The US TV series “Truth and Conviction” is currently being shot in Vilnius. Based on shocking true events, the story transforms the Lithuanian capital into 1940s Hamburg. Producers John Foss and Russ Kendall, of Kaleidoscope Pictures, who first visited Lithuania nearly a decade ago and have returned for the third time, praise the country not only for its locations that perfectly capture the series’ atmosphere but also for the skilled professionals working here.

“We first came to Lithuania in 2016 to find locations for a story set in the late 1800s, looking for a rustic, old-world feel. Not only did we find the right places, but we also got introduced to Baltic Film Services, which turned out to be a perfect partner. At the time, we had another project in development called ‘Truth and Conviction.’ While walking down the streets of Vilnius, we immediately sent pictures to our writer, Matt Whitaker. He came here the next week and fell in love with the locations and their endless possibilities. Some places even influenced the writing since Matt saw them during the writing phase,” – Russ Kendall, a producer, says.

“Your professionals are great to work with; they have excellent infrastructure, and almost everyone speaks English, which is a huge advantage for film crews. Making a period movie is not only difficult and costly, but it also requires great craftsmanship. Now we are sitting in a room designed as a 1941 apartment in Hamburg, Germany, but originally, this was a music conservatory. The way artisans have transformed this space to fit the period is truly phenomenal,” John Foss, a producer, adds.

Luko Šalnos photo

Fight for a better world

The series, based on a true story, transports the audience to Hamburg, in Nazi-run Germany. A young member of the Hitler Youth secretly listens to banned BBC radio broadcasts denouncing the Nazi war machine. Inspired by these shows, Helmuth Hübener becomes convinced that Hitler is not the savior of the nation but a deceiver. When his friend is sent to a concentration camp, Helmuth finally decides to act. Using his most potent weapon, the written word, and inviting two of his peers to join him, he begins distributing leaflets revealing Hitler’s true nature.

“Hamburg was called the Venice of Germany; it has unique architecture. We were trying to find places where the architecture was frozen in time but also well-kept. The cobblestone streets of Vilnius helped us to imagine our protagonist walking here at night, distributing his leaflets. In Vilnius, we found so many places that we could turn into government buildings of Hamburg, people’s homes, narrow passageways, and hidden streets”, Foss says.

Andrej Vasilenko photo
Andrej Vasilenko photo

“We have been participating in the ‘Truth and Conviction’ project for over 20 years. One of the characters in the series, a member of the resistance group Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, became a dear friend. It was from him that we heard about difficult experiences and a murdered friend who believed in a better life and a better future. Karl always tried to honor Helmuth’s memory, and when he passed away, we felt that this mission had been entrusted to us. We want to encourage people not to be afraid to believe in what is right”, Kendall says.

“Although we, living in the USA, have not experienced such historical moments, we know about Lithuania’s struggle for independence and what freedom means to you. It is important to us, and we truly feel it,” say the filmmakers.


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