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The River

Upė
Director: Julija Gruodienė, Rimantas Gruodis

Lithuania, documentary, 2009, 30 min.
Close to the confluence of the Šventoji and Neris Rivers and the town of Jonava, is the village of Saleninkai, also known as the Lithuanian Venice. During the nineties a chemical plant factory in Jonava had an accident which caused huge flooding. The rural village people on the opposite bank of the river were evacuated, but the residents of Saleninkai were left cut off by water. The Neris River has not been crossable by ferry for quite some time, and the village is not serviced by busses. The River remains the only means of communication for local people, but this is just one of the issues addressed by the film. It depicts everyday life and today’s social reality of the village – alcohol abuse by parents and grandparents, poverty, unemployment, laziness, painful experiences of the young generation forced to go to school by boat, and the indifference of the local authorities.

Awards:
2009 – Best Documentary Award by the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union.
2009 – Special Audience Award in the Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italy.
2010 – Best Documentary in the Lithuanian Sidabrinė Gervė (Silver Crane) Awards.
2010 – Best Short Documentary Award in Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic.

About the directors:
Julija Gruodienė was born in Liauriškės village, Lithuania, in 1943 and graduated from Vilnius University. Gruodienė worked as a screenwriter and editor for Lithuanian Film Studios in 1984–1994 and for the Lithuanian Television in 1994–2002. She is a member of the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union. Rimantas Gruodis, born in Šiauliai, Lithuania, in 1946, also graduated from Vilnius University. He worked for Lithuanian Film Studios as assistant cameraman, assistant director, editor, and news and documentary director. From 1991, he has been an independent collaborator on films. In 1994, he created his own film studio, “Periferija”. The Gruodis’ family films have been screened in numerous international festivals across Europe and USA; their works are stored in libraries and museums in Denmark, Germany, France, Portugal and USA.
Section: Identity

Screenplay: Julija Gruodienė, Rimantas Gruodis

Dir. of Photography: Viktoras Radajevas

Music: Zita Vilutytė, Žemyna Trinkūnaitė, Jorigė Jurgutytė