The Jump

Giedre Zickyte, 83 min, Lithuania, Latvia, France.

"The story is brilliantly told and rich in surprises, and The Jump is surely one of this year’s unmissable non-fiction titles."
Davide Abbatescianni, CINEUROPE

In the Cold War years of the 1970s, an American patrol boat meets a Soviet ship off the East coast of the United States for talks about fishing rights in the Atlantic. In the midst of this, while Soviet commanders are aboard the US Coast Guard vessel where the talks are being held, a Lithuanian sailor jumps across the ten feet of icy water separating the boats. Crash-landing on the deck of the American ship, he desperately begs for asylum.

Though they try, the Americans ultimately fail to provide protection and the Soviets are allowed to capture him and return him to their vessel. But this was only the beginning of the story.

Through rare archival footage and a dramatic first-person re-enactment of that fateful day by Simas Kudirka, the would-be defector himself, this tale of one of the biggest Cold War muddles takes us on a stranger-than-fiction journey of imprisonment, uncanny twists of fate, and the emotional sacrifices of becoming a universal symbol of freedom.

Giedre Zickyte is a Lithuanian documentary film director and producer whose heavily awarded films has been selected to several international festivals. Giedre’s previous films include the documentary feature Master and Tatyana—winner of four national cinema awards (Silver Cranes), including the award for best director.