About the film

Filmed in one of the last remaining patches of old growth forest in Lithuania, "The Ancient Woods" is a place where the boundaries of time melt and everything that exists does not wither or age but “grows into” eternity. A poetic and atypical nature film takes its viewers on the endless journey – from the forest thickets to the wolves’ caves and up to black stork’s nest, and then deep into the water to the underwater forest, returning after to the human beings inhabiting the edge of the woodland. There is no commentary, only rich, almost palpable sounds of the forest and the magical situations captured by the camera.

The film gently erases the line separating the human and natural lives, interweaving them into a single poetic story. Its style and narrative brings it close to a fantasy tale. The “Ancient Woods” was shot using original climbing and diving equipment, which enriched the cinematic language with a variety of camera angles and shots.

The Ancient Woods from Survila on Vimeo.

About the author

Mindaugas Survila, the director and cinematographer of "The Ancient Woods" had a dream to create this movie since he was in a fifth grade. A long journey was waiting for him towards this dream. Initially he took pictures of nature. While in school, Mindaugas participated in various Young Scientists Conferences in Lithuania and once - in Bergen, where he introduced his scientific observations of nature by a number of photos.

Later, Mindaugas joined Vilnius University, where he was granted a Bachelor’s degree in biology. At the end of his graduate studies of Ecology and Environmental Management Mindaugas finished his first movie Meeting the Ospreys" (“Susitikimas su Žuvininkais“), which was awarded with a national Petras Abukevičius name prize for the best Lithuanian film about nature.

Seeking to get more knowledge about filmmaking Mindaugas worked as a cameraman assistant, still photographer, second cameraman, extras casting in various films of famous Lithuanian and international filmmakers (Sergey Loznitsa, Šarūnas Bartas, Audrius Stonys, etc.).

At the same time he began making his second film, the docu-poem called "The Field of Magic" ("Stebuklų laukas"). For him this film was the cinematographic school because he was able to acquire the experience from the team of some of the best cinema professionals in Lithuania working with him (a montage director, a sound director, an operator, a colourist, etc.).

The latter movie attracted not only a huge number of audiences to the Lithuanian cinema theatres, but also began to travel around the prestigious documentary film festivals.

Mindaugas has been purposefully preparing for making “The Ancient Woods” for 18 years. He felt that it was going to be particularly difficult to create. However, Mindaugas Survila believed that with his experience and the help of a reliable team anything is possible. He hoped that “The Ancient Woods” would not only attract a large number of people to the cinema theatres, but would also stimulate discussions on the theme of real values in life.

Screenings and Awards

“The Ancient Woods” began its “journey” in November 2017 with World’s premiere in one of world’s biggest and most prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) as a part of First Appearance competition.

Mindaugas Survila and the editor Danielius Kokanauskis with Andrea van Pol.

Starting with this biggest documentary fest, “The Ancient Woods” visited many other international film festivals. One of the greatest and most memorable experience was the screening of "The Ancient Woods" in Sydney film festival where 900 people gathered in one cinema hall to see the film.

National premiere took place on the 29th March as a closing movie for prestigious international Vilnius Film Festival. Starting from March 30th, the movie began its local “journey” and was shown by largest cinemas in Lithuania. It already broke a record for being the most visited documentary in Lithuanian history, gathering more than 52 thousand people and still remaining at top 20 after 4 months of screening.

"The Ancient Woods" have already received several National and International awards for best documentary, best sound and cinematography.

Where to see?

2018 is a busy year for Mindaugas Survila, the director and cinematographer of “The Ancient Woods”. A film is still shown in national cinemas as well as abroad. After 20 weeks at the major cinema theaters in Lithuania, “The Ancient Woods” was seen by more than 56 000 people which makes almost 2% of Lithuanian population!


We have a good news for those, who did not have a chance to see "The Ancient Woods". The film will be shown again from the 9th November by major Lithuanian cinema theaters. Do not miss your chance!

