VILNIUS - Fantastic films from across the world will be coming to Vilnius on March 19 for the two week long Kino Pavasaris (Cinema Spring) film festival. But this year the festival will be more than just a collection of good movies 's for the first time ever the event will hold its own film competition.
KP, which will show over 100 films, will launch its own film awards competition like the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. KP's competition is meant to honor, expose and encourage the film industry in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
The competition, titled "New Europe 's New Names," will only include debuts or second feature films made by CEE filmmakers, KP Executive Director Algirdas Ramaska told The Baltic Times.
"We are very proud that we can present this program this year. This year is a special year for this city as Cultural Capital. It is for new Europe 's films from Central and Eastern Europe. We would like to support those film makers from these countries similar to Lithuania. We have the same problems as all these other countries 's not enough funding or not enough possibilities," he said.
Films from Latvian, Estonian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak and Bosnian directors will be judged. The two Lithuanian entrants were forced to pull out as financial difficulties delayed the production of their films.
The festival is aimed at helping young directors get off the ground.
"Most of the films selected for the competition program are from such countries as Lithuania, where it is difficult to get funding for filmmaking. We believe that the promotion of the names of young directors will help them in the future to receive funding for their new film projects, which will be worth even greater awards," Vida Ramaskiene, KP director said in a press release.
British actor Dexter Fletcher will lead a jury panel along with Lithuanian musician Andrius Mamontovas, German actress Julia-Maria Kohler, American producer Barr Potter and Indian film critic Phatiba Sastry to decide the winners of the competition.
The jury panel will choose one "best feature film," which comes with a cash prize, and two other special jury prizes.
The competition will feature 49 films.
KP organizers hope that the festival will become a respected international festival.
"We don't want to be too brave, but we would like to be an important festival in our region and promote films for our region," Ramaska said.
Among debuts and films from the CEE region, organizers have selected a "best of the best," of world cinema. A selection of award winning films from other film festivals will make up the bulk of the program, which is broken up into several parts.
Viewers have the chance to see critically acclaimed works in the "Masters" program, controversial films with "Brave vision," new filmmakers' works in "Discoveries," bold documentaries in "Actual Documentaries," the newest Lithuanian filmmakers works in "Lithuanian News" and exotic and unknown foreign countries films in the "Special Program."
The "Festival Pearls" program will feature films that scored the most awards in film festivals, like Venice Film Festival 2008 star "The Wrestler," Cannes 2008 Grand Prix winner Italian Matteo Garrone's "Gomorrah" and the Cannes 2008 Palm d'Or winning film "The Class," by France's Laurent Cantet.
The Masters program will feature Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's "The Achilles and the Tortoise" and "The Dream" by Korea's Ki-Duk Kim among other works by renowned film directors.
The "Special Program" will feature a number of non-Bollywood Indian films that explore the country.
The festival will also include 16 Lithuanian titles, six of which will be shown for the first time.
Lithuanians have an obsession with films, Ramaska said.
"I think in the 14 years we have had the festival we have done a great job growing our audience 's last year we had 50,000 people, which is big for our region. We are the leaders in the Baltics. Sometimes it's hard to get tickets. We have good fans and a smart audience who are waiting the whole year around for this. Some people are planning their holidays around this. We really respect and we are happy to have such an audience," the organizer said.
KP will run from March 19 to April 2 in Vilnius' Forum Cinema Vingis and Skalvija movie theaters.