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People Who Sided With Trees

Language  Lithuanian 

Duration  47min.

Topic environmental protection

Available to listen  during festival on August 24 - 31 October 2021


Violinist Indrė Skuminienė spent several months in a tent protecting the double-trunk linden tree in Vilkanastrai, her mother‘s home village. Despite her efforts, a construction company felled the hundred-year-old tree in 2018, while paving a road through the area. For over a year, artist Auksė Petrulienė tried to prove to the court her right to protect the chestnut trees on Smetonos Avenue in Kaunas. She and two other defendants won the case, but an alley of 217 mature trees was felled as part of city reconstruction works in 2017, before the hearings had even begun. There has been popular discontent with removal of mature – and allegedly dangerous – trees in cities, towns and villages all over Lithuania for several years now, but this was the first time that residents were arrested by the police and taken to court for trying to stop the felling of trees, and for demanding their reevaluation. The author uses archival recordings and interviews with these two women to show how construction sites in Lithuania had turned into battlefields, and how people were forced to choose between new roads and old trees. Why is this issue so divisive in Lithuania, and what it is like to side with trees?

Author Vaida Pilibaitytė
Editor Vita Ličytė
Sound design Vaida Pilibaitytė
Broadcaster LRT Radijas

Animation Emilija Juzeliūnaitė
Source LRT archyvas


Awards: In 2020, the documentary won the Creative Contest for Lithuanian Journalists “Human and Environment”.

Vaida Pilibaitytė

Vaida-PIlibaitytė- portretas iš profiluo su ausinėmis miško fone Artūro-Morozovo.jpg

She is a Lithuanian public radio producer and experienced audio storyteller with focus on environmental issues. She works for the national broadcaster LRT, where she produces and co-hosts weekly radio programmes on environment and radio documentaries. Vaida enjoys crafting layered, in depth non-fiction stories where a combination of voice and soundscapes helps create a special space for human mind and soul to wonder, feel, understand and discover. In 2018, her series on arsenic pollution in groundwater won a national prize for investigative reporting, and radio documentary about encounters with wolves was nominated for PRIX EUROPA in 2017. Vaida is also teaching and mentoring recipients of the prestigious international Åke Blomström award for young radio feature producers.

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