Rinaldas Tomasevicius

Rinaldas Tomasevicius is a film director who changed his life nine years ago. Those changes came to his life through pain, a disability of movement, but he says that the experience would not change for any money. Today, the director is a master’s degree in film directing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, his films are already competing in international film festivals. Rinaldas says that the hardest changes were made when he stopped intoxicating and began trying to find his place in society. He slipped with addictions more than 20 years ago, because of his desire to join the yard company, when the family moved from one district of Vilnius to another. Nine years ago, he defeated addictions, unfortunately, the drugs left their mark - today he moves only with crutches. But psychologically he feels healthy and spiritually strong. When he was discharged from the hospital nine years ago, he returned to the hospital for another year to visit the elderly. They were the first spectators of his born collage. Rinaldas’ films are about the life in which he lived for a long time, about marginalised, homeless, people suffering from addictions.

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
The project “-15” is unique because it draws on the personal experience of director Rinaldas Tomasevičius, which not every film director faces. The film “15” tells the story of Aleksey, who spent 15 years in prison, released for trial. He is being helped by a social worker sympathetic to him. However, the night Vilnius is full of temptations that are difficult to withstand. Although it is difficult for Aleksey to live according to the new rules, he tries to adapt and seeks opportunities to reconcile with her daughter Maja, who became a prostitute. However, every attempt has failed. It can be said that this project is about real experiences, feelings, emotions, the relationship between father and daughter.

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What are your ambitions with your project?
We want to share with the world the message that there are other people living among us. Despite the fact that their lifestyle, their rules are not acceptable to us, they also have feelings, love, dream of happiness next to dear people. It is only through our efforts and empathy that we can help people who are at the margins of life. This is a long and difficult process, but it can be overcome.

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Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
Filming was special because all locations are real and exist in reality. We filmed at Vilnius Reformatory Home, in Vilnius Midway House (an institution where people who left prison live and integrate into society for some time), in an old uninhabited wooden house, where squatters are actually hacked — drug addicts. The real night spots of Vilnius were also filmed, where prostitutes and bullies gathered together. The film director brought real homeless people to the film scene. Although this film is fictional, it is immersed in real images. Filming in such non-traditional locations was challenging, it was necessary to communicate and adapt to the people who set their order in the filming locations, but all of this made it possible to make a great film.

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For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
This film has been designed for an audience since the age of 13. We hope that this film can have a significant impact on young people when considering lifestyle choices and priorities. A middle-aged viewer will feel how important it is not to break the connection with a close person, not to choose the path of life that destroys what is most important in life.

Why should distributors buy your film?
This film, despite the director’s unique experience, was filmed with the film tape (Projection Ratio: 1.85 (flat) with 1.66 pillarboxes), which makes the film unique and helps to portray the atmosphere of the film in a more realistic way. Also in the film the main role was created by one of the most famous Lithuanian actors Marius Repsys. For distributors, distributing this film would be a great opportunity to have an outstanding film with relevant content in their portfolio.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
This film reveals the other side of life — the city is home not only to beautiful-looking people wearing costumes or styles, not only to restaurants and supermarkets, but also to other people walking around — margin people. The reality is that they meet each other and depend on each other. This is the real side of city life.

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
At school, the teachers said I was talented and encouraged me not to stop improving. Film directing is not only an endless adventure, but also a way to experience and create a unique world. Someone is playing politics, someone — business, well, and I think this game is the most fabulous. In addition, in films, I can convey my life experience, show the world that there are a variety of people, and we can also help those others.

Who is your role model?
My greatest inspiration is my life, its experiences and surrivals, the people he met, their fates. It is a life in which I have lived for a long time — marginalised, homeless, people plagued by addictions.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?
I like the films of Nicolas Winding Refn, because there is a lot of such crime, some kind of outlandish life that I identify with, because I lived in that world for many years. And he also creates in such a way that his films affect me, I believe in them.
I also like some of Lars von Trier's films, because of how well they work, the world is expertly constructed and the themes are sharp.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
I look for inspiration for my films in my memory, in my experiences, and when I meet the people of the border, listening to their stories. One credo in my life is to help get out of the mud for at least a few people. Therefore, I meet homeless, psychotropic users, former prisoners. I'm talking to all of them, I advise you where to ask for help. A little bit open, they tell their stories I'm going to see.

Which topics interest you the most?
I want to show people’s temptations of life, a difficult path to a society-recognised way of life. I want to express as realistically as possible the wrong paths of the characters and the uprisings accompanied by deviations from the norms of life. In making films, I try not to multiply stereotyped and bored images in which the actor clearly conveys long-standing attitudes as a person “walking” at the signature of the society. In my work, I try to pay special attention to revealing the spiritual state of the characters and conveying to the viewer why their lives went like this. I also try to convey the inner world of the characters, without compromising the feelings of those who have experienced a similar fate, and without creating a story that would only condemn the way of life chosen or cause pity.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
To have place in world famous short film festivals to share my films with the world. I am very happy that my short film “Last Time” won the main prize at the32nd Film Festival Cottbus.

What do you consider most important about filming?
It is very important for me to maintain a great relationship with the entire creative team, to seek respect for each of its members on the pitch. I'm sure that only a great microclimate helps to achieve great results, because filming is teamwork.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I like the real and natural environment, if there is really a lot of dirt in that environment, I want to show it. I never try to blacken or blacken. That’s why I'm always looking for places for filming that reflect the scenes that are being created. I pay great attention to the pre-production phase, with the cameraman we ride a lot of squatters in order to feel the atmosphere that we will have to convey in the film. I also personally work with actors, organise meetings with similar people they will embodied in the film. I am looking for the perfect result and I am convinced that only a real touch of the team to the filmed environment helps to achieve such a result.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
Modern creators are touching more and more sensitive, though uncomfortable themes. Therefore, it is fun that the viewer has a great opportunity to see different types of cinema — from commercial to independent, dealing with unpopular themes. It’s fun that in the film industry there are more and more women of great creators who present films from another angle.

What can disappoint you in a movie?
I am most saddened by banality, “shaped” themes, copying of works of other creators. It also disappoints the undervaluation of bright and talented personalities.

Who supports you in your film career?
I am delighted with the help of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the support and faith of the family and, of course, the members of my team — cameraman Nojus Drasutis and producer Lineta Lasiauskaite.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
I‘m glad I’ve been getting more and more support and positive reactions from the film community lately. My film “The Last Time” was awarded by the Grand Prix RojaL Film Festival (Latvia) and Main Prize 32nd Film Festival Cottbus, as well as nominated in other international festivals. I believe that the film “-15” will also get its recognition.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
The film “15” did not have a premiere yet and awaits its fame.

What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
I hope to continue to create what I like, close and important. I am a creator from the heart. Therefore, I don‘t think I could create something that I’m not interested in, strangers and not carrying. There are several other scenarios in my drawer that I plan to screen and transmit a message from my soul to the viewer.