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BERLINALE 2024 EFM

EXCLUSIVE: Trailer for Romas Zabarauskas’ EFM title The Writer

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- The drama, which is being sold by Naratyvas, follows two men who reconnect in New York decades after serving in the Soviet army together

EXCLUSIVE: Trailer for Romas Zabarauskas’ EFM title The Writer
Bruce Ross and Jamie Day in The Writer

Lithuanian-American Kostas (Bruce Ross) and Russian-Lithuanian Dima (Jamie Day) reconnect in New York decades after serving in the Soviet army together. They fell in love back in the 1980s, and Dima joined Kostas in moving from Russia to Lithuania. But as Lithuania gained its independence in the 1990s, Kostas left to study in New York, leaving Dima behind. Kostas, now an established author, has published a book based on their separation. Upon reading it, Dima pays him a visit, eager to correct a few facts.

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This is the premise of Romas Zabarauskas’ latest feature, The Writer [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which was world-premiered in the Baltic Film Competition of last year’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Lithuania’s Naratyvas, in charge of the film’s world sales, will be selling it at the upcoming European Film Market, running in Berlin from 15-21 February. The market premiere is slated for 16 February at 2.30 pm (in Virtual Cinema 9).

Commenting on his film’s main themes and the team’s activities at the EFM, Zabarauskas tells Cineuropa: “As an English-language, European-US co-production, and a SAG-AFTRA signatory, our production is a true outlier – it doesn’t follow the traditional logic of filmmaking. The Writer is a passion project that came from my urge to speak out as an Eastern European artist and share my perspective on what's currently happening in Ukraine, the United States and beyond.

“It also has a personal theme of queer men growing older, and coming to terms with their choices and circumstances. For context, Lithuania remains one of the few EU countries that doesn’t recognise same-sex couples in any legal way, which makes me feel trapped between the privileges I do have and the fact I can’t create a family and raise children here. At our sold-out Tallinn premiere, it was exhilarating to hear people laugh; at the Q&A, many viewers said they had also shed tears, deeply touched by our story. At the EFM, we hope to find distributors and festivals open to sharing their platform for our unique vision.”

The Writer was produced by Zabarauskas for Lithuania’s NaratyvasGlenn Elliott for Germany’s Artysta Management GmbH and Aidan Tumas for US-based Dead Heat Pictures LLC. The picture will hit Lithuanian theatres on 31 May 2024. Moreover, a special French premiere is planned within the “The Season of Lithuania” event, coming up this autumn.

Check out our exclusive trailer below:

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