While in Brooklyn, I met with Lithuanian legend and "godfather" of American avant-garde cinema, Jonas Mekas. It was rad to discuss filmmaking and the Lithuanian American experience, and to receive some refreshingly no-nonsense, tough-love guidance in moving forward with Land of Songs.
We participated in the A2E Direct Distribution Lab, San Francisco Film Society's first Artist to Entrepreneur program at the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival. Along with picking up a few tricks of the trade, we met some cool folks from Dogfish Accelerator, Flicklist, and Seed&Spark, among others.
We successfully wrapped shoot number 2 last month! The highlight was Velines, a holiday observed in Lithuania November 1 - 2, during which the dead are remembered and celebrated. Velines has ancient roots in the Baltic pagan faith, but has been associated with the Christian All Soul's Day since the Christianization of Lithuania in 1387. During Velines, many Lithuanians visit the cemeteries where their kin are buried, tidying their graves and decorating them with flowers and candles. Even unmarked or forgotten graves are honored, as folk beliefs about lonely souls wandering the cemeteries at night persist in many of the villages. Throughout the country, the graveyards glow deep into the night. We spent the first day of Velines in Puvočiai, with the močiutės and their families.
But the real kicker was our last day on the shoot! We packed the močiutės into a van and drove them (singing all the way) to a pro recording studio in Kaunas. There we were met by renowned composer Vidmantas Bartulis, his brother cellist Saulius Bartulis, and the Kaunas string quartet. They performed a four part piece based on the močiutės' songs, composed by Vidmantas Bartulis exclusively for the Land of Songs film score. We were all in awe of the Bartulis brothers' beautiful work and generosity. Next, we recorded a full set of the močiutės' songs for our soundtrack.
After the session, we took the močiutės out for a pizza party. They couldn't contain themselves...bursting into song mid-pie!
Back in the USA, we are starting the post-production phase. First we need to transcribe and translate all of our footage. The translation process is new to us, and though we're off to a solid start, we appreciate tips from people with experience in these areas. If this sounds like you, please reach out to landofsongsfilm [at] gmail [dot] com.