The Jump Lēciens

Documentary, 85′, Lithuania, Latvia, France 2020

It’s Thanksgiving Day, 1970. The US coast guard sets out to meet a Soviet vessel anchored just off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard. A one-day conference between the two nations has been set to discuss fishing rights in the Atlantic Ocean. While the talks are in full swing, Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka jumps across the icy water onto the American boat in a frantic bid for freedom. To his horror, and to the outcry of the world media, the Americans return him to the Soviets and he is tried for treason. The event sets off a series of protests throughout the US begging for his freedom and all hope seems lost, until new information about Simas’ citizenship surfaces.

Through eye-witness reports, rare archival footage and a dramatic first-person re-enactment by now 90-year-old would-be defector Simas Kudirka, director Giedrė Žickytė takes us on a stranger-than-fiction journey that became an inspiration for people, pictures and politics, reaching all the way up to the White House.

Director: GIEDRĖ ŽICKYTĖCinematographer: RIMVYDAS LEIPUS
Additional cinematography: VALDIS CELMINS
Editors: THOMAS ERNST, DANIELIUS KOKANAUSKIS
Producer: GIEDRĖ ŽICKYTĖ (MOONMAKERS / Lithuania)
Co-producer: ULDIS CEKULIS (VFS FILMS / Latvija)
Co-producer: CATHERINE SIMEON / FAITES UN VOEU, FRANCE
Executive producer: DANIEL CHALFEN / NAKED EDGE FILMS, USA

1970. gada Pateicības dienā ASV krasta apsardze devās uz tikšanos ar padomju kuģi, kas bija noenkurojies pie Martasvinjardas salas krastiem. Mērķis bija divpusēja tikšanās, lai apspriestu zvejas tiesības Atlantijas okeānā. Kamēr sarunas ritēja pilnā sparā, Sims Kudirka izmisīgās brīvības alkās pārlēca uz amerikāņu kuģa. Viņam par šausmām, pēc septiņām stundām brīvībā amerikāņi pārbēdzēju izdeva Padomju Savienībai, izraisot pasaules mediju sašutumu.

Izmantojot aculiecinieku ziņojumus, retus arhīva kadrus un dramatisku notikumu rekonstrukciju, ko īstenojis 90 gadus vecais Sims Kudirka, “Lēciens” ved ceļojumā, kas kļuva par iedvesmu tautai, medijiem un politikai, nonākot pat Baltā nama uzmanības epicentrā.