The documentary “Vilnius Ghetto 2009” (A.Lelkaitis, Lithuania, 2009, 40min) has been produced in cooperation with the well known journalist and documentalist Audrius Lelkaitis (former Head of News Department of the National Television) on the non-profit basis. The film was produced in 10 months as a part of the PROGRESS programme in the frame of the project "Closer Look at a Multiple Discrimination" lead by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson.
The making of the documentary “Vilnius Ghetto 2009” has been a challenge. The budget allocated for the production and dissemination of the film was extra low (5 times less than average costs in the local market). However, the idea of the documentary was very important therefore after extensive negotiations a professional journalist and film director Audrius Lelkaitis has agreed to take on the job. The staff of Human Rights Monitoring Institute has pulled a team of experts and extensively consulted the film director, who has also taken on the duty of the operator, performed the montage, and shared the duty of producer.
The community of Vilnius Roma has met the making of the documentary exclusively negatively – a long lasting negative experience of communication with mass media and journalists has left them suspicious and untrusting. However, the special séance for the community in the House of National Communities in Vilnius ended with commendation from the leader of the Roma association “Gypsy Fire”.
Vilnius Roma were chosen as the best example of multiple discrimination – many of them are ostracized because of multiple reasons, e.g. ethnic origin, illiteracy, unemployment, sex, poverty, etc. Few stories developed in the film include cases of multiple discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin (Roma), health condition (HIV), sex (woman), social status (illiteracy and poverty).
Most viewers of the documentary “Vilnius Ghetto 2009” were openly surprised to see the lives of Vilnius Roma as they are. Many said they had quite a different (negative, stereotyped) impression from mass media where Roma are usually portrayed exceptionally in criminal chronicles. Judging by increasing amount of institutions asking for a copy of the documentary, the film has had quite an eye-opening impact. Positive reviews in media and the large number of commentaries proves the film has struck the chord.
In May 2010, the journalist and director Audrius Lelkaitis received a prestigious Vytautas Gedgaudas award by the Lithuanian Journalists’ Union and the National Association of Journalist Creators for the documentary “Vilnius Ghetto 2009”.
If you need a copy of the documentary or would like to organize a screening please contact HRMI Programme Director Dovile Sakaliene at firstname.lastname@example.org or +370 5 2314 681.
Short description of the documentary presented for the annual human rights film festival Ad Hoc: Inconvenient Films see below:
Vilnius Ghetto 2009 (Lithuania, 2009, 40 min)
Director: Audrius Lelkaitis
Producer: Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Pauper, unemployed, illiterate. The reason? Ethnic origin. This is not the middle of the twentieth century, but the beginning of the twenty-first century, Lithuania.
Eye of the camera glides over the lives of Vilnius Roma. They are often referred to as Gypsy encampment, but the encampment is brought together in a voluntary and freely wandering Roma community. Whereas over 50 years ago Soviet authorities ghettoized these people in Kirtimai district next to Vilnius, leaving them somewhere between heaven and earth - they own nothing here, neither the land on which were forced to live, nor the humble barracks that Vilnius government was trying to bulldoze. Their way of life was taken away without giving anything in return. Today it's not the authoritarian Soviet regime that holds them hostage, but an invisible wall of isolation operating on both sides.
After the initial premiere screenings of “Vilnius Ghetto 2009” followed by discussions with film director and experts were organized in all regions of Lithuania. See the schedule of the screenings in 2009:
PREMIERE October 29, 2009 17:00 Human Rights Film Festival Ad Hoc: Inconvenient films. Cinema “Pasaka”(Šv.Ignoto g. ¾, Vilnius), grand hall (150 places, plus 30 viewers seated additionally, total: 180 viewers). Discussion followed with the participation of the film director.
November 5, 2009 Jesuit Gymnasium of Vilnius, Conference hall of Camspite at Guobstas. (100 places). Independent discussion followed.
16 November, 2009 The House of National Communities (Raugyklos 25, Vilnius), Screening for representatives of State authority (e.g. Seimas Ombudspersons) and representatives of NGOs (e.g. Lithuanian Roma Association “Gypsy fire”). Discussion with the film director before the séance.
December 1, 2009 17:00. Cinema “Pasaka” (Šv.Ignoto g. ¾, Vilnius), small hall (87 places). Discussion with the film director before the seance.
December 10, 2009 17:15 Cinema “Pasaka” (Šv.Ignoto g. ¾, Vilnius), grand hall (150 places).
November 8, 2009 17:40 University of Vytautas Magnus, Club “Sesija” (Ad Hoc: Inconvenient Films) (Daukanto 27, Kaunas) (100 places).
November 12, 2009 16:00 Kaunas Region Public Library (Radastų 2, Kaunas) (181 places). Discussion with the film director and group of experts before the seance.
November 5, 2009 16:00 Klaipėda Open Space Youth Center (Simonaitytės 24, Klaipėda) (40 places). Discussion with the film director and group of experts before the seance.
November 26, 2009 15:00 Library of Siauliai University, Conference Hall (Vytauto g. 84, Šiauliai) (100 places). Discussion with the film director and group of experts before the seance.
November 26, 2009 19:10 Film Festival “Lithuanian Cinema Days”, Cinema „Garsas“ (Respublikos 40, Panevezys), grand hall (741 place).
December 8, 2009 17:00 Panevezys Region Public Library (Respublikos 14, Panevezys) (100 places). Discussion followed with the participation of the film director.
© 2013 Human Rights Monitoring Institute