Chroniclers of Truth, Bearers of Witness

Submissions are now open for the competitive film section of the JÁFEST 2024 Chroniclers of Truth, Bearers of Witness Festival in Kaunas, Lithuania and Lisbon, Portugal in September 2024. 

This Festival – the second edition of JÁFEST, organized by JÁ International Theatre from Portugal in association with Cossoul, VDU, ALTR, Vytautas Magnus University and the KAUNAS Cultural Centre of Various Nations and supported by the Theatre in Palm Project – will celebrate the courage, resolve and moral intelligence of those who chronicle the truth in troubling times.


History and the writing of it is shaped by those who have their hands on the levers of power. This involves both creating narratives and erasing uncomfortable ones. 

Historical narratives that define acceptable truths can grip the mind of entire societies and shape the destiny of whole civilisations. But history is as much an act of forgetting as remembering. Look closely at the murky pathways of history and you will find buried truths, discordant narratives, unsung tales, untold stories and hidden voices. 

Europe in the 20th century is an example of this… whether we focus on the countries behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet regime or the fascist dictatorships in Portugal and Spain. It takes courage, and sustained effort, to free oneself from oppressive histories. In 2024, as democratic guardrails once again slip away, freedoms retreat and powerful exclusionary narratives take hold, it is important to acknowledge those journalists, activists and artists who stand up for universal human rights and democratic values, those who – despite the risk to life and limb – record unpalatable truths, and bear witness. 

This competitive festival invites submissions of films of up to 25 minutes that explore, document, or react to this theme. 

The entries can be in the form of documentaries, fictional dramas, poetry films, short narrative docudramas, or any other cross-genre offering. Above all, this competition is an invitation to visual artists and filmmakers to engage with stories that matter and rescue them from invisibility. We especially welcome bold visual interpretations of the competition theme.

We invite open submissions from artists. Submissions from emerging artists and first-time videographers are particularly welcome. 

Competitive submissions will be accepted in one of three categories based on screening time (including title and end credits):

Category I: Screening time of up to 7 minutes.

Category II: Screening time of up to 15 minutes. 

Category III: Screening time of up to 25 minutes

Selected films will be screened during the festival in September 2024 in Kaunas and Lisbon. 

A jury of experts with broad experience in visual media will go through the selected entries to pick out two best films in each category. 


JÁFEST 2024 Film Prizes will be awarded in each category as follows:

  1. Já 2024 Chroniclers of Truth, Bearers of Witness Prize (Winner)
  2. Já 2024 Chroniclers of Truth, Bearers of Witness Prize (2nd prize)


A fee of €25 is paid for each entry with a maximum of 3 entries per filmmaking team.

Submissions via FilmFreeway: 


  • Entries are open to artists based in any part of the world.
  • Entries may be brand-new or pre-existing work, or a repurposed combination of these two.
  • Entries should be submitted in .mp4 format.
  • The maximum length for an entry is 25 minutes.
  • Entries from emerging artists and first-time videographers are particularly welcome.
  • For those submitting poetry films, the poetry can be your own, or a collaboration with a poet, or used by permission of the poet or poets’ estate, or that is no longer subject to copyright. It is the sole responsibility of the submitter to ensure that any and all copyright requirements for their entry have been scrupulously satisfied and they must provide an undertaking to this effect along with the submission.
  • A submission entry can be in any language but MUST be subtitled in English.
  • All submissions must include closing credits on the screen.


  • Each filmmaking team can submit up to three entries.
  • Each entry must be submitted separately.
  • Entries received will be processed by a 3-person JÁFEST 2024 selection committee.
  • Entries will be judged by a separate 3-person panel consisting of filmmakers and arts representatives

By submitting to JÁFEST 2024 you acknowledge that your entry is your creation, and that you have obtained permission(s) where required. You also agree to allow your work to be included in screenings, publicity campaigns and future archival footage of the festival.


Opening Date: 15 April 2024 

Final Deadline: 9 July 2024 

Notification Date: 15 August 2024 

Event Date: 9–15 September 2024