Topic, the streaming service from First Look Media, has acquired the rights to the documentary “The Jump,” a film about a Lithuanian defector during the Cold War who famously jumped ship onto an American boat in order to escape the Soviet Union, TheWrap has learned exclusively.
Topic picked up the U.S. and Canadian TVOD rights to the film by Giedrė Žickytė, and Topic plans to release “The Jump” on March 1, 2022 in a wider platform release followed by its debut on Topic in the summer of 2022.
“The Jump” recaps the story of one of the biggest political messes of the Cold War. On Thanksgiving Day in 1970, a Lithuanian sailor named Simas Kudirka defected from the Soviet Union by jumping off a Soviet vessel and on board a U.S. Coast Guard cutter ship, pleading for asylum and begging for his freedom. His fate about whether he should be returned to the Soviets was the subject of much debate.
The film not only includes incredible photos from the jump itself, but it even features a conversation with Kudirka himself re-enacting his experience and what he remembers from that day. Henry Kissinger is also among those featured in the documentary as he discusses why this was such a “special case,” and a trailer for “The Jump” shows President Nixon likewise being asked about the Lithuanian defector.
“Simas Kudirka is the kind of risk-taker our viewers will immediately be fascinated by,” Ryan Chanatry, general manager, Topic, said in a statement. “His story, told beautifully be Giedre, is a compelling reflection on the sacrifices we make to better our lives and the hold that our historic roots have on us.”
Giedrė Žickytė directed “The Jump,” which was produced by Uldis Cekulis. It made its premiere at the Warsaw Film Festival and won the award for Best Documentary, and it’s now listed as a qualifying film for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar race. It will also play at the upcoming 33rd annual Palm Springs Film Festival next month.
“The Jump” is a co-production of Moonmakers, VFS Films, Faites Un Voeu, in association with Naked Edge Films. Jennifer Liang, VP of Acquisitions at Topic, negotiated the deal with MetFilm Sales. MetFilm Sales is handling international sales.