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Writer-director Saulė Bliuvaitė and lead actresses Ieva Rupeikaitė and Vesta Matulytė are available for interviews.

First feature TOXIC (Akiplėša) by writer-director Saulė Bliuvaitė is celebrating its world premiere in the main competition Concorso Internazionale at the Locarno Film Festival 2024.

TOXIC explores the tension between the human body as a product and projection of our desires and its true nature and the reality with its endless possibilities.

TOXIC tells the story of two young girls dreaming of an escape from the bleakness of their hometown, a promise made by a local modeling school. Confronted by toxic beauty standards and toxic relationships, they are seeking validation and help in all the wrong places.

Abandoned by her mother, 13-year-old Maria is forced to live with her grandmother in a bleak industrial town. During a violent clash on the street, Maria meets Kristina, a girl of the same age who is striving to become a fashion model. Trying to get closer to her, Maria enrolls in a mysterious modeling school, where the girls are preparing for the biggest casting event in the region. Her ambiguous relationship with Kristina and the intense, cult-like environment of the modeling school force Maria on a quest to discover her own identity.

Born in 1994, film director and screenwriter Saulė Bliuvaitė graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre’s Film Directing program in 2018. Her recent short film “Limousine“ received the award for Best Short Documentary at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2021. She is the co-writer and co-editor of the historical drama “Isaac” (2019), nominated for a FIPRESCI prize at the 2020 European Film Awards. TOXIC is her debut feature film.

Director of photography is the up-and-coming artist Vytautas Katkus, who also directed the short films “Cherries” (Cannes 2022) and “Places” (Venice 2020). With his work for TOXIC, Vytautas focused on bold techniques and visual storytelling to capture the essence of the setting and the inner worlds of the characters.

The music was composed by Gediminas Jakubka, who navigated between the melancholic sounds of the district and the rhythmic dance music that the film’s heroines listen to on their phones. Renowned Lithuanian singer Sati is embracing styles from pop to progressive dance music adding a rich and nostalgic layer to the film’s soundtrack.

TOXIC is produced by AKIS BADO, Lithuania. With the support of the Lithuanian Film Center and Lithuanian National Radio and Television.

The project won the Work in Progress Award at Meeting Point Vilnius 2024.

World sales are handled by Bendita Film Sales.

99 min. / Lithuania 2024 / Feature



World Sales:
Bendita Film Sales



Stills: © Akis Bado