowed it upon Jens Assur’s drama about eternal generational conflicts, Ravens [+see also:
interview: Jens Assur
film profile], as it is “a subtle, silent-yet-elegant film that may get lost in the noise of louder, more mainstream movies”. The Best Director Award was handed to French filmmaker Bertrand Mandico for his edgy gender-bending drama The Wild Boys [+see also:
interview: Bertrand Mandico
film profile]. Finally, for her debut leading role in Kantemir Balagov’s coming-of-age drama Closeness [+see also:
film profile], Russian actress Darya Zhovnar received the Best Actress Award.
Another first for the Vilnius Film Festival was that it played host to a FIPRESCI Prize, and the members of the jury awarded it to Robert Schwentke’s World War II drama The Captain [+see also:
interview: Robert Schwentke
film profile]. Also for the first time, an animated film topped the audience poll, as Loving Vincent [+see also:
interview: Dorota Kobiela
film profile] by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman received the Best Feature Audience Award, while Edita Kabaraitė’s celebratory documentary on the centenary of Lithuania’s independence, 100 Years Together, snagged the Best Lithuanian Feature Audience Award. The public also chose the recipients of the Best Lithuanian Actor Awards, handing them to Eglė Mikulionytė for Miracle [+see also:
interview: Eglė Vertelytė
film profile] and Valentinas Novopolskis for the short student film Snake. The other Lithuanian winner of the night was Laurynas Bareiša, who received the Best Short Film Award for his By the Pool.
It is worth noting that the 23rd Vilnius Film Festival Kino Pavasaris has not been limited to the capital, as the screenings were hosted for the first time in 11 Lithuanian cities, racking up more than 115,000 admissions nationwide from 15-29 March. Also, some of the most popular films of the 168 selected will be shown in Vilnius and Kaunas up until 12 April.
Here is the complete list of winners at the 23rd Vilnius Film Festival Kino Pavasaris:
European Debut Competition
Elliott Crosset Hove - Winter Brothers
Best Lithuanian Feature Film
100 Years Together - Edita Kabaraitė (Lithuania)
Valentinas Novopolskis - Snake (Lithuania)
Best Short Film
Mother - Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Spain)
Short Film Competition
Best Short Film
By the Pool - Laurynas Bareiša (Lithuania)
Little Hands - Rémi Allier (Belgium/France)
Student Film Awards
Best Student Film
Mono No Aware - Emilija Juzeliūnaitė (Lithuania)
Perspective Student Director
Titas Laucius – Snake
Vytis - Jevgenij Tichonov (Lithuania)
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