Lithuanian animation poised to make an impact at Annecy
by Vassilis Economou
- With two films in the official selection and a delegation of 15 Lithuanian animation and VR professionals, the Baltic country is aiming high at the leading French gathering
Lithuania will enjoy a strong presence at the 43rd Annecy International Animation Film Festival, with two short films in the official selections and the biggest-ever Lithuanian delegation at the festival’s market, Mifa. This success comes as no surprise, as alongside the staggering growth of the Lithuanian film industry over the past two years, the animation and virtual reality (VR) sectors have also featured prominently at leading international film festivals, and the future looks bright.
Starting with the films, The Juggler by Skirmanta Jakaitė (Lithuania/France), produced by Art Shot, Tripode Productions and Perspective Films, has been selected for Annecy’s Short Film Competition. Jakaitė’s latest work, which world-premiered at DOK Leipzig, is an allegorical animation about how humans spend their lives juggling all of their responsibilities. It should be noted that this is the first Lithuanian animated film to be produced using the Lithuanian tax incentive scheme (see the news).
The second film, selected in Annecy’s Perspectives Short Film Competition, is Winter in the Rainforest by Estonian director-sculptor Anu-Laura Tuttelberg, an Estonian-Lithuanian-Mexican co-production by Nukufilm, Moon Birds Studios, Studio Carabás and Art Shot. Shot in the tropical rainforests of Mexico and Peru, the film captures the eternal dance of life and death, as experienced by magical creatures made of porcelain – animals, birds, insects and flowers – which are fragile and resilient at the same time. The world premiere will be hosted by Animafest Zagreb just before the movie’s arrival at Annecy.
The aforementioned projects have already received the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre. In the last two years, the centre has distributed almost €800,000 in funding for the production and development of six animated films, with two of them being international co-productions, and two VR experiences. Three more animated films are in the pipeline in Lithuania: Matilda by Ignas Meilūnas is about a character who wants to be the smartest girl in the world (produced by M-Films); Milkshake Bar by Urtė Oettinger is an animated story about modern families and the challenges they face (produced by Art Shot); and Snow Shelter by Robertas Nevecka tells a story about a freezing winter in war-torn, modern-day Vilnius (produced by Meno avilys).
Finally, at the Mifa, Lithuania will have a significant presence at the Baltic stand, thanks to a partnership between the Lithuanian Film Centre, Vilnius Film Cluster and the Lithuanian Animation Association. The country will be represented at Annecy’s market by 15 Lithuanian animation and VR professionals, including representatives of the partner associations, producers, directors and sales agents, who will be presenting their current line-ups as well as looking for promising new projects.
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