The “Baltic Focus” programme provides spectators with a chance to see documentaries that have been made in the countries of the Baltic Sea region: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In the process of creating the programme, we wanted to highlight the themes and tendencies that were important for the region; however, we quickly realized that we were wrong, because today it is impossible to ignore the global events. Especially, in documentary cinema. The despicable war waged by Russia in Ukraine has affected the lives of many in this region, especially in the Baltic countries, as after 50 years of occupation they know the price of freedom. The festival will honour the late Mantas Kvedaravičius, who returned to Ukraine, Mariupol, to document and make his film “Mariupolis 2”. In this film, he showed us what many chose not to see, namely, that the war had already started before 24 February 2022.

The programme includes films that poignantly show how badly the war has affected the lives of children, reveal tragedies in other regions of the world and help the viewer understand what is happening there. These stories help us look at our own lives differently.

In recent years, the responsibility of documentary film directors to society has increased, as current events need to be reflected in time, space and historical timeline. The themes of the films touch on deeply personal experiences trying to find answers as to what helps us overcome loneliness and the pain of loss. But above all, these films give us hope.

Vaiva Bauze
Curator of “Baltic Focus” programme