Filming in Lithuania

Coronavirus Update: The Coronavirus situation in Lithuania has stabilised with a second quarantine extended to the end of March 2021. Productions are allowed to continue filming using safety recommendations approved by the Ministry of Health in May 2020 and haven’t been stopped during the second wave. Throughout the pandemic, the Lithuanian film industry have complied not only with the safety recommendations approved by the Ministry of Health, but also international safety protocols such as testing weekly, zoning filming crew, safety managers on set and detailed meal schedules.

Incoming cast & crew can work in Lithuania with mandatory negative tests performed 48hours before arrival and after an isolation period of 10 days. Exceptions of the ten day isolation period apply to cultural sector workers which includes film crews. With the negative test it is possible to move between the place of residence and the place of work. It is important to note that exceptions are decided on a weekly basis depending on the coronavirus situation.

 

Despite the Covid pandemic, 2020 was a record breaking year for the Lithuanian Tax Incentive after increasing it to 30% in 2019. EUR11.3 million of support for productions included 12 international and nine co-productions. Among these were the Swedish crime series With One Eye Open and The Truth Will Out.

In recent years, the popularity of Lithuania as a production destination has skyrocketed. The range of historical architecture has seen wide reaching productions make use of its locations.

Netflix’ Stranger Things shot across the capital Vilnius including the recently closed Lukiskes prison. Prior to this Young Wallander, another Netflix production, doubled a residential district of Seskine as the modern day Swedish city of Malmo.

Historical dramas such as The Eichmann Show doubled Vilnius as a Jerusalem courtroom. The country’s soviet history meant that extensive filming for HBO miniseries Chernobyl took place in Lithuania. Some scenes were filmed at Lithuania’s Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant that is similar to the Ukrainian site, and extensive sets were built at Vilnius’ Kino Studija, a production complex with backlot, warehouse and production office space. 60 days of filming took place in and around Vilnius including large evacuation scenes in a residential district.

Lithuania’s range of large palaces and historical settings has seen the country used extensively in Russian aristocratic dramas including HBO miniseries Catherine the Great and BBC series War and Peace. The towns of Kaunas County feature in these works.

We were looking for the hero location. Vilnius had a cinema screening room that was a huge concrete monument to the Soviet Union. The interior layout was in fact almost identical to that of the real location in Jerusalem.

Laurence Bowen, Feelgood Fiction

Climate

Lithuania’s climate is both oceanic and continental. Summers are mild and wet. Winters are cold, with average temperatures below freezing. The weather is changeable all year round. Rainfall is common, but more likely on the coast. Main crops are grain, potatoes, sugar beets, flax and vegetables.

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