The administrative building of the Lithuanian Cooperatives Union located on Gediminas Avenue is an imposing example of late modernist architecture that can be seen from afar. Not everyone knows that this structure is popular amongst filmmakers, often regarded as one of the most cinematic indoor locations in the city.
The building designed by Justinas Šeibokas was completed in 1978. It is best known for its undulating floors as if replicating the Vilnius Baroque. However, filmmakers are more attracted by the interior of the building: the almost unchanged atmosphere of the 1970s, perfect for shooting stories of this period.
According to Jonas Špokas, the manager of “Baltic Locations”, who has organized a number of shootings in the venue, the building has served as a location for both historical episodes (1970-1990) and modern times. Besides, in the French picture “Paradise” shot here last year the building was turned into a futuristic backdrop! “The indoor space of the building is perfectly suited to “play” the interior of various Scandinavian or German state agencies: a ministry, a police station, lawyers’ office, etc., this is why most filmmakers from those countries find it useful when shooting in Lithuania”, said Špokas.
It’s worth noting that the building itself is quite extraordinary and very camera-friendly. The finishing materials used in the building make it unique and exude a positive vibe, and film cameras have the ability to pick up such things. Let’s not forget the wonderful terraces: besides giving a superb vantage point for shooting the city panorama they also simplify the technical part of work a great deal, for example, when one needs to find a way to shed beautiful light on the offices on the upper floors.
However, the most important element of the building’s popularity is the administrative team that takes care of its well-being. “Filmmakers are always happy to come to a place where they feel welcome, where the owners of the location take into consideration their needs and preferences and are interested in the content of the production and cooperate with the team”, says Špokas.
According to Marius Šukauskas, general manager of the Lithuanian Cooperatives Union, filmmakers from countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, and France have worked in the building. The series “Bordertown”, “Loss and Return”, “Lea”, “Head Hunters”, the feature films “Paradise”, “Kompromat”, as well as many advertisements of Lithuanian and foreign brands were shot here. Director Eitvydas Doškus’ film “Čia buvo Vilnius” (“Here Was Vilnius”) was also filmed in this location.
Šukauskas added that certain parts of the building are also used by artists, composers, and musicians. According to him, the latter have already shot several music videos on the spacious balconies of the building. “It’s also great fun to contribute to fledgling artists’ projects, such as students’ graduation works. It’s very rewarding to see how young people who started their first creative experiments here become well-known artists”, – said Šukauskas.