Moving Pictures

The making of Letters to Sofija

By Robert Mullan

In 2011, Englishman Robert Mullan began an almost impossible film project: namely, to finance and shoot a film in 3 languages - Lithuanian, Russian, and Polish - neither of which he could read, write, or speak. Mullan realized that the project would entail him shooting with Lithuanian actors, in various cities in Lithuania and Russia, and that he would then be preparing the film with English subtitles. But, Mullan was undeterred. The project had its genesis when, while working in Kaunas as a volunteer university lecturer in psychology, Mullan learned about the relatively unknown Lithuanian artist and composer, Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis. This man had produced over 300 paintings and sketches, composed over 300 musical pieces (including two symphonic poems), fought for the independence of his small nation from the control of imperial Russia, fell in love with a fellow activist, and then died, tragically, at the young age of 35. And so began the project. Mullan decided to keep a diary, not only to record day-to-day events and thoughts while filming, but also to provide a guide as how not to finance and produce a feature film. The diary includes both amusing and less-funny moments, for example: the crew's encounter with Russian border guards as they entered the country to shoot some scenes in St. Petersburg * the endless problems with the translation of the script * continual arguments with co-producers * the ongoing quest for money and the belief that funds would run out before the completion of the film * an unexpected diagnosis of cancer * magnificent music * startling paintings. The film - Letters to Sofija - was finally completed, edited in London, and shown in Vilnius, Chicago, and London. The film will be distributed internationally. This book documents Mullan's experiences in the making of Letters to Sofia.

186 pages

Publication Date: 6/1/2013
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781853432316