Vilnius International Film Festival Opens at Glamorous Hotel PACAI

VILNIUS, March 19, 2021. Vilnius Film Festival’s 26th edition (March 18 – April 5, 2021) is an innovative collaboration between the film industry and the Lithuanian capital’s six top hotels, and Thursday’s exciting—and Covid-safe—opening ceremony brought audiences a glamorous getaway, without even leaving town. This year, Vilnius residents are invited to check into a hotel for the full festival experience: red carpet, step-and-repeat selfie moments, brand new, and—most importantly—award-winning films beamed straight into their rooms.

The VIFF opening ceremony was broadcast online from Hotel PACAI, one of Vilnius’ most beautiful and distinctive hotels. A converted 17th century palace located in the heart of Vilnius’ Old Town, Hotel PACAI marries historical grandeur with modern comfort and amenities, much as this year’s VIFF weds the hallmarks of traditional film festivals with the innovation of a newly-conceived virtual experience.

Opening night began with a red carpet attended by many of Vilnius’ most notable celebrities, who are also taking part as audience members, staying at Hotel PACAI for the opening night. The main ceremony took place in the hotel’s picturesque courtyard, and was simultaneously broadcast to the hotel’s televisions, where audiences were able to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of their private rooms. Following speeches from VIFF director Vida Ramaškienė, CEO Algirdas Ramaška, and Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius-based band HOMECHESTRA performed live for the opening night audience and a special light installation showcased this year’s central ice sculpture by artist Rūta Palionytė. Finally, audiences settled in for the opening film, director Mohammad Rasoulof’s Golden Bear-winning There Is No Evil, a striking contemporary Iranian film, which impressively reflected the festival's theme "To Act and / or To Be?"

This year’s Vilnius International Film Festival program features a wide range of countries, languages, and themes. "By asking ‘To Act and / or To Be,’” says Mantė Valiūnaitė, the artistic director of the festival program, “we invite spectators to enter into conversations about the motives of personal and community behavior, about freedom and responsibility, to look for connections between the past and the present.” With nearly sold-out hotels during the opening weekend, this year’s festival has already proven popular with audiences hungry for a new and exciting getaway—and a once-in-a-lifetime festival experience.

The Vilnius Film Festival is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centre, co-funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Creative Europe MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Vilnius City Municipality and Go Vilnius. Vilnius IFF Kino Pavasaris is an independent private initiative.
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