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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Lithuania / Latvia / Estonia

Kristijonas Vildžiūnas finalising post on his fifth feature, Songs for a Fox

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- The Lithuanian helmer’s new film centres on Dainius, a young rock singer who, after his lover’s death, locks himself away in solitude in a secluded country house

Kristijonas Vildžiūnas finalising post on his fifth feature, Songs for a Fox
Lukas Malinauskas and Dziugas Grinys in Songs for a Fox

Vilnius-born director Kristijonas Vildžiūnas is now putting the finishing touches to his fifth feature-length effort, a fantasy-drama entitled Songs for a Fox. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Vildžiūnas performed with Šiaurės Kryptis, a popular Lithuanian rock band, and since 1995, he has completed three short films and four features – The Lease [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2002), You Am I (2006), Back to Your Arms (2010) and Seneca’s Day [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(2016).

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Songs for a Fox, penned by the director himself, tells the story of Dainius, a young rock singer who, after his lover’s death, locks himself away in solitude in a secluded country house surrounded by swamps. Hoping to meet his beloved in dreamland, he studies the art of lucid dreaming. The musician is eagerly assisted by a local boy exploited by moonshiners, whom he leads into this realm. A surrealist tale based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is weaved inside the mind’s eye, and intertwined with the lethargic realism of post-Soviet small-town life. The main cast members are Lukas Malinauskas, Agnese Cīrule, Rokas Rinkevičius, Mantas Zemleckas, Saulius Bareikis, Agnieška Ravdo and Kamilė Gudmonaitė. Moreover, the technical crew working on the project include DoP Jurgis Kmins, production designer Jurgis Krāsons, editor Dounia Sichov, costume designer Agnė Rimkutė, make-up artist Eglė Mikalauskaitė-Gricienė, animation and VFX director Jaagup Metsalu, animation and VFX art designer Albert Kerstna, and sound designer Saulius Urbanavičius. The film’s score is courtesy of Zigmantas Butautis and the director himself, who also recorded vocals for the songs.

Speaking about his sources of inspiration, Vildžiūnas told Cineuropa: “I started experimenting with lucid dreaming a long time ago and, since then, have been nurturing the idea of making a film out of it. Since ancient times, sleep has been compared to death, and death to a dream. When I changed the word 'underworld' to 'dreamworld' in my mind, the myth of Orpheus opened up before my eyes with a new, fascinating meaning… Imagery from Lithuanian folklore and from artists such as Pieter Bruegel, wildlife photography and 3D animation were used to capture the right atmosphere in order to convey to the audience the expansive nature of this story and the main character’s journey through a dream world in search of his dead loved one.”

Meanwhile, producer Uljana Kim disclosed part of the complex production dynamics: “We shot almost the whole film in one location: 90% was exterior shoots, including the main interior, which was a dome tent. All sets and decorations were built on location in nearby swamps and forests, sometimes in extreme weather conditions or on ice. Practical effects were produced on location, too, such as the drone specially constructed for the film, which was later animated into a monstrous insect that attacks the main character in a dream-like sequence. Most of the dreams were shot during the blue hour, which helped to blend decoration, VFX and 3D animation into the image seamlessly.”

Songs for a Fox is being produced by Uljana Kim for Lithuania’s Studio Uljana Kim, and co-produced by Roberts Vinovskis for Latvia’s Studio Locomotive and Kalev Tamm for Estonia’s Eesti Joonisfilm, with the support of the Lithuanian Film Centre, Eurimages, the National Film Centre of Latvia, the European Union’s Creative Europe – MEDIA programme, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and pubcaster LRT. British firm Alief LLC is in charge of its international sales. The Baltic feature is slated for release in autumn 2021.

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