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CANNES 2007 Market / Lithuania

Lithuanian Film Studios' promising dawn

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Lithuanian Film Studios, the country’s major integrated studios, which hosted the $15m thriller Transsiberian [+see also:
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earlier this year, announced yesterday at Cannes that it has optioned the rights to Roman Gary’s literary classic Promise at Dawn (La promesse de l’aube) from Gallimard, to make it into a French-language film with international co-production partners.

“Romain Gary was born very close to Vilnius and has a wide readership in Lithuania”, explained Donatas Zvalionis, deputy director for the 60 year-old film studios.

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“We hope to convince Julie Bertucelli to direct the movie because she showed a strong sensibility and talent for portraying women with her directorial debut Since Otar Left. The film will have a top-name French cast and will be produced under the European co-production Convention,” stressed Zvalionis.

Published in 1960, Gary’s autobiographical novel and moving tribute to his mother brought him international fame. A first film adaptation was made in 1969 by Jules Dassin. “We have been in negotiations several years with Gallimard as the rights with the previous owners expired a couple of years ago. We are proud to prepare for our biggest co-production project ever,” continued Zvalionis.

Projects shot in the studios include the 2006, €28m Italian TV mini-series War and Peace and Lithuanian film Lossby Maris Martinsons (which just wrapped shooting), while playing to excellent box office results at home (70,000 admissions since March 2) is Whisper of Sin by Algimantas Puipa, based on the best-selling novel Witch and Rain.

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