Rimantė Daugėlaitė has been the managing director of the Lithuanian Short Film Agency “Lithuanian Shorts” since 2012 and the head of the Vilnius International Short Film Festival since 2009. Rimantė has been working in the audiovisual sector for nearly ten years and has coordinated multiple projects such as the International Cross Media Conference “Cross Media ZEN” or the film program of the International Thomas Mann Festival. She has also produced several Lithuanian short films. She is an alumna of the “Berlinale Talents” and the “MAIA Workshops.”
Tara Karajica caught up with her at the Vilnius Film Festival where she was a member of the Short Film Jury.
Can you talk about your work as managing director of the Lithuanian Short Film Agency – Lithuanian Shorts? How did the agency come about?
Rimantė Daugėlaitė: The Lithuanian Short Film Agency – Lithuanian Shorts was created in 2012 and my colleague Marija Razgutė and I founded it together. Before the agency, we worked together as the main organizers of the Vilnius International Short Film Festival. So from that organizing experience, we felt there was a demand for an organization that would only be dedicated to short films. We took the structure of the agency from “Polish Shorts,” because when we were establishing our agency, the Lithuanian Film Centre was also being established at almost the same time, so we decided to work separately. As an agency, we curate Lithuanian short film programs at other short film festivals. For example, in May, we will present a Lithuanian short film program in Oberhausen.
How did the film industry respond to the agency?
R.D.: Very well! We are actually receiving more and more requests for help with the festival circuit because it’s very time consuming. The filmmakers are asking us to help them with their film festival submissions, to do festival strategy and even to distribute their films. We even receive requests from abroad, which shows that the agency is working quite effectively and it’s already quite well-known. It’s a good platform!
Can you talk about the agency’s work? What do you do? What about your work as director of the Vilnius International Short Film Festival?
R.D.: The festival is actually taking place under the agency’s umbrella because the agency also organizes annual projects and the VISFF is part of our annual activity plan. Our agency also organizes the Baltic Pitching Forum, the annual Lithuanian Short Film Catalogue, the national film stand at Clermont-Ferrand and this year will be the third year we organize the International Short Film Day in December. We have also just launched two new initiatives: the mentorship program for Lithuanian Women in Film and Television and the Baltic Short Film Script Residency.
Can you expand on the mentorship program?
R.D.: The idea for it came from the WIFT movement because when it was being created, we saw a huge demand for women to gather just to share topics and we thought that there were things we should combine and help women working in film and TV. So we decided to do a mentorship program for a few months with professionals who could help emerging filmmakers. Professional filmmakers want and need coaching and mentorship. The program itself has two directions: either you want to deepen your knowledge in your area with one meeting a month during six months with goals you’ll set up at the beginning of the program, or you’ll want to discover another area of the industry. The mentors are only Lithuanian but are not only women!
Can you talk about your collaboration with FilmBox LT at the Vilnius Airport?
R.D.: We do a program every year, once a year. It’s really nice but not particularly well-known among the visitors at the airport. It’s a promising project and a nice format in which to show films.
How do you see the short film scene today? It seems to me there is a sort of renaissance of the form and a newfound interest in shorts that has not been channeled properly within the film industry quite yet?
R.D.: You are totally right! You see a tendency that more and more people want quicker content and shorter and more attractive content quickly, so that’s, I think, one of the reasons why short films have become so popular recently. All these new platforms and VODs are showing us the demand for this shorter content. So, yes, there is a sort of renaissance of short films and I think it’s good. Short is not necessarily bad!
How do you see the situation of women in film today? How is it in Lithuania?
R.D.: In Lithuania, the situation is very promising because the WIFT movement is taking shape and showing that we are doing well in that regard. In general, I am really glad that more and more discussions and strategies like 50/50 by 2020 raise this topic more effectively and have already created tools to improve the situation of women in film.
This interview was conducted at the 2019 Vilnius Film Festival – Kino Pavasaris.