It’s been four days since myself and Sara landed in Lithuania and we have bonded over sharing a room and have been connecting more and more with the rest of the crew as well.
We have become an unlikely family for which I am so grateful for.
But onto the shoot day in Sventoji: the road trip there was nearly two hours long and we made sure to pack all the equipment we might need along with heaps of food and a container with hot tea to keep us going through the harsh conditions.
As soon as we got to Sventoji, the conditions were quite steep as we made our way to the beach, with the equipment being inside my bright orange suitcase as it was strapped to a sleigh that was being pulled by our sound operator, Zilvinas. Good times.
Nothing could have prepared us for the beauty that was Sventoji. Even though the temperature and the intense wind made it hard to do anything really, the way the clouds perfectly diffused the light of the sun as it shined onto the water and the wind could be visibly seen twirling in the surface of the sand, we knew we needed to start shooting very soon if we wanted to capture nature in it’s prime.
So we shot, what we would hope to be, the opening shot of the film. Jonas in an extreme long shot walking along the water front dragging an empty sleigh behind him.
Sara and Jonas were slowly becoming one single creative being as they knew what eachother was thinking before they needed to say anything aloud. Zilvinas was struggling to get good sound as the wind proved to be difficult but he wasn’t detoured and spent most of the shoot on the beach walking along the immense lenght of it, to try and capture the essence of the amazing environment we were in. I tried to 1st AD it for as much as I could but since there was no dialogue in those sequences there was no need for me to use the clapper board so I just helped with the equipment and gave my opinions when I felt needed.
After nearly an hour on the beach, I knew I needed to shut down the production as we all were slowly falling into beginnings of hypothermia, so we made our way to the car and ate our food as we forced ourselves to feel warm again.
Later on, we made our way into the woods close to the beach, in hopes of finding an area where we could film Jonas and Aiste’s individual interviews, and we kept walking Aiste suddenly found the perfect area. An abandoned man-made swing made of some sort of sheet and rope that was hanging from a tree in the middle of nowhere. It felt mystical and magical for us to have found such a beautiful element here.
We firstly interviewed Aiste and the method myself and Jonas wanted to employ was that each of them would start and end their monologue when they wanted. It could last 5 minutes or 30, the sound recording would continue as long as they kept telling their version of the events of the first day they met.
Once again, the language barrier was not an obstacle for myself and Sara as the emotions Aiste transmitted through the tone of her voice made us feel we were there when the events happened. The same happened when Jonas took his turn on the swing and told his version of what he remembers from their first encounter. He then took out his tiny ukelele and started to play a song he loves on it by the end of his interview. As he played it, the distant sound of the ocean in the background combined with the incredible stillness anf silence of the woods surrounding us, made it a very nostalgic piece that I won’t forget for years to come.
When we packed up and made our way back to Telsiai, I felt myself fall gently asleep in the car with Zilvinas, Aiste and Sara whilst Jonas was driving and thought that these human beings were the best I could have asked for to share this experience with.