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That c word that screwed up my film premiere

That c word that screwed up my film premiere

  • How one gay Lithuania filmmaker and his boyfriend are getting through coronavirus together.
A shirtless man in a doorway.

‘It seems that you’re working a lot in order to psychologically cope with the current crisis,’ my therapist told me yesterday on our now regular Zoom chat.

Could that be true? I mean yes, it’s 6am now and I’m typing this article while my boyfriend is still sleeping in our bedroom next door. But I was always a workaholic. No global pandemic needed for additional motivation really.

To think of it, my work should have stalled. I’m a filmmaker based in Vilnius, Lithuania. And I was ready to come to London for the world premiere of my queer romance THE LAWYER at BFI Flare Film Festival, London’s annual LGBT+ film festival.

You can watch the trailer here:

We would have premiered at BFI Southbank, got together with lead actors, celebrated with a live audience and friends at sold-out screenings. Not happening.

But who knew a canceled premiere actually results in more work? I’m still giving interviews and obsessively checking for new reviews. Meanwhile I’m also strategizing our theatrical release in Lithuania, even though the cinemas are currently closed.

However, this is surely not what I expected during the four last years I worked on my film. Thank you, c***navirus.

We’re in that infamous ‘risk group’

Of course I’m not in a position to complain. People are dying, losing their jobs, getting evicted – my problems in no way compare.

But even fortunate people are vulnerable. My boyfriend has asthma, and I had it in my teen years. We also both had pneumonia and bronchitis from flu complications, as recently as a few years ago. 

So we actually are in that infamous ‘risk group’ that you’ll consider sacrificing in the name of the economy in a few months. Well, such is life. Full of twists and turns, as they say. 

Anyway, for me though, not much has changed. I always work from home. I don’t love going out as everyone knows each other in Vilnius, so once out, you need to keep saying ‘hi’ and make small talk with every other person.

Honestly, who loves small talk? If we want to meet up, we’d meet up. Not in the middle of a sidewalk.

Romas Zabarauskas
LGBT+ filmmaker Romas Zabarauskas. Marija Silk

Lost in the weeds

What changed though, is that now my boyfriend is staying at home too. He normally works as a waiter at an ‘upscale’ restaurant. They don’t do take-away, so it’s closed during the quarantine.

Well, great. Now we don’t have any excuses about conflicting schedules or being tired after work. It’s just the two of us. And we’re supposed to have great sex, intimacy and love, all while respecting each other’s boundaries 24/7, in the same space.

Two men kiss.
This photo and main image: Scene from THE LAWYER. Marija Silk

So how is that working out?

A few days ago he ordered the delivery of a plank. Then he borrowed a saw from our neighbors and made a shelf out of it, attaching it by the window. He started to grow sprouts of creepers – ‘Virginia creepers’ – which will eventually cover one of three huge windows at our place. 

My boyfriend wanted to cover all three windows but I pleaded with him to try one at first. He also planted a sweet potato that we failed to eat on time, and it actually started to sprout.

This is in addition to the dill, rosemary and roses that are already growing and were recently placed on the same table I work at. Because ‘it looks better here,’ he says. Sure.

If this quarantine continues much longer, I’ll be lost in the weeds. 

That said, my favorite film is All That Heaven Allows, in which a widow falls in love with her gardener. So I hope all that dill and rosemary can truly spice up our sex life.

In the meantime, we’ll keep our therapists busy at this wonderful time.