WASHINGTON—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.
About Current Time
Current Time is a 24/7 Russian-language digital and TV network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA. In addition to reporting uncensored news, it is the largest provider of independent, Russian-language films to its audiences. Despite rising pressure on Current Time from the Russian government, which has designated the network a media “foreign agent,” Current Time videos were viewed more than 1.5 billion times in the 12-month period ending in September 2020 on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram/IGTV, and the largest Russian digital platforms VKontakte and Yandex.Zen.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.