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Vilnius International Film Festival (hereinafter – Vilnius IFF or the Festival) “Kino Pavasaris” is the largest cinematic event in Lithuania and one of the biggest film festivals in the Baltic countries known for its high-quality film programme and a rich accompanying package of cinema-related events, workshops and special initiatives. For 25 years, the Festival has become a highly attended cultural phenomenon. In 2019, the Festival was visited by 126 542 quality cinema lovers, i.e.10 thousand more than the previous year. Vilnius IFF takes place in more than a dozen different cities over two weeks. The Festival presents debuts and works from acknowledged film professionals. The programme of the Festival is divided into the following five categories: Discoveries, Festivals’ Favourites, Masters, Critics’ Choice, and Competition of European Debuts. Vilnius IFF believes in inclusivity and tries to make it easier for different social groups to attend films’ screenings. People with special needs are ensured a great experience by marking screening halls for people with movement disability, preparing special image audio translation for blind or visually impaired people and by preparing special subtitling for deaf or hard of hearing people. All films are subtitled in English to be understood by a wider audience. Vilnius IFF also collaborates with organisations from different cultures by presenting information about the films that could be of interest to the culture among the minorities and to get them to visit the Festival. To ensure participation of various age groups, Vilnius IFF provides special discounts to seniors and students. Special film programmes are created to be shown in the most convenient time for different age groups. Some films targeted to the youngest and the oldest audience are dubbed in the Lithuanian language. Vilnius IFF promotes the diversity of cultural expressions and hosts a large number of foreign artists creating them a platform to present their films and interact with their viewers. Vilnius IFF also pays special care in drawing attention to women in film, both behind and in front of the camera, and interlinking female filmmakers in the film sector. The pre-selection process of the film programme for Vilnius IFF aims to strengthen the position of women in films in the areas of directing, producing, acting, screenwriting, camera work, global distribution, etc. Since 2010, Vilnius IFF hosts an annual film industry event Meeting Point, i.e. Vilnius. Over 300 film professionals come to Vilnius every spring to participate in the events lasting for three days - conference on audio-visual topics, coming soon project presentations from the Baltic and Eastern partnership countries, industry screenings, Film Festival Forum and networking. The event is important for the Lithuanian film industry, allowing cinema professionals from other countries to discover the Lithuanian cinema market’s identity and foster partnerships across major international film festivals in Eastern and Central Europe. Founded in 2014, the company “Kino Pavasaris Distribution” (Operated by private limited liability company “Europos Kinas”) works as a subsidiary company of Vilnius International Film Festival. It aims to contribute to the diversity of art-house films in Lithuanian cinemas. The company specialises in the European, Northern and Latin American movies, including documentaries, culinary movies and focuses on festival distribution, theatrical distribution and alternative distribution with special events, open-air film screenings, cinema caravan in the small cities, video-on-demand distribution and TV distribution. To ensure a better access to culture from an early age, in cooperation with Vilnius City Municipality, Vilnius IFF has bought and sold film rights to schools - transferring films to legal viewing in educational programmes. Vilnius IFF is a socially responsible organisation that presents educational and social projects alongside numerous films and competition programmes. One of Vilnius IFF most successful projects is the Film Caravan. The project brings films to smaller towns located more than 25 km from the nearest cinemas and screens them for free. The main goal of the project is to bring auteur cinema to people who would not otherwise be able to see it. Vilnius IFF considers it as a priority to introduce young people to quality cinema based on their preference in films. In 2019, Vilnius IFF introduced a new initiative called Young Programmers. The project is co-organised with “Moving Cinema” and “Meno Avilys”, which implements the international film education project “Moving Cinema” in Lithuania. Eight 17-19-year-olds are offered an exciting opportunity to try out the roles of film programmers and select films that would be most relevant for their peers. Vilnius IFF pays a special attention to volunteering. Each year, around 300 film enthusiasts join the ranks of volunteers and become full-fledged members of the team while the festival is getting organised and taking place. Vilnius IFF welcomes volunteers of different ages, including the youth from 16 years old to seniors.
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Vilnius International Film Festival over its running years has become a highly attended cultural phenomenon and the most visited cinema festival in Lithuania. Vilnius IFF attracted a total of 470 270 people from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, the festival was visited by 126 542 guests, i.e. 10 thousand more if compared to the last year. Overall, 75 percent of the Festival attendees were women. From 2016 until 2019, Vilnius IFF has expanded from screening films in 5 biggest cities to 19 cities all over Lithuania. Vilnius IFF takes pride in its wide selection of films from various countries. By 2019 Vilnius IFF provided its audience with films from a total of 58 different countries. The programme mainly consisted of films from France (as many as 46, 30 of which were co-productions), Germany, United States. Vilnius IFF also offered films from Cameroon, Chile, Iran, Lebanon, South Korea, Sri Lanka, etc. Vilnius IFF hosted many international guests to help them engage in a dialogue with their audience. During the period from 2016 to 2019 guests from all over the world visited Vilnius IFF including those from Austria, Great Britain, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain and Slovenia. Vilnius IFF hosted international guests to help them engage in a dialogue with their audience. Vilnius IFF believes in gender equality and seeks to include more women in the film industry. In 2019, Vilnius IFF screened around 170 films, 34 percent of which were made by women directors. Since 2016, Vilnius IFF has distributed 26 films directed by women (three of them directed films together with a male-director). Vilnius IFF had worked for long years to reach these numbers and aims to increase them in the future. Vilnius IFF plays a significant role in providing better access to culture. Vilnius IFF project the Film Caravan targeted smaller towns in Lithuania – more than 25 km from the nearest cinema and showed quality films in the open-air. In 2016 – 23 towns, in 2017 – 33 towns, in 2018 – 19 towns and 2019 – 17 towns were visited. Film Caravan attracted approximately 10 000 visitors each year. Vilnius IFF cares in attracting the youth to the cultural life of Lithuania by buying and selling film rights to schools, to include quality films to the education programmes and by introducing a new initiative called Young Programmers in 2019 which is expected to improve the attendance of youth in the festival in the future.