International Film Festivals

We’ve received a great deal of requests from people from all over the world to bring “The Ancient Woods” to their country. Check below for internationals screenings of “The Ancient Woods”:

Festival date




More information/Purchase Tickets

2017/11 IDFA Netherlands Amsterdam More information
2017/11 DocPoint Estonia Tallinn More information
2018/03 CPH:DOX Denmark Copenhagen More information
2018/03 23rd Vilnius Film Festival Lithuania Vilnius More information
2018/04 Northern Lights FF Belarus Minsk More information
2018/04 Go East Germany Wiesbaden More information
2018/05 DOK.fest 2018 Germany Munich More information
2018/05 BELDOCS Serbia Belgrade More information
2018/05 Docs Against Gravity Poland Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gdynia, Bydgoszcz, Lublin More information
2018/05 DocAviv Israel Tel Aviv More information
2018/06 Sydney Film Festival Australia Sydney More information
2018/06 Lubuskie Film Summer Poland Lagow More information
2018/06 CinemAmbiente Italy Torino More information
2018/06 Fotofestiwal Poland Lodge More information
2018/08 Makedox Macedonia Skopje More information
2018/08 New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) New Zealand Auckland, Wellington, Southern Islands More information
2018/08 Baltic Wave Lithuania Nida More information
2018/08 III Wolves Independent International Film Festival Lithuania Saldutiškis More information
2018/08 Film Festival della Lessinia Italy Bosca Chiesanuova More information
2018/09 12th Five Lakes Film Festival Germany Munich More information
2018/09/15 Camden International Film Festival USA Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine More information
2018/09 Planetarium Filmfest Belarus Minsk More information
2018/09/22 Matsalu Nature Film Festival Estonia Matsalu More information



Bergen International film festival Norway Bergen More information
2018/10/05 Uncomfortable cinema Lithuania Vilnius More information
2018/10/14 Environmental Film Festival Australia (EFFA) Australia Melbourne More information



CinEast Luxembourg Luxembourg More information
2018/10/18 Baltic Film Days Oslo Norway Oslo More information
2018/10 European Union Film Festival, Tomsk Russia Tomsk More information
2018/10 Baltic View UK London More information
2018/11/13 DOC NYC USA New York More information
2018/11 XIII The International Science Film Festival World of Knowledge Russia St. Petersburg More information
Wild & Scenic Film Festival USA Nevada City and Grass Walley, California More information
Wakefield Doc Fest Canada Wakefield, Quebec More information
2019/02/17 Bozeman Doc Series USA Bozeman, Montana More information
2019/03/16 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital USA Vashington More information
2019/03/23-24 26th Prague International Film Festival (Febiofest) Czech Republic Prague More information
2019/04/11-14 Lithuanian Film Days Kiev Ukraine More information
2019/04/13-19 Wildlife Film Festival Montana USA More information
2019/04/29 Lithuanian Documentary Film Festival Chicago USA, Illinois More information
2019/05/04 Panorama Europe 2019 NYC USA, NY More information
Trento film festival Trento Italy More information
2019/05/ EU Film Festival Baku Azerbaijan More information
2019/05/18-19 DocsBarselona Barselona Spain More information
Kino Otok – Isola Cinema International Film Festival Isola Slovenia More information
2019/06/20-23 PELICAM International Film Festival Tulcea Romania More information
2019/06/02-05 (Tokyo)
2019/06/23-26 (Kyoto)
2019/07/18 (Fukuoka)
EU Film Days 17th Edition Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka Japan More information
2019/07/05 Festival La Rochelle Cinema. International Film Festival, 47e édition La Rochelle France More information


What's next?

New project

We made a film so we could tell people about most valuable Lithuanian forests. About the fact that we still have them and that we can still save them. Actually, before we started to edit "The Ancient woods" we hoped that this film would be seen by at least 3 000 people and that the attention to ancient woods would be brought to this small part of the society.

After we just began to edit "The Ancient Woods" together with a film producer Gintė Žulytė we realized that we will still have what to tell and share about ancient woods even after the film is done. We hoped and still hope to reach out for these young people who are going to make decisions of national level in their near future. So those two years ago we realized that our next project will be an "Interactive platform" called by the same name - "The Ancient Woods".

What is the difference between an Interactive platform and a Film?

Usually film has a linear narative form, e.g. a viewer just watch what is shown on a screen in a cincema theater. While on the interactive platform everyone can chose their own individual "path": to sit together with European badgers in a den, to swim under the water amongst sank trees, to climb to a nest of a great eagle-owl or to gain some valuable knowledge about plants from forest herbalists. A viewer will also have an opportunity to chose a way of traveling: to follow a sound or a view, to take a teacher or a scientist to the trip, and etc.

What kind of help do we seek?

Long before we started the making of "The Ancient Woods" many people said that it's impossible. We have to admit that this project was hard, but we believed in our idea and continued working till the end.

We want to move on and to bring "The Ancient Woods" film project to a different level. However, as boring as it sounds, the hardest part for us is the same as during the making of the film - to get funding.

