Following the successful filming in Lithuania of HBO’s series Chernobyl, it appears that the US company Netflix has also been drawn to Vilnius. The newest, 4th season of the series Stranger Things may potentially be filmed in Lukiškės Prison.
This news that Stranger things might be filmed in Lukiškės prison was confirmed to Delfi by its sources. According to them, the same Lithuanian team, which contributed to the filming of Chernobyl (HBO), will work with the science fiction show’s authors. It is believed that the American team will be aided by Lithuania’s most prominent cinema industry professionals.
When 15min contacted representatives of Lukiškės prison, they responded that no official agreement has been signed between them and Netflix. Also, no request was received, thus it is not fully clear whether the Netflix series Stranger things in will be filmed in Lukiškės prison. UAB Baltijos Filmų Paslaugos, which worked with the series Chernobyl refused to offer comment.
Vilnius Film Office, which is responsible for the film industry in Vilnius, has refrained from comment as yet.
Lithuania has been attracting the global film industry’s attention for the past several years due to tax exemptions and exceptional shooting locations, as well as due to Vilnius Film Office and the central government’s attention to the country’s promotion among film creators.
Last year, Netflix filmed its crime TV show Young Wallander in Vilnius, and the US cable TV giant HBO filmed award-winning mini-series Chernobyl in Vilnius and Visaginas in Lithuania.
The Lukiškės prison was opened in 1904 and officially closed on July 2, 2019, with the last inmates being moved a day before. Around 700 arrestees and convicts were kept in this prison in early 2019.
There are plans to hold creative workshops in 2020 to discuss the future of this complex of buildings right in the centre of Vilnius. Real estate developers, architects, analysts, anthropologists and other specialists will be invited to the discussion. “Upon the evaluation of the significance of the complex and its territory and also expectations regarding them, it has been decided to organise a public forum and creative workshops to ensure the involvement of the public, community, as well as wide range of institutions and specialists,” Tomas Bagdonas, head of communication at Turto Bankas, told BNS in November 2019.
Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius also announced in November 2019 that Lithuania could soon become a shooting place for another famous series after Netflix’s Young Wallander was shot in the Lithuanian capital.
“We will try to hand over the management of the Lukiškės prison to Mūsų Amatai, and they could enable Lukiškės more effectively. We will wait for Turto Bankas to produce the final concept. Excursions, receptions now take place here, and TV series are shot. Vilnius Film Office is helping us as they are becoming ambassadors who introduce the prison at international exhibitions,” the minister said.
Juratė Pažikaite, director of Vilnius Film Office, was quoted by BNS in November 2019 saying that there are not so many multifunctional places in the world, and with filmmakers’ recent interest in Lithuania, the prison could become a trump card when choosing among several alternatives.
“We would like this object to be left for the film industry since the competition among countries is huge. Filmmakers are coming to Lithuania for the whole package like people, tax breaks, locations, and infrastructure. That could be the country’s another advantage to attract international film projects,” Pažikaitė said.
At the end of 2019, the Alternative Christmas Yard was created in the courtyard of the former prison. The centrally-located city jail hosted light installations symbolising the transformation of this space and its search for a new identity.
“Christmas spirit will invade the zone that for so long was beyond the reach of most city residents and guests. The city sees this former prison yard as an open cultural space that may be used for events and other needs of citizens and businesses. The initiative of the Alternative Christmas Yard will become an impulse that can make this part of the city centre more attractive,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius city.