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Told through the perspective of a toddler, this is a story of a family's first encounter with schizophrenia.


Year: 2022

Type: Short film (11min.)

Genre: Drama

Budget: 21000 EUR

Dialogue: Lithuanian

Writer/Director: Aistė S. Gram

Producers: Osvaldas Bručas, Džiugas Bartkus, Inga Šilerytė

Executive Producers: Vaida Savickienė, Nicky Kaur

Production company: SSB Studija

Cinematographers: Lina Margaitytė, Marius Krivičius

Production Designer: Greta Vileikytė

Costume Designer: Lukas Juodis

Editor: Laura Spini

Sound Designer: Adrian Conway

Composer: Ieva Marija Baranauskaitė

Cast: Lavija Lapašinskaitė, Olivija Lapašinskaitė, Deivydas Gudaitis, Martyna Gedvilaitė, Skomantas Duoplys, Vitalija Mockevičiūtė.


Overcome Film Festival 2022

Unrestricted View Film Festival 2023

Southport Film Festival 2023


Honorable Mention

The Jane Austen International Film Festival 2023



Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival 2022

A.Strumila Mažoji Day 2  _50.jpg
Copy of Mazoji_still__3.1.47.jpg

Official selection:

Awareness Festival 2022 (USA)

Overcome Film Festival 2022 (USA)

The REEL Recovery Film Festival 2022 (USA)

North East International Film Festival 2022 (UK)

International Women's Film Festival KIN 2022 (Armenia)

NewFilmmakers NY 2023 (USA)

Crossing The Screen 2023 (UK)

Unrestricted View Film Festival 2023 (UK)

Short Encounters International Film Festival 2023 (Greece)

Romford Film Festival 2023 (UK)

Nevada Women’s Film Festival 2023 (USA)

Southport Film Festival 2023 (UK)

4th International Film Festival of Crete & Awards 2023 (Greece)

Festival Angaelica 2023 (USA)

The Jane Austen Film Festival 2023 (UK)



This story has sprung from real life memories of several individuals and then underwent the creative transformation of imagination. It became something of a ‘colourful’ drama: you see and hear the tragedy at hand, and the struggle of the individuals involved, and yet, as you are seeing it all through the perspective of a very young child – there’s still magic, and there are still sounds and colours that add layers to this story. I was always much more connected to this kind of cinema; I think that it is a more primal, naturalistic way of experiencing things, one that reflects a constant dance of tears and laughter and terror and chaos of being human.

Approximately 1% of any population suffers from schizophrenia, and so families like Mažoji’s are not as uncommon as they may appear. They are a part of society, yet the taboo is still so prevalent that they are often too scared to talk about it, and more importantly, seek help. Hearing the news of mental illness befalling a loved one is scary, chaotic and painful. I wanted to try and glimpse at just a few individuals going through that, and do them justice. I hoped this film would enable dialogue about what it’s like to grow up in a family or be in a partnership with someone living in the lurking shadow of schizophrenia. I hoped it might help someone to feel understood (and it did!).


Mažoji was funded by the Lithuanian Film Fund, and a successful crowdfunding campaign. It was filmed in Lithuania, with post-production spanning a few places in Europe - U.K. (editing), Ireland (sound) and Poland (colour). The idea behind it being that this story has Lithuanian roots, but can be understood by anyone, anywhere.

Lithuanian premiere - National Gallery of Art

Aiste S. Gram interview film Mazoji.JPG

Premiere of the film was followed by a panel, which included curator Eglė Mikalajūnė, psychiatrist Neringa Narmontienė, politician Morgana Danielė, historian Tomas Vaiseta, actor/director Paulius Ignatavičius and me. Together, we were discussing schizophrenia, those affected by it (family, partners, society), and current mental health climate in Lithuania. This discussion brought both similar, and different, perspectives on the subject and I am very appreciative that Mažoji was able to be a tool for such important and enlightening conversation.

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