Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin / This is Not a Story from Berghain

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In 1989 Hollywood sweetheart David Hasselhoff was looking for freedom behind the iron curtain so badly, today Berlin doesn’t need any statues of liberty – the city is a live statue of freedom itself. All the curtains and walls are long gone, only the ones for street art and cinema screenings are left. And if you would come to Berlin on a dark autumn day some of these movies projected on the walls would speak Lithuanian to you! Because 8 years ago Giedre Simanauskaite, a fresh Berliner, decided that not only dark bread, branch or some pagan bracelets are worth traveling the world, presenting our country – films can do it too. And so, she brought them to Berlin. Ran Lithuanian cinema festival for a week. And it led to seven more.

by RINGAILE PAPARTYTE

Today the team of Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin – a group of Lithuanians and their foreign friends celebrating-working-living all the freedom of Berlin – are counting the last hours until all the shorts, white and black Retrospective and big Lithuanian cinema names will hit Berlin. Aiste Povilaikaite, festival partner, just ran even shorter in time as she told us more about the perks of waking up, living and falling asleep with the 8th Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin festival.

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Berlin is not the place to get bored. There is a scene for one’s ideas and the scene for one’s struggle while trying to keep that idea alive. What’s the recipe of Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin staying all hot and growing?

Berlin is full of space, as well as creativity. People here are constantly looking for new inspirations, flavours and ideas. Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin is the only Lithuanian film festival outside of its home country, which really helps us to stand out. 

The Baltic states are still very exotic to Berlin's environment. We have this young vibrant culture, style and innovative taste when it comes to art and culture, but you can also feel a little bit of the post-soviet heritage which is so interesting for many. I would say that the mixture of exactly these ingredients makes us unforgettable for those who came to the festival at least once.

It is also important to mention that Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin has developed into a platform that gives film enthusiasts understanding of the cinematic art and culture of Lithuania all year around. So, we do not let anyone forget about us throughout the year as well. 

Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin – well heard of-visited-spoken about – is more about being a festival for every nosy soul or an event for locals, knowing what to expect? Do you find yourself at home while introducing the festival to the cultural minds and worlds of Berlin?

We are a festival for everyone – Lithuanians in Berlin who like Lithuanian films, their friends and family, those who are into culture in general, as well as for explorers who are fancy for some more exotic experiences in Berlin. 

Berlin is a very open city where everyone is welcomed. This vibe you can also feel during our festival. The audience is always very international, diverse and colourful just like the city itself. It is amazing to see how our Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin crowd is growing every year. 

So, who are the lucky ones to join the club?

The audience is surprisingly active and loyal I would say. One can see the same faces and it really feels like a family gathering sometimes. The crowd is always a great mix of cultures, guests from Lithuania, real Berliners and accidental visitors who have never heard about Lithuania. We are very happy to see that age as well as language barrier disappears when we talk in the language of film. 

Imagine Lithuania is a movie hero from the vivid program that festival offers this year. Could you find one reflecting Lithuania and the people behind all these Lithuanian cinema shots the best? The one you would give as an example to those accidental visitors?

There is no film or just one character that we would like to point out here. There are so many great movies that we are going to show, as well as great creators and artists joining, so it is really difficult to say that one is more representative than the other. 

I would say that we have something for everyone. This time we will have a Retrospective section, which represents the history of contemporary Lithuanian cinema and contains two great movies from the previous century. We will also enjoy 4 sessions of overall 28 Lithuanian shorts. And last but not least - 3 Festival pearls. In this diverse mix all the international visitors of the festival will for sure be able to taste a little bit of Lithuania.  

Let’s travel a bit – what about the taste of Latvian and Estonian cinema – one of the novelties of the program? Any plans on wider cinematic-geographic expeditions-collaborations in the future?

We are very glad to partner up with Latvian and Estonian film creators, as well as their respective embassies and represent the Baltic States and their culture through the film industry. It is not that the collaborations like these are a necessity but we are proud to show and represent the region. Currently, we would want to focus on the Baltics as there is still so much to be shown to the world from this area.  

The program sounds like no joke and is probably worth a last-minute visit to Berlin. Would you take care of such visitors with no plan, sitting on a plane which is about to leave in 5 minutes?

Yes of course! Our team in Berlin would gladly welcome you all at any of the screenings, invite you to join us for 15 minutes VR experience where user experiences the bloodshed at Vilnius TV tower on 13 January 1991 as a journalist or just have a dance at our opening concert with Junior A. Just come by to say labas/ hi and we will make sure that your Berlin weekend is full of experiences and unforgettable moments. And we can give you some real-berliner tips as well.

When asked about the movie character that Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin could relate to, Aiste mentioned that the festival would be a pretty brave and rebellious but welcoming young person who is appreciating the past. So big ups to all the rebels behind the scenes.
The founder and program director Giedre Simanauskaite is the one who came up with the idea and has been managing the festival for 8 years now. After living in Berlin for 9 years, Giedre decided to come back to Lithuania and is currently working with the project 'Kurk Lietuvai'. 

Aiste Povilaikaite, a Berliner for 7 years now, have spent 3 years with the festival and is responsible for events and partnerships. During the day Aiste works with business development at the H&M Group. 

One of the non-Lithuanian team members Alex Buchholz is the technical coordinator and has been with the festival for years now as well. SPUTNIK cinema and writing articles – that’s what Alex does when festival is not on his mind. 

Ruta Mickeviciute and Gediminas Drigotas are the ones responsible for the volunteers of the festival. 

All the guests coming from Lithuania meet Auste Serapinaite first of all. She is in touch with Lithuanian press as well.

Greta Pagojutė does the magic on social media. 

Milena ČM is a Vilnius-based exhibition coordinator, who is also a Sole artist behind MISSHAPEN.

Visit Litauisches Kino Goes Berlin on November 1st to 5th , and say labas/ Hi to this huge cinematic family. Find more about the festival here.

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