On Location... Vilnius
Ema Čielytė, Production Manager at Magic Vilnius, guides us around the city; it's luxurious hotels and well-stocked whisky bars and its love of hot air balloons, and explains why the capital of Lithuania is the 'g-spot' of Europe.
What’s the best thing about working in advertising in Vilnius?
Advertising here is still in its adolescence here. So are we; young, hard working and pushing ourselves to the limit.
And the worst thing?
We have to be honest here; the weather can be both your enemy and your best friend on location. Or both at the same time. You can have winter in the morning and summer before lunchtime, and we are still not sure if it’s a curse or a blessing.
Above: Ema Čielytė, Production Manager at Magic Vilnius.
What advice would you give to a visitor?
Be curious and open-hearted. They say Vilnius is the g-spot of Europe; nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing. Always keep exploring!
If you were booking a hotel in Vilnius, where would you stay?
Vilnius offers a range of hotels to suit everyone’s needs, but our go-to is Hotel Pacai. It’s a 17th century mansion reborn into a seamless blend of its authentic elements, together with the best contemporary pieces and materials of our time. The staff, the finger-licking restaurant, even the smell of this hotel, is love at first sight.
Above: Hotel Pacai.
Where’s the best place to eat in Vilnius?
Outside! In summer, Vilnius is literally one massive outdoor café. In winter time you can cosily snuggle up in the very heart of the old town, in a restaurant called Džiaugsmas (Lithuanian for Joy). Chef Martynas will only serve dishes made from the best Lithuanian products grown by local farmers, complemented by an exclusive natural wine selection.
And to have a drink?
Pub crawl definitely. From teeny-tiny underground pubs, to fancy rooftop terraces, everyone will find their cup of tea (or a pint of beer) in Vilnius. However, we would first take you to a small, hidden whisky bar called King&Mouse, situated in the smallest street in Vilnius (called Whisky Street!). Passionate staff will help you choose from around 300 whisky varieties they stock.
Above: Džiaugsmas, a restaurant in Vilnius highly recommended by Čielytė. And the King&Mouse whisky bar.
What do you miss when you are out of the city?
Trees, mostly. Vilnius is one of the greenest cities in Europe, and we’re really proud of it.
What is the best Lithuanian ad you have seen in the last year?
It’s not from us – unfortunately – but kudos to our colleagues who worked on this. Shot in the most beautiful place in Lithuania, called The Curonian Spit, a thin piece of land and a magical little village in the middle of a lagoon and a sea, on one of the biggest sand dunes in Europe, it’s a commercial for our local beer brand called Švyturys (the Lighthouse). The main talent in this campaign is Petras Geniušas, local piano prodigy. Standing ovations for this one.
Who do you/would you love to work with in the industry?
We really believe and support the local youth here. We really trust in our directors, DPs and production designers, and are always delighted and thankful when they get the chance to work together on the biggest projects our clients bring here.
If Vilnius were a product or brand what would it be?
An iPhone 5; classic, easy to use, super-functional and great design-wise. A real bargain.
What’s your favourite memory of Vilnius?
Vilnius every spring. There’s always this first day of spring when the weather is crisp, sunny and it’s already pretty warm. Everyone is out in the streets with their new fresh sneakers sipping beers on a Saturday afternoon.
What’s Vilnius’s favourite pastime?
Vilnius loves hot air balloons. It’s one of the very few capitals where you can fly them. Summer mornings and evenings you can easily spot a balloon or two if you lift your head up. It’s a very lovely experience, especially in the golden hour.
One table, four places: You and who?
Roger Deakins, David Attenborough and David Letterman. Dream big!
What’s your one-line life philosophy?
Do not take anything for granted.
If you could have one question answered, what would it be?
Why did no one read the call sheet?