Two Estonian short animations Eeva and Dog Apartment are shortlisted for the Oscars.
Two Estonian short animations Eeva and Dog Apartment are shortlisted for the Oscars.
Two Estonian short animations Eeva and Dog Apartment are shortlisted for the Oscars.
The main producers Kerdi Oengo (Nukufilm) and Kalev Tamm (Joonisfilm) comment on the great news, "We are really happy that our great work has been noticed and appreciated. Two Estonian films simultaneously on the Oscars’ shortlist is a great recognition for the makers and undoubtedly for the entire Estonian culture."
Eeva, which was the first Estonian film to be selected at the Berlinale International Film Festival and where it premiered at the shorts international competition programme, tells a ghostly story about a woman's infidelity and regret, which is triggered at her husband's funeral. Eeva is directed by Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak and produced by Joonisfilm and the Croatian co-production company Adriatic Animation.
The exquisite puppet stop-motion Dog Apartment, which, in addition to several international awards, also won the prize for Best Animation from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2022, is an absurdist drama about a former ballet dancer who is confined to his barking apartment and the bleak routine of kolhoz work.
The final list of nominees will be announced early next year, and the Oscars ceremony will take place in March.
A committee convened by the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) selected “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood”, a feature documentary by Anna Hints, to compete for the annual Oscar award of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the best International Feature Film category.
Head of Production
Estonian Film Institute
Arts of Survival Documentaries has selected eight filmmakers to capture Southern Estonia on the topic of “Arts of Survival”, the artistic concept of European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024. The filmmakers are Viesturs Kairišs (Latvia), Andrey Paounov (Bulgaria), Carl Olsson (Sweden), Ülo Pikkov (Estonia), Jaan Tootsen (Estonia), Eva Kübara (Estonia), Maria Aua (Estonia) and Andris Gauja (Latvia). The collection of films will be released to the audiences in the spring of 2024.
Porto International Film Festival Fantasporto acknowledged Elmo Nüganen’s work and awarded the director with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to Nüganen, the Lifetime Achievement Award was also given to Krzysztof Zanussi, Ferdinand Lapuz ja Anthony Waller.
The documentary film training programme “Ice and Fire Docs”, a joint project of Estonia and Finland, is about to commence its third season in 2023. Nineteen applications to participate in the training programme were received this year.
This year’s Cottbus festival in Germany will feature as many as six Estonian films in its programme. Taking place for the 32nd time, the festival has adopted “Diversity of Genres” as its theme for 2022, as reflected in the variety of Estonian films forming part of its line-up.
At the heart of the programme is the festival’s competition, the main prize in which is 25,000 euros. The Estonian co-production Minsk (dir. Boris Guts) has been selected to compete for the prize. The feature film follows a young couple who find themselves in the midst of massive protests against the rigged results of presidential elections. Its Estonian production company was Leo Films, led by producer Katerina Monastyrskaya.
Also likely to garner significant attention is the Melchior the Apothecary (“Apteeker Melchior”) trilogy, all three films in which will be screened at the festival as part of its “Hits” programme. As the name suggests, this programme is dedicated to films that have enjoyed box office success on their domestic markets. Based on the popular novels by Indrek Hargla, the first two films in the series premiered in Estonia in April and August 2022. The final film in the trilogy has now been completed, and Cottbus will provide audiences with the exclusive opportunity to see all three at once. The world premiere of Melchior the Apothecary. The Executioner’s Daughter (“Apteeker Melchior. Timuka tütar”) will be attended by its director Elmo Nüganen. The film will reach Estonian cinemas in early 2023.
The Cottbus line-up will also feature the summer comedy Tree of Eternal Love (“Kiik, kirves ja igavese Armastuse Puu”) by Meel Pailale, which has been selected as part of the “Spectrum” programme, and Jaak Kilmi’s The Sleeping Beast (“Tagurpidi torn”), which will be screened as part of the festival’s programme of children’s films.
An Estonian feature is also to be found in the festival’s short-form competition: Days Without (dir. Ivar Erik Yeoman), a graduate work completed at the Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School of Tallinn University.
