ACID FOREST (RŪGŠTUS MIŠKAS)
A wispy strip of land stretching between Russia and Lithuania is home to the unlikeliest of attractions. At the top of a narrow staircase in the Curonian Spit, a platform designated for tourists overlooks a dying forest of leafless trees, with branches resembling brittle fingers clawing the sky. What was once a plantation of pine trees is now home to thousands of cormorants, ancient carnivorous black birds who are ruining the area with their acid-fortified feces. A bird’s eye view captures the often humorously conflicting insights from the globe-trotting vacationers, likening the scene to nuclear fallout, or a scene from Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS. With daredevil cinematography and an immaculate, engulfing sound design, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė’s prize-winning debut is a beguiling snapshot of the juncture between natural destruction and fertile rebirth. – Jesse Knight
Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė works as a filmmaker and theatre director, based in Lithuania. She completed her MA in Screen Documentary at Goldsmiths, London, and BA in Cinematography and Theatre Directing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Barzdžiukaitė will represent Lithuania for the Venice Biennale of Art in 2019.