World premiere

The Writer

Local title
Original title
Romas Zabarauskas
Lithuania, Germany, USA
27th Black Nights Film Festival
Baltic Film Competition
LGBTQ, history

Sometimes life just happens. What language shall we speak?

After 14 years of marriage, divorced IT engineer Dima goes to New York for a job interview and meets emigrated Lithuanian writer Kostas. They were friends during their mandatory stint in the Soviet army in faraway Stavropol. But they haven’t talked in 30 years since Kostas decided to pursue the American dream. Now Dima is eager to share his opinions on Kostas’s historical book “1990”. A spontaneous decision to make vegan borscht together strikes up a conversation with one rule – no sarcasm allowed!

The minimalist queer drama about guilt, regrets, fears, religion, bisexuality, defining choices, and the legacy of love is a subtle chamber piece anchored by tender performances by two American actors. The rich, jazzy soundtrack builds an intimate atmosphere of changed moods. The music is as integral to the storytelling as the sounds in the room and outside the window.

Openly gay Lithuanian filmmaker Romas Zabarauskas tackles many philosophical themes such as mental health traumas from the Soviet regime, differences between Capitalism and Communism, identity and heritage, intellectual Colonialism, and homophobia. He boldly questions whether occupiers can celebrate their culture or do their crimes negate this.

Edvinas Pukšta

The screening includes English subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing audiences. The screening is also accessible to audiences with visual impairment to whom we recommend purchasing tickets to the front rows. Please find the film’s English audio description on MovieReading app.

What do I need for using the audio description?

  • a charged smartphone
  • headphones
  • app MovieReading

Please download the MovieReading app before going to the cinema. You can also pre-download audio description or subtitles in the app.
App store
Google Play

Before going to the cinema:

  • Download the MovieReading app. Allow the app to use the microphone.
  • Choose the Market page in the app, at the bottom of the screen. On the Market page, browse the available films and select the one you want to see. Choose either audio description or subtitles and the app will upload the file to My Movies page in seconds.

In the cinema:

  • Select My Movies again, select the downloaded movie. When prompted, press OK as soon as the movie starts. Audio description or subtitles will be synchronized and start automatically.
Romas Zabarauskas
Romas Zabarauskas, Marc David Jacobs, Anastasia Sosunova, Artūras Tereškinas
Bruce Ross, Jamie Day
Glenn Elliott, Romas Zabarauskas, Aidan Tumas
Narvydas Naujalis
Ignė Narbutaitė
Ieva Marija Baranauskaitė
Artysta, Naratyvas, Dead Heat Pictures production
English, English audio description
English SDH
Romas Zabarauskas

Romas Zabarauskas (1990) turbocharged diversity in Baltic cinema, establishing himself as an inspiring storyteller with his politically provocative and visually lush body of work. Spanning more than a decade, his filmography includes 1 short & 4 features that have screened at the Berlinale, BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist, International Film Festival of India, and many others. Zabarauskas holds a BA in film (2009-2012) from Saint-Denis University (Paris) with an exchange year at Hunter College (New York), and an MA in communication (2014-2016) from KSU (Vilnius). Zabarauskas’s previous feature "The Lawyer", the first Lithuanian feature film focusing on a male same-sex romantic relationship and one of the very few fiction films about the LGBTQ+ refugee experience in Europe, was sold to 8 international distributors, dubbed in French and Portuguese, and screened at 33 film festivals.

We Will Riot (2013), You Can't Escape Lithuania (2016), The Lawyer (2020), The Writer (2023)

Award for Best Baltic Film, grant of 5000€ from Piletilevi


9th Hall Apollo Kino Coca-Cola Plaza
Screening110902 / Kirjanik
SubtitlesEnglish SDH
Q&A guestsRomas Zabarauskas (Director, Producer, Screenwriter), Narvydas Naujalis (Director of photography), Glenn Elliott (Producer), Marc David Jacobs (Screenwriter), Giedrė Valeišaitė (Production Designer)
Q&A duration
Screening duration
8th Hall Apollo Kino Coca-Cola Plaza
Screening130806 / Kirjanik
SubtitlesEnglish SDH
Q&A guestsRomas Zabarauskas (Director, Producer, Screenwriter), Marc David Jacobs (Screenwriter), a sign language interpreter is present at the Q&A
Q&A duration
Screening duration
Saal Kino Sõprus
Screening163103 / Kirjanik
SubtitlesEnglish SDH
Intro guestsRomas Zabarauskas (Director, Producer, Screenwriter)
Screening duration
PÖFF TV - Meet the Filmmakers
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