“We’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Cottbus for years now, with at least one Estonian film being featured in its programme every year,” said Eda Koppel, the head of marketing with the Estonian Film Institute. “But this year is special, with as many as half-a-dozen of our films making the line-up.”
Cottbus 2022 will run from 8-13 November, showcasing 219 films from 28 countries. More details about the festival can be found online at https://www.filmfestivalcottbus.de/en/home/.
For more information please contact:
International distribution coordinator
Estonian Film Institute
In the first financing rounds of 2022, the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) distributed over 1.5 million euro. A socio-critical comedy from the near future, and two Finnish co-productions found financing amongst others.
In the feature film production round, two films were supported with Estonia as the main producer.
Feature film “Lioness” got 660 000 euro. The previous film of director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, “Take It or Leave It”, was completed as part of the Estonia 100 film program. With her newest project “Lioness”, Trishkina-Vanhatalo continues to tackle burning social issues, this time in the shape of a psychological thriller. The script is inspired by real-life events and exposes motherly love from a startlingly new perspective. “I was intrigued by the idea, how far would a mother go to bring her child back from the brink of destruction”, Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo explained the film’s background. The story of a mother protecting her teenage daughter looks to make a more general point about emotional attention and the importance of closeness.
The budget of “Lioness” is 1.5 million euro, and it’s produced by Allfilm.
A 500 000 euro grant was given to the feature film “Dog”, directed by Rasmus Merivoo of “Alien. The Saving of Valdis in 11 Chapters” and “Kratt” fame. “Dog” takes place in Estonia in the near future, and takes a bold and fresh look at hypocrisy and neutralization in society. Merivoo admitted that he’s happy to live in a country where straightforward and honest films can be made. “Dog” might be an allegory about people who gradually start losing their minds, but an important spot is also saved for observations about art, because frivolity takes an increasingly self-evident position in mainstream art.
The budget of “Dog” is 1 million euro, and it’s produced by Tallifornia.
“These two narratives are completely different from each other, but they have one thing in common – both are taking an unflinching and original look at the society”, said Piret Tibbo-Hudgins, EFI’s Head of Production. Grants given to two features amount to 1.16 million euro and is divided between 2022 and 2023.
In addition, EFI supported four feature film minority co-productions with 410 000 euro in total. Minority co-production grants are given to Estonian production companies to participate in international projects.
80 000 euro went to the Finnish-Estonian co-production “Orenda”, directed by Pirjo Honkasalo, who is known for her poetic allegorical style. It ponders questions on the ethics and aesthetics of being, through the eyes of people with some experience in life. The main characters are an orphaned boy and two women, with a special contribution from a dead husband of one of the women. The narrative takes place away from the shallow bustle of civilization, and the focus of the story is of relevant themes: cruelty and tenderness, guilt and forgiveness. The active presence of the young boy gives the remembrances of the past a glimpse into the future, and perhaps a motive of eternal recurrence.
A visionary auteur film, “Orenda” is co-produced by Allfilm.
130 000 euro was granted to another Finnish-Estonian project “Never Alone”, dealing with a dark episode in Finnish history – giving up eight Jews from Central Europe to the Germans in 1942. The film is not merely an accusation built on a single fact, but a gripping story of Abraham Stiller, the leader of the Helsinki Jewish community, and his efforts to save his compatriots, adventures in the power corridors of Finland, his doubts and missteps. “Never Alone” is directed by Klaus Härö. It is the second time for Härö to co-produce a film with Estonia, having previously had considerable success with “The Fencer” in 2015.
The Estonian producer of “Never Alone” is Taska Film.
The Latvian-Estonian project “Barbarians” received 90 000 euro. The film’s central conflict is carried by a female musician and her politician husband, who is facing corruption charges. The classical Western and new Latvian realities clash on a familial level, or maybe it’s the other way around – modern West and traditional Latvia. It is up to the viewer to decide, who represents sincerity, or cynicism. The director Juris Kursietis’ previous film “Oleg” premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight program at Cannes Film Festival in 2019.
The Estonian producer of “Barbarians” is Stellar Film.
