Founded in 2004, the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (VDFF) proudly holds the title of being the longest-running international documentary film festival in the Baltic States and the only festival in Lithuania dedicated exclusively to creative documentaries.
Each year, VDFF presents 5 to 7 documentary programs, with a diverse selection of approximately 30 long and short films. The main program highlights recent productions that have received acclaim at major documentary festivals (Berlinale, IDFA, Visions du Réel, Cinema du Reel). Notably, the program not only showcases the latest works by renowned documentary filmmakers but also introduces the viewers to the brightest emerging voices in the documentary field.
In addition to the main program, VDFF offers parallel programs dedicated to retrospectives, a glimpse into documentary classics, hidden gems, and contemporary themes. Annually, the festival presents premieres of Lithuanian documentaries and a retrospective program dedicated to Lithuanian or Baltic documentaries.
We are always keeping a close eye on the happenings in the documentary world, discussing the situation of documentaries in the context of Lithuanian film festivals, and rethinking how the VDFF fits in. Since 2019, we have included a VR film program, which has been hugely popular so far. And in 2023, as we celebrate the festival’s 20th birthday, we are introducing an exciting new program of experimental documentaries that push the limits and go beyond traditional boundaries. This is our way of making the festival even more exciting for today's filmmakers and welcoming new audiences.
The VDFF is more than just films; it’s also a meeting place. During the festival, screenings are accompanied by conversations with filmmakers and are presented by film critics, filmmakers' representatives, and experts in the field. Since the festival's inception, we've had the privilege of hosting many filmmakers, artists, and film characters, such as Eitvydas Doškus, Antanas Mockus, Agnė Marcinkevičiūtė, Darius Žiūra, Jurgis Matulevičius, Mindaugas Survila, Audrius Stonys, Fern Silva, Cynthia Beatt, Colin McCabe, Miroslav Janek, Pip Chodorov, Kim Hopkins, Jeffrey Perkins, Peter Sempel, Nicolas Philibert, Pawel Lozinski, Sergej Dvorcevoj, Viktor Kossakovsky, Leonard Retel Helmrich, and others.
Since 2021, the VDFF has actively participated in the Young Programmers initiative, led by the non-profit organization Meno Avilys and the international project Moving Cinema. Through these collaborations, students get hands-on experience learning the basic steps of organizing a film festival and have the exciting opportunity to present their own program.
Every year, our team of programmers collaborates with like-minded film curators and academics who share a passion for the art of documentary filmmaking. We also work with organizations in other artistic fields. The festival’s programs have been initiated and curated by Aleksas Gilaitis, a film archivist and curator, who is also a co-founder of the pre-war film festival First Wave; director Lina Lužytė; political philosopher Egidijus Mardosas; and film scholar Anna Mikonis-Railienė.
Previous festival editions have been supported by Meno Avilys, Lithuanian Library of Medicine, Kirtimai Cultural Centre, Kino Pavasaris, Nepatogus Kinas, SODAS 2123, Vilnius Academy of Arts, Kaunas Artists’ House, Cinema Centre Romuva (Kaunas), ArleKinas Cinema (Klaipėda), Dainava Cinema (Alytus), and others.
Mark your calendars: the 20th edition of the VDFF will be held from 21st September to 1st October 2023.
See you there!