Once in Vilnius

How did people live in Vilnius 700 years ago? Historians learn about this from written stories, artifacts and drawings. But what would the people of that time have wanted to show future generations if they had a film camera? On the occasion of Vilnius’ 700th anniversary, the Loftas Art Factory’s Once in Vilnius project invited all Vilnius residents and visitors to create an exclusive video time capsule.

YouTube video

The film testifies to the hypothesis that a city is people, because who knows a city better than those who live, work, create, experience, visit, discover. That is why the best way to present and talk about Vilnius is through the stories and experiences of its people. From the Old Town to Justiniškės, from the African community in Vilnius to the everyday life of LGBTQ+ people, Once in Vilnius invites you on a unique journey that will make you see the city in a new way.

Everyone has their favourite places, capturing the city’s special events in their own way and noticing what others pass by. All you have to do is take your phone out of your pocket and capture what you want to show to future generations, even 700 years from now. “Once in Vilnius” invited everyone to share their images with the world, which were used to create the unique film “Once upon a time in Vilnius”.

Download the app and let’s tell our story together.

A visual legacy for future generations

Since the time of Duke Gediminas, Vilnius has been known as a multicultural city, open to people of all nations and cultures. The Loftas project “Once in Vilnius” provided a platform to reveal Vilnius through the eyes of a person who lives, works, travels, and experiences emotions in Vilnius, and to share this unique feeling with the whole world. It is like a letter from the new-age Gediminas, spreading the message of Vilnius to the world.

However, it is also a very inclusive project for Vilnius residents and visitors, allowing everyone to become a videographer of the city and leave their mark on the city’s history. Videos or photos of up to 2 minutes could be shared on a dedicated platform. The uploaded footage is publicly available and becomes a kind of chronicle of Vilnius, which can be viewed many times and shared with friends on social networks.

Anyone could have been a filmmaker

In order to remember special events, we often look for souvenirs. The “Once in Vilnius” project makes it possible to remember the 700th anniversary of Vilnius for a long time to come. In 2023, anyone was able to create a unique personal short film about a day in Vilnius on the website, using the material collected during the project. In “Once in Vilnius”, everyone could become a director, all they had to do was to choose the desired plot, characters, location, time of day and other elements and leave the editing to modern technology.

Making personal films is not only open to participants who have submitted material to the project, but to anyone who wishes to do so. Making a film has become a fun activity that allows you to enjoy the unique result and show your Vilnius version to your friends.

A film/yearbook made of 700 images

“Once upon a time in Vilnius” is like a chronicle of Vilnius, compiled by its own residents and visitors, and therefore appealing to a wide audience. It is a unique opportunity to show the world how Vilnius, which is 700 years old, manages to keep the world interested and relevant.

The Loftas project “Once in Vilnius” culminated in a long film “Once upon a time in Vilnius”, which was presented at the end of 2023. On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius, well-known directors Elvina Nevardauskaitė and Lina Lužytė, as well as editors Ričardas Matačius and Kostas Radlinskas, symbolically selected 700 videos from the footage submitted by people throughout the project. The final film highlighted the simple and wonderful details that distinguish our lives, showing each person’s different view of the city, the things they value and their visions as individuals. The film was screened at premieres, festivals and on a publicly accessible online platform.

The composer of the film is Viktoras Diawara, the music is also composed by Adas Gecevičius, Kamilė Gudmonaitė, a member of the band Kamanių šilelis, Marijus Aleksa, Migluma, the videographer is Andrius Seliuta, the producer is Živilė Diavara.

Lights. Camera. Action.

The life of the capital never stands still, so the film was full of exceptional images at all times of the day and year, capturing holidays and everyday moments. In the time of Duke Gediminas, chroniclers were the ones, who wrote the city’s history, and with “Once in Vilnius”, everyone could become a chronicler, a city guide or a filmmaker.

The exclusive video database, the original films of the participants and the unique long-form film have remained relevant as Vilnius enters a new century and have become a valuable legacy for future generations. Many years from now, it will be interesting to look back and see what the city and its citizens were like as Vilnius celebrated its 700th anniversary.

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