Arunas Matelis
Arunas Matelis

Before Flying Back to the Earth

After his daughter survived eight months of treatment for leukaemia, Lithuanian filmmaker Arunas Matelis did not turn his back on the hospital. He filmed the kids in the leukaemia ward in Vilnius as they carried out their day-to-day routine. For the parents, their worst nightmare has come true, but what do the children themselves think? A life among medicine, IVs and tubes does not prevent them from just carrying on. Their adaptability is incredible.

Before Flying Back to the Earth is interlaced with black-and-white pictures showing the children in the middle of a smile, yawn or gesture, momentarily freezing time in a thorough documentary that does not deal with death but with life.

Team Partner
Gerd Haag, producer
Producer / Production Details
TAG/TRAUM in co-production with Nominum for ZDF/ARTE
Supported by Filmstiftung NRW, Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Fund for Culture and Sports
Top Awards/Festivals
Silver Wolf Award at IDFA (2005)
Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig (2005)
Big Stamp Award at ZagrebDox (2006)
Jury First Prize at International Documentary Festival Documenta Madrid (2006)
Honorable Mention at Silverdocs Washington (2006)
Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary (2007)
Best Lithuanian Film 2005 by the Lithuanian Filmmakers Union
Nominee for the European Film Academy Best Documentary Award 2005
Training Programme
Masterschool 2001