“Motherland” by Tomas Vengris is entering its 20th international festival
On 1 December, the ArteKino festival of the European cultural TV channel ARTE starts. This is already the 20th international festival for the narrative feature film “Motherland” by director Tomas Vengris.
“Motherland” is one of the 10 films selected for the ArteKino Festival, the online screenings of which are open to residents of 45 European countries. Films are translated into 10 languages. The ArteKino festival was started by the ARTE channel four years ago. The stance of this television channel is that culture “only makes sense if it is open to everyone, especially those who have no access to culture or may feel excluded”. It was this approach that pushed the cultural channel to start the ArteKino festival, which symbolizes ARTE’s desire to promote the riches of European arthouse cinema and share them with as many people as possible.
Over two years, Tomas Vengris’ film “Motherland”, inspired by personal experiences, which tells about the first years of restored independence in Lithuania, has travelled to many countries around the world. The director celebrated the international premiere of “Motherland” in 2019 in the competition program of the Busan International Festival, the film was presented to the audience of Lübeck and Cottbus festivals in Germany, participated in the official selection of Denver (USA) film festival, it was screened in Cleveland (USA), Shanghai (China), Sofia (Bulgaria) film festivals, the European Union Film Festival in Vietnam, the Camerimage International Film Festival in Poland and others. “Motherland” was among the top 32 films recommended for a nomination for the 2020 European Film Awards.
“Motherland” was especially successful in 2019 at the Tallinn International Film Festival. Here, the film won the Best Baltic Feature Film award. Also in 2020, at the WorldFest festival in Houston (USA), where Tomas Vengris received the Platinum Remi Award for the Director’s First Feature.
The film crew is also happy with the successful distribution of the film – in 2021, “Motherland” will be shown in theatres in Ireland and Japan.
Viktorija, the central character of “Motherland”, returns to her motherland after the fall of the Iron Curtain and after Lithuania regained its independence, with her American-born son Kovas. She wants to reclaim her father’s land. On this trip to the countryside, she is accompanied by her former love. Arriving at the estate, Victoria finds poor families living there. She and her companions have to decide how far they are willing to go to recover their past.
“I have always wanted to connect the life in America and Lithuania. I felt that it was cinema that could unite these two distant worlds. The language of cinema transcends boundaries, but the process of filmmaking is very different here and there. I am glad to have the opportunity to make films in Lithuania, I feel that I am discovering a part of my personality that was unknown for me in America. I really can’t say that it is easier to make a film here, but this does not in any way diminish the desire to work and to progress in Lithuania,” says Tomas Vengris, who is ready to make his second feature film in his homeland.
The main roles in “Motherland” are played by actress Severija Janušauskaitė, Matas Metlevski, Darius Gumauskas. The film was produced by Studio Uljana Kim.