PRODUCTION: Book Smugglers in Postproduction

By Auksė Kancerevičiūtė

    VILNIUS: The Lithuanian-Irish co-production Book Smugglers (Smuigléirí Leabhar, Knygnešiai), a creative documentary bydirector Jeremiah Cullinane, is now in postproduction. The film will be completed in both 72 and 52 minute versions.

    {mosimage}The film is produced by Era Film Ltd (www.erafilm.lt ,Lithuania), in co-production with Planet Korda Pictures (Ireland), and Vinegar Hill Productions (www.vinegarhill.com, Northern Ireland).

    In 1863, Tsar Alexander II decreed an outright ban on all written usage of the Lithuanian language which covered education, press, and publishing. Simple possession of literature in Lithuanian became a crime. A new type of linguistic resistance fighter emerged: the knygnešys, or "book smuggler," who would smuggle books from East Prussia and distribute them in Lithuania, risking life and liberty in the process.

    Retracing the history of the book smugglers, the documentary, presented through the eyes of an Irish-speaking poet, inevitably draws parallels with the decline of the Irish language during the same century, a delicate and sensitive issue still not free of controversy. The film looks at the questions of how a small nation under comparable conditions of occupation and oppression managed to survive and preserve their "minor" national language, to the point where practically all Lithuanians today speak it proudly; and what the relationship is, for both countries, between a national language and national and personal identity.

    The estimated budget of the movie is €143,510 with 21% coming from Lithuania and 30% from Ireland; 31% from commissions from TG4, BBC-NI, LTV, ERR, Czech TV; and 18% from MEDIA TV Distribution.

    World sales are under negotiation. The national release of the movie (72 min. version) is planned for the SCANORAMA International Film Festival on 19 November 2010.

    Production contacts;

    ERA Film

    K.Ladygos 1 - 119

    LT-09001, Vilnius, Lithuania

    Phone: +370 5 2788 187, +370 5 2153 749

    Mob. +370 682 96128

    E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Planet Korda Pictures Ltd

    12E Thormanby Rd.

    Dublin 13

    Republic of Ireland

    Tel./Fax (+353-1) 473-4691

    Mobile: (+353-87) 632-0198



    Falcarragh, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

    Tel./Fax.: +353 7491 80730