Washington, D.C. — Mr. Landsbergis, an epic documentary about Lithuania’s struggle to restore its independence, won top honors at the 34th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2021 Awards Ceremony in Amsterdam on November 25. The film, commissioned by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Current Time digital network, won the Best Film award for director Sergei Loznitsa and the Best Editing prize for Danielius Kokanauskis.
The IDFA jury found that “On every level of craft, [Mr. Landsbergis] represents a monumental achievement that fully explores the role one man, one nation, and one historical moment can play in the still-unfolding story of the global struggle for freedom and self-determination.” The jury called Kokanauskis’ editing of the film an “extraordinary work of efficient and inspired montage that makes a four-hour documentary feel half that length.”
RFE/RL President Jamie Fly congratulated Loznitsa and the team that created Mr. Landsbergis on their victory, saying, “At a moment when the Putin regime is attempting to censor the past and control the present, works like Mr. Landsbergis offer Current Time’s audience a window on recent history that authoritarian governments would rather bury and ignore.”
A special broadcast version of Mr. Landsbergis for is set to air on Current Time for the first time on December 20. The film will also be screened publicly in Vilnius, Lithuania on January 10, 2022, to coincide with its release in theaters across the country and commemorations of the Soviet Army’s bloody but unsuccessful attempt in 1991 to suppress Lithuania’s drive for independence.
Mr. Landsbergis is not the first film by the Ukrainian documentarian to be backed by Current Time. Loznitsa’s 2019 film State Funeral, which used mostly-unseen archival footage of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s funeral to offer insight into personality cults, premiered on the Russian-language digital channel in May 2020.
About his collaboration with Current Time, Loznitsa said, “In Russia, or in this part of the world, where Russian is spoken, there is virtually no free media. RFE/RL and Current Time carry a very serious burden and responsibility — to speak the truth to people who understand the Russian language and live in the Russian-speaking world, and who won’t hear the truth anywhere else.”
Held since 1988, IDFA is the world’s largest documentary festival and features lectures, workshops and over 300 movies that tell stories about life around the world.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.
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Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, DC