If you find our activity and ideas meaningful, please, support them. Not only we would be enormously grateful, but the people who will use the platform for free are going to be as well.

Ways to support an interactive platform


One of the easiest and modern ways to support.

Direct transfer to a bank account

Company name: VšĮ „SENGIRĖ“

Company code: 302877798

Account number:

LT38 7044 0600 0786 1652


Please specify in the "Purpose" area "Support for an interactive platform" as well as your email address.

2% of the Income tax (only Lithuanian citizens)

When filling application form on the internet you only need to know the receivers (VšĮ „Sengirė“) code 302877798

A guide how to fill in the form.

Thank you!

We are very grateful to our sponsors who believed in our project from the beginning. THANKS to everyone from Lithuania and other countries who supported this film.

Simonas Bastys

Jurgis Sūdžius

Kęstutis Andriulaitis

Guoda Gražulytė

Darius Juškevičius

Gintarė Žalkauskaitė

Giedrė ir Antanas Šaviniai

Zigmantas Balčytis

Berita Simonaitienė

Jurgita Murauskienė

Loreta Vaškevičienė

Ieva Kilčiauskaitė

Ainė Ramonaitė

Asta Milvydienė

Lina Kalendraitė

Dainius Mazetis

Lina Pestal

Vilma Sliažaitė

Neringa Maleckienė

Ramūnas Motuzas ir Viltė Motuzaitė

Ieva Timinskaitė

Saulius Pobedinskas

Linita Žebrauskienė

Aurelija Bernatonytė

Raimonda Kalinskaitė

Mantas Andriuškevičius

Almina Vilimienė

Juozas Vaicenavičius

Vytautas Kulvietis

Paulius Kirstukas

Mindaugas Kirka

Nerijus Kardonas

Aleksandr Gerasimovič

Tomas Kibildis

Andrius Volbikas

Sigita Jonaitytė

Audrius Andriukaitis

Marius Virbickas

Tomas Daukšas

Jurga Valančiūnaitė

Modestas Mikalauskas

D. Labeikis

Tadas Jakočiūnas

Smiltė Bikulčienė

Olga Mackevičiūtė

Darius Damalakas

Vincas Šnirpūnas

Nerijus Nekrašas

Egidija Kaziukaitytė ir Agnė Daukšaitė

Edvardas Žurauskas

Povilas Bagdonas

Jūrate Vaivadaitė

Irma Rastenė

Ričardas Kunevičius

Audrius Natkevičius

Darius Sabaliunas

Irma Zernakovaitė

Paulius Ūža

Aušra Aleknavičiūtė

Antanas Šavinis

Audrey Lam

Tomas Žalandauskas

Alvydas Stančikas

Robertas Stankevičius

Birutė Kazilionytė

Vytenis Dapkevičius

Jolanta Lašaitė

Jonas Gustainis

Kriste Makarevičiūtė

Edita Klemkaitė

Tadas Pivorius

Vita ir Domas Monkai

Regimantas Veikutis

Ka Ki Fung

Simonas Naudžius

Emilija Vinžanovaitė

Rapolas Žeimys

Justinas Bedžinskas

Odeta Karoblytė

Aurimas Lažinskas

Lina Survilienė

Rūta Ramanauskaite Cicn

Mantas Zurba ir
Viktorija Tichonova-Zurbienė

Giedrius Švitra

Valdas Mikalauskas

Algis Akstinas

Ūkas Pševlockis

Magnus Galåen

Rasa Klimienė

Daina Natkevičienė

Evaldas Gydra

Jim & Dorothy Murphy

Arūnas Bielskis

Mindaugas Kanišauskas

Justas Lazutka

Danutė Kalavinskaitė

Aurimas Juozaitis

Jane Scerinienė

Rytis Širvinskas

Kazimira Kanišauskienė

Justinas Šimulis

Darius Strasevičius

Gintare Smalinskaitė

Andrius Žebrauskas

Vytautas Stašaitis

Eidris Karevičius

Ignas Rubikas

Aistė Bimbirytė - Mackevičienė

Jonas Klimas

Lina Gervinskaitė

Leokadija Vilutienė

Justina Rutkauskaitė

Živilė Elena Vėžienė

Sigita Simona Paplauskaitė

Ovidijus Ruškys

Indrė Balčiūnienė

Linas Mackevičius

Akvilė Norkutė

Karolina Svilderytė

Rimantas Jasinskas

Karolis Zokas

Eimutis Pakalnis


Mindaugas Survila +370 618 10909