French-Estonian co-production “Apathy” receiver 110 000 euro. Directed by Alexandros Avranas, the film explores a strange phenomenon that has appeared in Sweden over the past few decades, where the kids of families who have been denied political asylum, fall into a strange lethargic state. In “Apathy”, the fate of the whole family is in the hands of such a kid, because he’s the key witness for the appeal committee.
The clock is ticking, and the family that has arrived from Russia needs to make a decision where the ends justify the means.
The film is being co-produced by five different countries, with Amrion as the Estonian partner.
The second round of feature film production grants is on April 26, with 834 000 euro to be distributed. The second round of minority co-production projects takes place on September 13, with 190 000 euro available.
Estonian Film Institute
Head of Production
Artis will once again showcase the best of Latvian and Lithuanian filmmaking of the recent years. The the screenings are free of charge and all films have Estonian and English subtitles.
Seats can be reserved at the Artis’ box office on the day of the screenings.
The presentation of one of the following documents is needed: a completed COVID-19 vaccination certificate or proof of passage (valid for up to 6 months after recovery) or a negative PCR test (up to 72 h old) or a rapid antigen test (up to 48 h old). In addition, a personal identification document is required.
The Baltic Film Days take place for the fifth time and happen simultaneously in the three Baltic States. The event offers an opportunity to exchange the recent film creations between neighbouring countries.
Estonian films, Lauri Randla's humorous debut Goodbye Soviet Union and Jaan Tootsen's portrait documentary of Fred Jüssi The Beauty of Being, will be screened in Latvia and Lithuania. The event is dedicated to the anniversary of the Baltic Way. The Baltic Film Days are organized by the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian film institutes.
Watch trailer for the Baltic Film Days here.
Eurimages supported three Estonian films at their June 2021 meeting. Director Rainer Sarnet’s The Invisible Fight received 360,000 euros, while Triin Ruumet’s Dark Paradise received 150,000 euros and a Lithuanian-Estonian-Bulgarian documentary coproduction Irena received 112,000 euros.
That the three films were awarded the support is all the more noteworthy for the fact that competition for the support was the fiercest it has ever been in the history of Eurimages: a total of 92 European films applied for financing. With all of the films to which support was provided, Eurimages highlighted the originality and topical nature of their stories and the bold, unique visions of their directors.
The Invisible Fight is a kung-fu comedy about an Orthodox monastery set in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Since director Rainer Sarnet’s plan with the film is to marry a number of aspects that at first glance don’t appear to go together – levity and sanctity, Black Sabbath and monks’ chants, pop culture and religious art – then the film will be a mixture which has never existed before in this form. “When you’re trying something that’s really out there, the cards tend to fall in one of two ways when it comes to funding,” explained the film’s producer Katrin Kissa. “Either the originality of it really grabs people, or the fact that it’s new and unusual leads to them taking a more cautious approach. The financing we’ve secured from Eurimages for The Invisible Fight is the last cornerstone of the whole thing. Now we can say with total confidence that shooting will start in August.” The film will be shot in Latvia, Greece and Estonia.
Sarnet is not only the film’s director, but is also responsible for its screenplay. Joining Ursel Tilk, who has been cast in the lead role, will be actors Ester Kuntu, Indrek Sammul, Maria Avdjuško, Tiina Tauraite and Mari Abel. The film’s crew will include director of photography Mart Taniel, designer Jaagup Roomet and costume designer Jaanus Vahtra. The film is being produced by Homeless Bob Production. With a budget of 2.6 million euros, the film is being made as a coproduction between Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Finland and Germany. The Estonian Film Institute allocated 700,000 euros in support of the film.
Triin Ruumet’s Dark Paradise is a drama about millennials which exists on the fringes of black tragicomedy. Its screenplay was written by Ruumet, Andris Feldmanis and Livia Ulman. The story draws the viewer into the hedonistic world of a young university student – a lifestyle with which she staves off her yearning for real intimacy. Producer Elina Litvinova explained that the team found a French partner Jeremy Forni from Chevaldeuxtrois on the coproduction market at the Les Arcs film festival a couple of years ago. “He is a big fan of Triin’s work, and a really good partnership has grown out of that,” she said.
