Dustin Hoffman's 'Quartet' Kicks Off Vilnius International Film Festival

Quartet Film Still - Dustin Hoffman - H 2012
The Weinstein Co.

The 18th edition of the festival will feature American independent cinema, short films and the "New Europe — New Names" competition.

BERLIN – The 18th edition of the Kino Pavasaris Vilnius International Film Festival (March 14-28) started Thursday in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, with select screenings in Kaunas, the country’s second-largest city. The festival opened with Quartet, the Golden Globe-nominated comedy directed by Dustin Hoffman, and will close with the Hungarian film Final Cut -- Ladies & Gentlemen, directed by Gyorgy Palfi.

International guests include Croatian actor Rade Serbedzija (Before the Rain), Russian director Alexei Fedorchenko (First on the Moon), Berlin-based Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa (In the Fog), British actor Dexter Fletcher (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and writer-producer Simon Perry, chairman of the Irish Film Board and the European independent producers’ collective Ace Producers.

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The Vilnius IFF competition “New Europe -- New Names” is devoted to debuts and second films from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. This year, 12 films from Romania, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Slovakia, Lithuania and Georgia will compete for the main prize.

The festival has a special showcase of American independent cinema, featuring eight films with international resonance – Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of Southern Wild, Craig Zobel’s Compliance, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ Ruby Sparks, Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and Ben Lewin’s The Sessions.

The festival also will feature a short-film competition judged by British Estonia-based film critic Laurence Boyce, filmmaker Danilo Serbedzija (Rade Serbedzija’s son) and filmmaker Oona Mekas, daughter of Lithuanian experimental filmmaker and poet Jonas Mekas. Other programs include a documentary competition, a noncompetitive international program, premieres of Lithuanian films, the VIASAT Comedy Festival, New Russian Cinema and a partial Jean-Luc Godard retrospective.

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“We are glad that the festival is acknowledged by international industry players,” said Algirdas Ramaska, executive director of Vilnius IFF. “We will welcome some outstanding people at our fourth industry event ‘Meeting Point -- Vilnius’ (March 25-28). And we are especially glad to welcome programmers from important film festivals like San Sebastian, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Locarno and Gothenburg. We will present the newest Lithuanian and Baltic films and projects in progress for them. Our main goal is to show the regional potential and promote films from Baltics.

“We will also be the first festival to screen [Austria-born director] Ulrich Seidl's entire Paradise trilogy, with Margarethe Tiesel, the main actress from Paradise: Love, in attendance,” added Ramaska. “We are especially proud of that.”

The jury, which comprises Palestinian film and theater actor Ali Suliman, Romanian actress Ada Condeescu, Turkish film director and screenwriter Yesim Ustaoglu, Italian film critic and curator Giovanni Ottone and Croatian actor Leon Lucev, will reveal the competition winners at the closing ceremony March 28.


New Europe -- New Names competition program

Children of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, France, Turkey), directed by Aida Begic
Baby Blues (Poland), directed by Kasia Roslaniec
Eastalgia (Ukraine, Germany, Serbia), directed by Daria Onyshchenko
Keep Smiling (Georgia, France, Luxembourg), directed by Rusudan Chkonia
Krivina (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada), directed by Igor Drljaca
Loving (Poland), directed by Slawomir Fabicki
My Dog – Killer (Slovakia, Czech Republic), directed by Mira Fornay
Of Snails and Men (Romania), directed by Tudor Giurgiu
Redemption Street (Serbia), directed by Miroslav Terzic
Rocker (Romania, France, Germany), directed by Marian Crisan
The Color of the Chameleon (Bulgaria), directed by Emil Christov
Vanishing Waves (Lithuania, France, Belgium), directed by Kristina Buozyte