On April 21, the premiere of the full-length feature film directed by Tomas Donela, Farewell, take place in Forum Cinemas Vingis,
Vilnius . From April 23 the film was screened also in other Lithuanian cinemas.
“I am endlessly happy for having brought a team together who believed in me. Could anyone wish for more?” says Tomas Donela who is happy with the work of his friends and colleagues. He still hopes that Lithuanian cinema can attract attentive, open and benevolent audiences.
Director, script writer and producer Tomas Donela graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Vilnius University in 1982. In 1987 – 1993, he studied at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School (AFTRS) and worked with the famous Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov (1989). He has written the following film scripts: Hard Currency (1994), Woolloomooloo (1997), Rain Dance (Lietaus šokis, together with Alvydas Šlepikas, 2002) and A Black Ray (Juodas spindulys, 2003). He has created the following films: Sonnet (Sonetas, 1989, short film), A Harrowed Coast (Išakėtas krantas, short feature film, 1992; Special Award of the Angers European First Film Festival (France), screened during festivals in Turin, Melbourne, Vila do Conde and other festivals), Patience (Pasjansas, 1995, documentary; screened during “Cinema du reel” (France) and Vila do Conde (Portugal) festivals), short feature film The Boy and the Sea (Berniukas ir jūra, 2006); award of the Bucharest International Film Festival, award of the Finnish Film Festival in Rauma; screened during Smolensk, Warsaw, Sienna, Tehran, Manheim and Cologne festivals). Tomas Donela has worked as the dubbing director and text adapter for films (Madagaskaras), Little Zebra Stripy (Zebriukas Dryžius) and Shrek.
Farewell (a story of a happy man) is the first full-length feature film by this director. “I fought for ten years for the right to make this film; it took me four years to make Farewell,” says Tomas Donela during the presentation of his new film.
Only Those Who Have Met Bid “Farewell”
Sooner or later everybody has to bid farewell. But only those who have met make their farewells, and only those who have lived die. Thus, the new feature film by Tomas Donela, Farewell, tells, in fact, about a meeting with oneself, with one’s loved ones and enemies, with people one had known some time ago or who had been tossed one’s way for a short while. This is a chain of expected, planned and accidental, dramatic and comic meetings that took place in a short span of a few days; meetings that have linked all characters of the film with invisible ties. This is a story also about reconciliation with oneself, with the small victories and great losses of one’s life.
The Story of a Happy Man
Is it possible to be happy when one bids farewell? Is it possible to enjoy the moment, knowing that it will pass very soon? Is it true that the feeling of happiness can come only when you understand that you, perhaps, have managed to do what is most important? Is it really so important to say to yourself (and to others) what you feel and think very deep inside and to admit to yourself (and to others) who it is you love, who it is you believe, what you don’t like, what you were and what you are now, what you choose, while knowing that there is less and less time left? Will the film manage to convince at least several disappointed people that the condition of happiness is related not only to the chemical composition of blood?
The main character of the film, a 35-year-old sailor, the captain’s aid Audrius, beleaguered by the presentiment of death, comes onto the shore, perhaps, for the last time. To meet, to be together, to bid farewell. His heart is boiling with sometimes hidden, sometimes bursting feelings, forgotten memories, grievances and joys like an awakened volcano. Now he is led by an infinite desire to conquer the fear of death and recover the peace of mind. For Andrius, who has travelled around the wide waters of the world, it becomes clear that what could have been really important was waiting for him on the shore.
The Farewell Team
It took four years for people well known in Lithuanian cinema to create Farewell: director of photography Rimvydas Leipus, composer Kipras Mašanauskas, sound director Jonas Maksvytis; according to the director, one could “move heaven and earth” with them. Yet Dainius Kazlauskas, who has created the main character, sailor Andrius, should be mentioned first. The scriptwriter and director Tomas Donela claims that it is for him that he had written the film script almost fifteen years ago. The actor, who is one of the most wonderful and interesting Lithuanian theatre and film actors, has now kept his promise to his friend. He has admitted that the film has awakened in him what he didn’t want: “the desire to star in a film”. The theatre virtuoso Dainius Kazlauskas has revealed complex and variable inner states of his character convincingly in front of the camera.
A group of famous Lithuanian actors star together with the main character in the film: Lina Budzeikaitė, Olga Generalova, Dalia Storyk, Jolanta Dapkūnaitė, Vaidotas Martinaitis, Kristina Kazlauskaitė, Albinas Keleris, Arūnas Sakalauskas, Vytautas Rumšas, Agnė Gregorauskaitė, Olegas Ditkovskis, Kostas Smoriginas, Remigijus Vilkaitis and others. Small, but very colourful, characters, were performed by Vladimiras Jefremovas and Rimantas Jovas who have not lived to see the premiere, unfortunately. The son of sailor Audrius was performed the director’s son, Martynas Donela, who debuted in a short film The Boy and the Sea: now he is eleven, but when the filming started, he was eight.
Set design was created by artist Rimas Olšauskas and costumes were designed by Juzė Kasčiukienė and Daiva Petrulytė. Ernestas Jankauskas was the director’s right hand, and Marius Kavaliauskas was the montage director.
It took ten years for Tomas Donela to develop his idea for the film he had back in 1996 together with Romanian playwright Josif Demian and Lithuanian scriptwriter Alvydas Šlepikas. The script has won international acclaim: it was awarded the second prize “Eureka Audiovisuel” and a Nipkow grant in Berlin; at the Sundance Institute (USA) together with the Japanese broadcaster NHK it was shortlisted as one of six best European film projects. Filming started in the Fall of 2007. The film was created by Donelos studija with the participation of WFDiF and PAL-AF (The Netherlands) studios.
The website of the film: www.atsisveikinimas.com
Photographs feature Tomas Donela (1); actor Dainius Kazlauskas (2) with colleagues Aleksandra Metalnikova (home page) and Olga Generalova (3); a moment from filming: Tomas Donela, film artist Rimas Olšauskas and director of photography Rimvydas Leipus by the camera (4).