Lithuanian Film and TV Industry Adapt to COVID-19 Crisis

    Isaak by Jurgis Matulevičius Isaak by Jurgis Matulevičius

    VILNIUS: Film premieres have been postponed and the production of some films has stopped in Lithuania due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Emilis Vėlyvis postponed the production of his new detective story The Generation Of Evil / Piktųjų karta. The film is produced by Daiva Jovaišienė, Asta Liukaitytė, Donatas Šimukauskas, through Kino Kultas. It was planned to shoot from 9 March to 26 April 2020. The shooting is postponed till the end of October. The film, budgeted at over 899,971 EUR, received 522,000 EUR from the Lithuanian Film Centre. Kino Kultas producer Donatas Šimukauskas said, „It‘s difficult to define financial losses, because everything depends on how much of the filmed material (shot in four filming segments) will be possible to use. We have two versions, according to the pessimistic one, the loss will be 140,000 EUR, and the optimistic one says 70,000 EUR.“

    IN SCRIPT's producer Lukas Trimonis and director Irma Puzauskaite postponed the making of her feature film debut 9th Step / 9-as žingsnis. The title refers to the ninth step in the Alcoholics Anonymous programme, which requires a recovering alcoholic to make amends. In this case it is 36-year-old Linas, who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter, but instead is in danger of developing a relationship with his daughter’s best friend. The project, planned as a 90-minute coming-of-age-film, received a 320,000 EUR production grant from the Lithuanian Film Centre. Shooting should have started on 1 April and lasted until 4 May. „We had to postpone the shooting, due to the pandemic and now we‘re coordinating with the main team and looking for the optimal date for shooting. We hope to finish the shooting by the end of September 2020,“ said IN SCRIPT's producer Lukas Trimonis.

    Dubravka Turic‘s debut feature film Traces / Pėdsakai, produced by Croatia’s Kinorama and coproduced by Lithuania‘s Tremora, had to postpone shooting planned for June 2020 and one week in September. The project, a drama with mystical elements that encompasses the four seasons of a single year, received Creative Europe MEDIA funding for development, script development and production funding from the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, and minority coproduction support from the Lithuanian Film Centre, which supported the project with 87,000 EUR. The production company Tremora had to postpone the premiere of the feature film The Flood Won‘t Come / Tvano nebus by director Marat Sargsyan. Tremora’s managing producer Ieva Norvilienė said, „The theatrical release was planned for the beginning of October 2020 but due to the coronavirus pandemic we had to postpone it until 2021. Though we are in contact with various international film festivals, there is a lot of uncertainty about the future.“

    Among the postponed Lithuanian premieres there are the feature fiction debut Nova Lituania directed by Karolis Kaupinis and produced by M-Films (intended premiere 17 April 2020) and the historical psychological drama Isaac directed by Jurgis Matulevičius, produced by the Lithuanian company Film Jam. The premiere is postponed till October 2020. Film Jam also had to postpone the shooting for the comedy The Snow Road / Sniego kelias directed by Algis Ramanauskas. The shooting was planned for 1 - 22 June and is now postponed until June 2021. Film Jam's managing producer Stasys Baltakis said that the losses of his company, which also distributed the Latvian docudrama Baltic Tribes: Last Pagans of Europe / Baltu ciltis: Eiropas pēdējie pagāni, co-directed by Lauris Ābele and Raitis Ābele (released on 21 February 2020), after the closing of cinemas on 13 March, are estimated at between 60,000 and 80,000 EUR.