Dark Paradise is being made as an Estonian-French coproduction with a budget of 1.4 million euros. It will star Rea Lest and Jörgen Liik and feature Steffi Pähn, Liisa Saaremäel and Juhan Ulfsak. Its crew will include director of photography Erik Põllumaa and designer Matis Mäesalu. The Estonian Film Institute allocated 800,000 euros in support of the film, which is being produced by the Three Brothers studio.
Talented Lithuanian director Giedrė Žickytė’s documentary Irena represents a creative production partnership between Estonian, Lithuanian and Bulgarian film-makers. Producer Pille Rünk explained that the documentary serves as a farewell and love letter to an extraordinary woman, Irena Veisaitė – a Lithuanian theatre scholar and humanist whose fate was closely intertwined with Estonia through love and friendship. Irena was the last wife of Estonian film director Grigori Kromanov, and composer Arvo Pärt’s Für Alina was named after Irena’s daughter – as consolation to both mother and daughter, whom the vicissitudes of life had separated. Part of the documentary will be shot in Estonia, where its soundtrack will be produced and its sound design carried out.
The Estonian producer of the film, which has a budget of 450,000 euros, is Allfilm. The Estonian Film Institute allocated 30,000 euros in minority coproduction support to the film.
Estonian films which have received support from Eurimages in recent years include The Last Ones (dir. Veiko Õunpuu), Goodbye Soviet Union (dir. Lauri Randla), November (dir. Rainer Sarnet), Scandinavian Silence (dir. Martti Helde), Pretenders (dir. Vallo Toomla) and The Secret Society of Souptown (dir. Margus Paju), plus a number of films in which Estonian producers have been minority partners. These include the Finnish film Compartment Number 6, directed by Juho Kuosmanen and written by Andris Feldmanis and Livia Ulman, which was selected for competition at 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Veiko Õunpuu’s latest feature The Last Ones will be the opening film this Thursday, May 20 at Iceland’s Stockfish Film Festival. The film won Best Baltic Feature at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival last autumn and is still enjoying festival success. In April, it screened in the „Masters“ programme at the Moscow International Film Festival and was in competition at GoEast Film Festival. The fall in coronavirus cases allows Stockfish to happen as a physical festival at the Bíó Paradís cinema. The opening screening is invite only, however, The Last Ones will be available for the wider festival audience on May 25.
The Last Ones is a Nordic Western that takes place in the untamed Lapland tundra. The protagonist is young miner Rupi, who hopes to scrape together enough money through excavating the tundra to forever shake the suffocating dust of the mining village from his feet. But the work has come to a halt because Rupi’s reindeer herder father refuses to sell his land. What’s more, the manipulative mine owner nicknamed the Fisherman has his eye on Rupi’s friend’s wife, a woman who Rupi is also secretly in love with. Now that life in the mining village is becoming more dangerous by the day, Rupi must decide where and to whom he belongs. Is it the primal tundra of his forefathers or the cold terrain of personal interest?
The Last Ones is a co-production between Estonia, Finland and the Netherlands, produced by Katrin Kissa from Homeless Bob Production together with Mark Lwoff, Misha Jaari (BUFO, Finland) and Ellen Havenith (PRPL, the Netherlands). Starring Pääru Oja, Laura Birn, Tommi Korpela. Written by the director Veiko Õunpuu, together with Heikki Huttu-Hiltunen and Eero Tammi, cinematography by Sten-Johan Lill, edited by Wouter van Luijn and Xander Nijsten, sound design by Mark Glynne.
The Last Ones is Veiko’s fifth feature. His previous films are highly acclaimed, his debut feature Autumn Ball won the Orizzonti Award for Best Film at Venice International Film Festival in 2007 and his next ones The Temptation of St. Tony, Free Range. Ballad of Approving the World and Roukli have premiered at acclaimed film festivals and won numerous awards.
Stockfish Film Festival will take place from 20 to 30 May in Reykjavik. This year the festival will present a curated collection of 21 internationally award-winning films and a shorts programme. The festival chose The Last Ones as the opening film as it fits „into the spirit of Stockfish with its unconventional narrative and stunning cinematography.“ The festival screenings for The Last Ones are supported by the Estonian Film Institute and the Estonian Embassy in Oslo.
