Arūnas Matelis has been awarded the main accolade in the "LT Tapatybė" ("Lithuanian Identity") awards last Monday,
February 19, in Vilnius. There were six awards in all, given to Lithuanians who best presented Lithuania to the world in
2006. The awards to Matelis and other winners were presented by President Adamkus in a ceremony in Vilnius. The awards
are statuettes in the form of a drop of water, created by the artist Eimantas Ludavičius.
"Lithuanian Identity" award recipients receive their trophies
from President Adamkus. (L-R) Viliumas Malinauskas,
Žydrūnas Savickas, Viktoras Butkus, President Valdas Adamkus,
Arūnas Matelis. Absent - Violeta Urmanavičiūtė-Urmana
Photo courtesy President of Lithuania website
Just three weeks ago the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles on February 3, 2007, presented to Arūnas Matelis its
prestigious award for the best documentary film - "Before Flying Back to Earth" ("Prieš Parskrendant į Žemę"). It was
the only film from outside the USA to receive an award and by all reports all the judges fell in love with it. The main
award went to the distinguished American film director Martin Scorsese for his film "The Departed". Arūnas Matelis has
directed 8 films and produced about 40. His film "Before Flying Back to Earth" has been shown on TV in more than 10
countries and had already won prizes in the Silverdocs, Brooklyn, Amsterdam, Madrid and Leipzig festivals. (For more
information on Arūnas Matelis please see the article on him in the Lithuania / Famous People section on this SLIC website
and the News item of 20/08/06).
Arūnas Matelis receiving his prestigious
award from the Directors Guild of America
Photo courtesy Lietuvos Žinios
The other Lithuanian Identity award winners were:
- Žydrūnas Savickas in the Sports category. He continues as the undisputed World Champion strongman (See News 04/11/05
- Viktoras Butkus in the Business category. Viktoras Butkus is the General Director of the innovative biotechnology
- The soprano Violeta Urmanavičiūtė-Urmana in the Culture category for her role as an international leading soprano in
world opera (See News 24/12/06).
- Viliumas Malinauskas in the Tourism category. He is the founder of the famous Grūtas Park near Druskininkai in
Lithuania, where Lithuanias history under Soviet tyranny is displayed in a theme park setting.
- The world famous avant-garde filmmaker Jonas Mekas in the new category for "Lifes Achievements" (See News 12/11/06).
President of Lithuania website www.adamkus.lt
"Lietuvos Rytas" www.lrytas.lt 06 &20/02/07
"Lietuvos Žinios" www.lzinios.lt 20/02/07