The director and producer Arūnas Matelis (born 1961) studied applied mathematics at Vilnius University and graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in 1990. His first documentary film Dešimt minučių prieš Ikaro skrydį / Ten Minutes Before Icarus Flew (1990) was proclaimed by critics as the manifesto of a new generation of young filmmakers. He explored original themes, experimented boldly with aesthetics, and indulged his own voice as an artist. In 1992, Matelis founded Nominum, one of the first private independent film studios in Lithuania. The studio has produced more than 30 films, many of which have garnered international acclaim. Matelis was the first director from Central and Eastern Europe to receive an award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement from the Directors Guild of America. His 2005 documentary film Prieš parskrendant į Žemę / Before Flying Back to the Earth was awarded a Silver Wolf at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, and a Golden Dove at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. The complex theme of children with leukaemia is approached in a playful and poetic style and with carefully chosen details.
In 2005, Matelis won the Lithuanian National Prize. He is a member of the European Film Academy, chairman of the Documentary Guild of the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union, a founder and board member of the Lithuanian Film Academy, chairman of the Lithuanian Cinematographers’ Union, and head of Lithuania’s Oscar Selection Committee. Matelis’s latest film Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta / Wonderful Losers: A Different World) premiered at the Warsaw Film Festival in 2017 and received theBest Documentary Feature award. This film-odyssey about the true warriors of professional cycling, won the main Documentary Competition prize at the Minsk International Film Festival Listapad, as well as the Audience award.