'The Jump' Director Talks Celebrating Lithuanian James Bond

TheWrap Screening Series: Documentarian Giedrė Žickytė explains what drew her to the 1970 story of a Soviet man who defected by jumping onto an American boat

Žickytė’s subjects in the film include former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, now 98, and Simas Kudirka himself, now 92, who traveled back onto the ship where he made his jump more than 50 years ago, along with Žickytė and her camera crew.

“You understand that he’s alive and you understand he’s survived,” she said. “But he’s so emotional about his experience. And this is why I love documentary filmmaking, because you start thinking that [his emotional reaction] is happening right in front of your eyes. His rescue story was a miracle.”

While abstaining from giving away too much of her film’s plot, Žickytė did refer to the other metaphorical jumps (or twists) that occur in the unraveling tale. “What happened after to the protagonist of the story, that was stranger than fiction,” she said. “His fate about whether he should be returned to the Soviets was the subject of much debate.”

Žickytė expressed her excitement that “The Jump” is currently playing in Lithuanian movie theaters. “The film is playing in cinemas for nine weeks already,” she said.

“After the Bond movie [“No Time to Die”], it’s a very popular film. [Simas Kudirka] is our local James Bond,” she added with a laugh. “He’s not using the Internet, but I’m getting so many messages from young people about him, so I’m calling him to read what people are saying about him. He is their inspiration. They want to know if they can bring him some things.”

“The Jump” is eligible in the Best Documentary Feature category at the upcoming Oscars. It will also be released in March in the United States and Canada.

To watch the trailer and the entire conversation with Giedrė Žickytė, click on the video above.

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