The Beginning

In the fall of 2000 I'd just arrived in Kupiskis, Lithuania as a US Peace Corps volunteer. I had the idea early in college to go into the Peace Corps. When I graduated I received a letter from my Dad encouraging me to look into it, and the rest is history. I pulled into Kupiskis on a rusty bus on a rainy September day and remained there for the next two years. Among the most formative events and relationships of my adulthood (so far) stand a few special people who I met in Lithuania. Included among them is Gintaras Petrikas. He and his family were my closest friends in Kupiskis and I spent numerous summer days on his small farm and many evenings at his apartment during the long winters. Among the stories he told me, lays the seed that started this one. His uncle had been a partisan during the war. They called themselves the Forest Brothers and they fought an unsupported guerilla war against the Soviet occupation that lasted ten years. Gintaras showed me how his uncle used to sleep in the forest. Sitting up, he kept one hand on his leg one hand on his rifle. He spent years sleeping like that. It was completely different than how I would have imagined it and that made it interesting. The next two years passed with a density of events and experiences that would normally fill five years, but that story stuck out. When I returned to the states I started grad school at Cal Arts. I knew about the Fulbright grant and gave it serious attention. In April of 2004, I received notice from the Fulbright commission that I'd received a grant to make my proposed thesis film in Lithuania. The film is about the last few men in a Lithuanian partisan unit and how they meet their ends. It'll be shot in the Lithuanian language all on location. The working title is Tiger, Oak and Echo. The guys who fought often used code names to protect themselves and their families from Soviet retribution. I choose to use them cause they're authentic but more importantly it helps those who aren't familiar with Lithuanian culture follow the story. This blog is a way for me to keep my friends, family, and faculty in the loop while I'm gone and a way to document all the hilarious and heart breaking obstacles that accompany any film production.