Setting Records in Lithuania

Daily News
February 20, 2008

An opening weekend tally of 55,000 Euros may not sound like much to a U.S. box office watcher, but in this Republic of some 3.4 million people, it’s a very big deal.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 10:00 PM
By FilmStew Staff Photo
Characters unknowingly tied together by the past

Unlike most Lithuanian films, Loss( Nereikalingi zmones) was privately funded rather than underwritten by the government. Now in its fifth week of release, it had the biggest opening weekend ever for a homegrown production and will soon be responsible for the first ever soundtrack release for a Lithuanian film. Meanwhile, according to the Baltic Times, the movie’s producers are busy setting up distribution in Latvia and Estonia, another rarity for a Lithuanian production.

Part of the reason for the success of the film, a drama about a Lithuanian woman who hopes to make enough money in Ireland to adopt an orphan she believes to be her son, is its cast. Along with a who’s who of local performers, it also marks the debut of local rock star Andrius Mamontovas.

Loss was written and directed by Maris Martinsons, a founder in 1994 of ARTeta, one of the first independent production companies in Lithuania. Now run by his producer and partner Linda Krukle, it has turned into the largest production facility in the Baltic region.

Martinsons tells the paper that while the feature film is in Lithuanian only, an upcoming DVD release will offer English subtitles. He is already hard at work on his next project, Fredericco, about a famous romance undertaken by the country’s one-time King Sigismund, but so far, the Ministry of Culture has shown no interest in funding the project. Unlike Loss, which was shot on location in Ireland on a minimal budget, this new historical drama if privately funded will most likely require foreign investors