For films shot in Lithuania – prestigious International Emmy nomination and success at International Film Festivals

Monday 20 November, 2017

Lithuania is an attractive destination for those foreign filmmakers who come here seeking not only for flexible prices for film production and services, but also for a professional crew and a good location.

Last year, Lithuania attracted the highest number of foreign productions since the introduction of its 20 percent tax incentive in 2014. Directors, actors and producers, known worldwide, work with film productions, which were partly shot in Lithuania. The films produced in this country have also drawn attention of the international film market. In this article the founder and producer of a Lithuanian production company, ARTBOX, Kestutis Drazdauskas speaks about his international co-production experience.

“Film production is a long and complex process which requires time and effort in all its stages. Therefore, every premiere is a big event not only for the directors, actors or producers but also for the whole crew involved in the creation of the film. The premiere is the point beyond which the film becomes “independent”, and the viewer decides on its destiny. This autumn we premiered several films that vary from romantic dramas to historical documentaries. Many of them were selected for prestigious international film festivals, and this is really wonderful,”  says producer Kestutis Drazdauskas.

One of the examples is a four-part historical drama, “Tokyo Trial”, (dir. Rob W. King and Pieter Verhoeff), a co-production between FATT (The Netherlands), DCTV (Canada) & NHK (Japan). “Tokyo Trial” is a dramatic historical recreation of the trial that started in 1946, immediately following WWII, whereby 11 judges from all over the world were called to Tokyo. There they spent two and a half years engaged in a landmark trial that determined the outcome for Pacific military and political leaders who were charged with war crimes.

The main part of “Tokyo Trial“ was shot in Lithuania. The cast of judges includes international stars Marcel Hensema (Hollands Hoop, Simon), Jonathan Hyde (Titanic, Jumanji, The Strain), Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Irrfan Khan (Jurassic World, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), with Michael Ironside (Total Recall, Top Gun) as General Douglas MacArthur. Lithuanian actors Kestutis Jakstas and Gabija Jaraminaite were entrusted with two of the main roles. Gabija Jaraminaite, who received the Lithuanian Film Academy award “Silver Crane” this year for the Best Actress in a Leading Role, played the role of an interpreter and was the only female in the court proceedings.