VILNIUS - Basketball fans in Lithuania are counting down the days to the public release of an exciting new documentary movie about the national team at the end of the month.
‘Mes už Lietuva’ (We Are For Lithuania) offers supporters 360 degree access to last year’s historic summer when the team had the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on their shoulders as hosts of EuroBasket 2011.
Executive producer Linas Kunigelis can't wait to showcase the movie at the end of the month and explained exactly what fans can expect.
"Since we followed the team everywhere from the first training day on 17 July to the goodbye dinner after the last game of EuroBasket 2011 in mid-September, I think the movie will give fans a unique opportunity to re-live the summer of 2011 while sitting in the national team's locker room next to (Sarunas) Jasikevicius, (Rimantas) Kaukenas or (Jonas) Valanciunas," he said.
"The fans will see all challenges the team has to overcome, they will feel the desperation after that heartbreaking loss in the Quarter-Finals and then the joyful relief after regaining the Olympic dream in less than 20 hours.
"They will have an exclusive opportunity to hear many inspiring and emotional speeches of coach Kemzura before every important game and they will see how good Jasikevicius and (Mantas) Kalnietis are at the poker table plus many other things."
The movie has been backed by head coach Kestutis Kemzura and his players with the head coach fully endorsing the project.
He said: "While I still feel sorry that we could not give our fans the results they've all wanted in the summer of 2011, I am sure the viewers will be able to feel themselves as close to the team as is possible while watching this film.
"The viewers will be able to breath that enormous pressure that a home championship has put on each member of the team, to feel and to see what was going on inside the team behind closed doors of the locker room."
Robertas Javtokas also added his backing and revealed he is excited to see the finished product.
"The filming crew guys were so professional that we forgot that they are present after the second or third day," explained the captain of the team.
"And later on, we basically just didn't notice them. They were doing their job and we (players) – were doing ours. I am eager to see the results."
Meanwhile, rising star Jonas Valanciunas certainly saw the funny side of things and added "It was kind of a new experience to me - and it was funny. I just hope they did not shoot us in the shower."
For executive producer Linas Kunigelis, producing the movie was a real thrill and he is delighted to have gained the trust of his subjects, something he feels was key to the success of the movie.
"When you are working on the project like that and you are getting cameras inside the sacred places like the team‘s locker room, medical or players private rooms, it is all about trust," he explained.
"Since I have been working with many of the players and the coaches for as long as eight years, I think me and them have developed that kind of relationship.
"From our side, we were trying to be invisible as much as possible and it was really a compliment to hear when players said they forgot about us working on the next day of the camp."
Perhaps the final word on the movie should go to director Andrius Lekavicius who added a poignant message during an Olympic year by stating "Is this the movie with a happy or sad ending?"
"I would say it still continues to go on and has a hopeful ending that the team will carry all our fans to London."
The closed premiere for the national team players, coaches, former basketball stars, celebrities and media will be held on Tuesday 29 May since Lithuania starts preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) the following day and it will considered an emotional accompaniment to wishing the team good luck in their quest to make it to London 2012.
The Lithuanian public will be able to see the movie on 31 May when it will be launched at the same time in the three biggest cites of Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda.