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Four Short Films in Vilnius Festival Competition

The short film competition section at the 20th Kino Pavasaris Vilnius International Film Festival, showing in competition 32 films from Central and Eastern Europe, includes four Croatian titles: The Chicken by Una Gunjak, On Shaky Ground by Sonja Tarokić, President Nixon’s Present by Igor Šeregi and Separation by Nina Violić. Besides these, other sections are screening Island of Love by Jasmila Žbanić, These Are the Rules by Ognjen Sviličić, Tiha K. Gudac’s documentary Naked Island, and Croatian minority co-productions No One’s Child by Vuk Ršumović and Itsi Bitsi by Ole Christian Madsen.

The multiple award-winning The Chicken by Una Gunjak, made in German-Croatian co-production, speaks about a girl named Selma whose father sends her a chicken as a birthday present to occupied Sarajevo. The film has so far won over 20 festival awards, including the European Film Award for best short film. On Shaky Ground by Sonja Tarokić won the Golden Pram at the last year’s ZFF for best Croatian film in the Checkers programme, and focuses on the trials and tribulations in a family caused by the father’s financial issues which he long kept secret. President Nixon’s Present by Igor Šeregi is a story about Peđa and Stipe, low-ranking intelligence officers in the Yugoslav Army who get a task to transport US president Richard Nixon’s present to Tito to Tito’s summer residence in Brioni. The short fiction film written and directed by actress Nina Violić Separation, whose international premiere takes place precisely at this festival, focuses on the restlessness and anxieties boiling beneath maternal love and care and explores how a mother feels with a potential loss or separation from the child.

Other festival sections include other five titles. Island of Love, directed by Jasmila Žbanić, produced by Produkcija Živa (Croatia), Komplizen Film (Germany), Okofilm (Switzerland) and Deblokada (Bosnia and Herzegovina), screens in the Lithuanian capital in the Viasat Comedies category. These Are the Rules screens in the Festival’s Favourites section. It was directed by Ognjen Sviličić and the leading actor Emir Hadžihafizbeghović has recently won the best actor award at the 43rd FEST international film festival in Belgrade. Tiha K. Gudac’s debut Naked Island is featured in the section Documentaries.Colourful life. It is a story about facing the family past which marked her grandfather’s imprisonment at the Goli otok political concentration camp.

No One’s Child is shown in New Europe – New Names category. This minority Serbian-Croatian co-production written and directed by Vuk Ršumović speaks about a real boy found deep in the mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina, found by hunters in spring 1988, who later ended up in an orphanage in Belgrade. The Danish-Croatian co-production written and directed by Ole Christian Madsen Itsi Bitsi is shown in the Masters section – a biopic about Eik Skaløe, a famous Danish activist, poet and musician from the 1960s.

Kino Pavasaris Vilnius International Film Festival, taking place between 19 March and 2 April, is one of the most prominent and highly expected cultural events in the Baltic, attracting over 40 thousand people. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the festival prepared a rich programme of cinematic treats from across the world, accompanied by workshops, special theme programmes and side events. It will screen over 200 film titles in around 20 categories.

Check out more information on the official festival website.

Title photos: scenes from The Chicken, On Shaky Ground, President Nixon’s Present and Separation

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