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National Film Awards Silver Crane Celebrate 15th Anniversary

National Film Awards Silver Crane Celebrate 15th Anniversary

As Lithuania’s most prestigious national film awards approach, it’s an ideal moment to reflect on how the Lithuanian film industry and its global visibility have transformed over the past fifteen years. Is fifteen years a long or short period? Judge for yourself.

Over 500 Lithuanian Films Produced

In fifteen years, not only have the annually celebrated Silver Cranes evolved significantly, but so has Lithuanian cinema. According to the Lithuanian Film Centre, the last decade alone has seen 185 Lithuanian premieres, with 502 Lithuanian or co-produced films made. The growing popularity of Lithuanian cinema is also evident in ticket sales. Between 2013 and 2023, over 6 million viewers attended screenings of Lithuanian films.

Film critic Santa Lingevičiūtė, who, along with the Selection Committee, chose this year’s nominated films, is particularly pleased with the increasing number of films produced annually and the awards at A-class festivals.

Evolution of Lithuanian Cinema

“Thirty years ago, when generations changed in Lithuanian cinema, the breakthrough was evident. At that time, the bar for professional Lithuanian cinema was raised and has since been held high by Šarūnas Bartas, Audrius Stonys, Arūnas Matelis, and Valdas Navasaitis,” says Lingevičiūtė. “Later, emerging filmmakers took advantage of the absence of censorship. This generation, including Giedrė Beinoriūtė, Saulius Drunga, Ignas Miškinis, Kristijonas Vildžiūnas, and Giedrė Žickytė, began searching for a new cinematic language, introducing previously unseen characters – people trying to survive political and social transformations.”

“The current generation, including Lina Lužytė, Laurynas Bareiša, Marija Kavtaradzė, Karolis Kaupinis, Aistė Žegulytė, Andrius Blaževičius, and Marat Sargsyan, inspired by the Romanian New Wave, sought not only new themes in their debut short films but also tried to define a new reality. Their films are aimed at their peers, attempting to start a dialogue and share experiences. The films of the current generation are socially engaged, a type of cinema that was greatly lacking in independent Lithuania. Cinema, like other arts, is a living organism, a continuous process, as generations and cinematic trends change. Let’s not forget the emerging generation, whose works will undoubtedly shine beyond Lithuania’s borders,” she adds.

International Success of Lithuanian Films

Lithuanian films have premiered at many A-class film festivals: Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Sundance, Tallinn Black Nights, and Warsaw.

In recent years, filmmakers have achieved extraordinary success. The Sundance Film Festival recognized Marija Kavtaradzė for her direction in Slow. The Tallinn Film Festival awarded Tomas Vengris’ Five and a Half Love Stories in an Apartment in Vilnius Director Irma Pužauskaitė’s The Ninth Step was acquired by Central European HBO, and producer Uljana Kim received the prestigious Eurimages and European Film Academy Co-Production Award. All these creators will walk the red carpet at this year’s Silver Crane awards. The Silver Crane awards not only celebrate the best of Lithuanian cinema but also highlight the industry’s growth and increasing impact on the global stage.