The Last Czars, a Netflix mini-series portraying the fall of the last Romanovs, the dynasty that ruled Russia for 300 years, premiered earlier this summer.
Next to displaying the dramatic ending of the three-century-old imperial family, the show attracts its viewers by showcasing several spectacular surroundings.
The show, however, was not shot in Russia, but in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, which is becoming a landmark destination for film production in the region.
It is not the first major film production happening in Vilnius in the past few years: BBC‘s War and Peace (2016), HBO‘s Catherine the Great (2019) and the record-setting Chernobyl (2019) were all, among others, partially or fully shot in Vilnius.
“Even though the budget of The Last Czars was not huge when compared to other titles of this scale, and the filming schedule was tight, the show managed to capture some epic-looking scenes,” said Jonas Špokas, CEO of Baltic Locations and supervising location manager for The Last Czars.
The show was shot in twelve locations around the city, including a Franciscan monastery, several former palaces, Literary Museum of Alexander Pushkin, an Orthodox church and an Orthodox cathedral.
The optimistic outlook on the growing pedigree of Vilnius as a regional filming hotspot can be backed up by numbers, too.
Between 2014 and 2018, foreign film industry capital spent in Lithuania grew from 1.25M EUR to 45.5M EUR.
Among many reasons behind the hike in numbers, the presence of skilled local cinema professionals and Lithuanian Film Tax Incentive policy seem to be central.
According to the incentive, foreign production companies can save up to 30% of production costs when collaborating with local production companies.