Famous Filmmakers After Visiting Vilnius: The City Has Great Potential
“Vilnius has a huge potential”, unanimously agree the location managers from London, Toronto, Berlin and London who started their journey through the Baltic countries not long ago. Well-known film professionals, who are scouting locations for shooting movies and TV series all over the world, visited four cities and more than 15 different locations in Lithuania. The aim of the “Baltic Fam Tour” trip was to attract ambitious, big-budget film projects to Lithuania.
The managers who spent three days in Lithuania previously helped to find locations for such world-famous films as “Men in Black”, “Mission Impossible”, “Ace Maverick”, “V for Vendetta”, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. etc. “Baltic Fam Tour” is organized by the Vilnius Cinema Office and Baltic Locations.
Impressed by the versatility of Vilnius
In the Lithuanian capital, the location managers visited the old town, Lithuanian Writers’ Union, Vilnius University, Lukiškės prison, Vilnius House of Culture, Entertainment and Sports, the administrative building of the Lithuanian Cooperative Union, the Fabijoniškės district and the Television Tower.
“I saw architecturally diverse places: from the Lukiškės prison to the Television Tower or Vilnius University, where you can shoot a lot of things. I’m still trying to digest all the information,” John Rakich, president of the International Guild of Location Managers, told us about his impressions. “I think that Vilnius has a huge potential.”
According to Rebecca Brake, who worked on such motion pictures as “Men in Black Clothes”, “Mission Impossible” and “Guardians of the Galaxy”, she spotted places in Lithuania that could represent both London and Austrian cities on screen. “I liked the spaces of the old town of Vilnius, the Writers’ Union turned out to be a very special place – the impressive stairs alone are absolutely stunning. I liked many details in the Writers’ Union: the fireplaces, the authentic, not too modernized interiors.”
Meanwhile, Lori Balton, a member of the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Lithuanian roots, who was the location manager of the films “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, “Ace Maverick”, “Godzilla” and “The Little Mermaid” said that Vilnius gives the impression of a very comfortable city. “It has everything a city could need: everything can be reached on foot, by bike, there are many trees and parks around. What’s more, you can find very different-looking places in a relatively small space, which is exactly what filmmakers are looking for. I was very impressed by the Lukiškės prison and the architecture of socialist modernism, which cannot be found in the United States.”
Quite a few location managers who visited Vilnius found socialist modernism interesting. According to Markus Bensch, the Vilnius House of Culture, Entertainment and Sports makes a great impression. “This is a well-preserved place it’s very suitable for shooting and can turn into a hotel lobby, congress center or board headquarters on the screen. Although part of the architecture of Vilnius could play Eastern European countries, it could also easily pass for Western countries of the 60s, such as the USA.”
Location manager E.J. Richards, who worked on such projects as “Infinity”, “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Bridgerton Chronicles”, revealed that she was stunned by the Lukiškės prison. “Visiting this place felt eerie and a bit uncomfortable, because the prison still seems very ‘alive’. Nevertheless, I think that many cinematic ideas can be implemented here,” said E.J. Richards.
“I once worked on a project shot in Estonia, so I already had an idea about the Baltic countries. However, you need to see each place with your own eyes. I mostly remember the architecture of the 50s and 80s, as well as short and easily covered distances between possible shooting locations”, says Klaus Darrelmann, who previously implemented a film project in the region.
The location managers continue their tour of the Baltic countries in Latvia and Estonia.
“Baltic Fam Tour” is organized by Vilnius Film Office and “Baltic Locations”. Event partners: Lithuanian Film Centre, Go Vilnius, Kaunas In, Kaunas Film Office, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Location Managers Association of Latvia, City of Liepaja, Tartu Filmifond and Viru Filmifond.