Netflix's Paradise begins shooting in Vilnius, Lithuania

International projects in the capital are on the rise, says Vilnius Film Office 

By Priyanca Rajput 30 May 2022

Netflix's Paradise begins shooting in Vilnius, Lithuania
Credit: Go Vilnius, European Film Commissions Network

Filming of Netflix's upcoming feature Paradise is currently underway in the Lithuanian capital city, Vilnius.

The capital, as well as other Lithuanian locations, will play host to the futuristic romance film. It centres on an ageing love that spans generations in which the film's (unconfirmed) leads are faced with challenges, conquered only by trusting one another.

Paradise is produced by Munich-based company, Neuesuper, and the production is led by German line producer Stephan Barth. Speaking about Vilnius in a statement, Barth said: 'It’s good to be back working in Vilnius. It’s always been a production friendly city and you can always trust that the process will run smoothly here.'

Lithuanian production company Ahil is also facilitating the feature, and the international team consists of around 200 people with most of the crew being locals. 

The project’s line producer Monika Sakalauskaite said that Covid-19 restrictions in the past two years have equipped them for better protocols on set: 'When you have 200 people working on a set everyday, Covid safety is the main priority. Fortunately, there is a lot of experience gained in that field over the last couple years.'

As of May this year, the country has lifted its last Covid-19 restrictions due to a well-managed situation and 81.6% percent of the population being vaccinated or immunised.

According to Jūratė Pazikaitė, head of the Vilnius Film Office, the high number of productions continues to grow each year and production teams come from Scandinavia, Germany, UK as well as the US. 'Vilnius is ready to accommodate the needs of foreign film crews. Smooth permitting process, professional and dedicated crew members as well as easy logistics ensure that everything goes according to the plan,' said Pazikaitė. 

Supervising location manager and a member of the Location Managers Guild International (LMGI), Jonas Špokas, anticipates that Vilnius will look and feel different in Paradise: 'The German team has found many interesting and alternative angles of our city. Vilnius can have many faces. One of the scenes will be shot in Fabijoniskes district. It’s interesting that a few years ago this neighbourhood was filmed as the Soviet Union in the 1980s, last year Fabijoniskes became Malmo of the current days and this time it will feature in a futuristic story.'

The German production team collaborated with Lithuania-based Baltic Locations which scouted numerous suitable filming spots; such as seacoast resort Palanga - which is less than four hours away from Vilnius - and is noted for its white sandy beaches with dune scapes across the coast of the Baltic Sea.

The sandy coast that stretches for 10km surrounded by a pine forest hosted a production team of more than 200 people, who spent over two weeks rehearsing and shooting main scenes for the feature film. “The team loved Palanga as a location due to its great views, well developed infrastructure and friendly people, said the filmmakers in a joint statement.

Lithuania attracted 19 international productions and 12 co-productions in 2021, according to the Lithuanian Film Centre, including Lasse Hallström’s Hilma, about artist Hilma af Klint, which doubled Vilnius for Stockholm. The project is backed by Viaplay Studios. 'The crew is so talented, skilled and experienced,' says Hallström. 'We were recreating Stockholm of the late 1800s, and there was a lot of Old Town imagery that looked good for our purposes.'

'Everything in Vilnius is so nearby,' adds Hilma producer Helena Danielsson from Viaplay Studios. 'Even if I stay in the Old Town, I can walk to locations as they are only a stone’s throw away. In Vilnius you don’t feel the stress of a gigantic city with all its transportation and long hours in queues.'

Other projects to shoot in Vilnius include season four of Netflix’s Stranger Things and season two of Young Wallander, which received $1.75m (€1.61m) from the rebate. 'It was a pleasure to be back,' says Young Wallander’s line producer Marshall Leviten. “Everyone works so hard to ensure everything runs smoothly. The locations work well, the crews are so professional, and the hospitality at work and everywhere else is fantastic.'

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