Everyone residing in Iceland can attend the screening taking place on May 25.
Tickets can be purchased here: https://tix.is/en/event/11237/the-last-ones/.
More information on the festival’s website: https://stockfishfestival.is/en/front-page/
International Distribution Coordinator
Two Estonian directorial debut features Goodbye, Soviet Union by Lauri Randla and Firebird by Peeter Rebane are chosen for the programme „Russian Trace“ at this years’ Moscow International Film Festival. The former had it’s world premiere at the A-list Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, followed by screenings at Tromsø IFF and Cleveland IFF, the latter had its start at London’s oldest LGBTQ+ film festival BFI Flare.
Both films offer historical stories set in the Soviet Era, showcasing the unique and unconventional journeys often hidden behind closed doors that the audiences can easily relate to. The comedy Goodbye, Soviet Union tells the story of a colourful Ingrian-Finnish family. A young boy Johannes is born to a single student mom and is raised by his grandparents, while the hippie mom protests against the war in Afghanistan. Strong characters quarrel with each other until mother smuggles herself to work in Finland through KGB and Johannes has to face the life challenges alone. He falls deeply in love with his classmate, Vera, takes risks, gets into fights, and gets punished… all the while, in the background, the Evil Empire collapses.
Starring Niklas Kouzmitšev, Nika Savolainen, Ülle Kaljuste, Tõnu Oja and Pääru Oja.
Written and directed by Lauri Randla, cinematography by Elen Lotman and produced by Peeter Urbla with Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari. The production companies behind the film are Exitfilm and Bufo (Finland). The director’s filmography to date consists of seven short films, among them Mausoleum (2016), which has won over ten international awards. The short is produced by Peeter Urbla from Exitfilm.
Firebird is a touching love story set in the Soviet Air Force during the Cold War. Sergey, a troubled young private, is counting the days till his military service ends. His life is turned upside down when a daring fighter pilot, Roman arrives at the base. Driven by curiosity, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship as a dangerous love triangle forms between them and Luisa, the secretary to the base Commander. Sergey is forced to face his past as Roman’s career is endangered and Luisa struggles to keep her family together. As the walls close in, they risk their freedom and their lives in the face of an escalating KGB investigation and the fear of the all-seeing Soviet regime. Based on a true story.
Starring Tom Prior (The Theory of Everything, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Oleg Zagorodnij (The Choice, Dzhamayka) and Diana Požarskaja (The Unknown Soldier, Hotel Eleon, as well as many beloved Estonian actors, such as Margus Prangel, Ester Kuntu and Kaspar Velberg. The shooting took place in various historically significant sites around Tallinn, Pärnu and Ida-Virumaa.
Written by Peeter Rebane and Tom Prior, directed by Peeter Rebane, cinematography by Mait Mäekivi, edited by Tambet Tasuja, sound design by Matis Rei and produced by Brigita Rozenbrika. The production companies involved are The Factory, founded by Peeter Rebane and Adam Brummond and the London production company No Reservations Entertainment. The film was supported under the Estonian Film Institute’s Film Estonia cash rebate scheme.
Firebird is the first feature for the Harvard graduate Peeter Rebane, who has also studied at the University of South-California. The Goodbye, Soviet Union director Lauri Randla has a degree from Aalto/ELO film school.
Both debuts have already received critical acclaim and their festival journey keeps on growing. Firebird director Peeter Rebane is delighted that the film will have its second festival screening after London in Moscow, commenting that „the story of Firebird is based on the Russian actor Sergey Fetisov’s life and set in a large part in Moscow.“
The director of Goodbye, Soviet Union Lauri Randla believes the Moscow festival will give an opportunity to see the film in a new light, saying that „The storyline will definitely open up to the Russian audiences differently than for the Western viewer. I believe everyone can find something to relate to in the film.“ The Russian Esquire magazine mentioned Goodbye, Soviet Union as one of the ten best European films at the Tallinn Black Nights FF, drawing parallels with the story worlds of Wes Anderson and the Netflix hit series Stranger Things.
In its 43rd year, the Moscow International Film Festival is one of the 15 FIAPF-accredited A-list festivals (International Federation of Film Producer’s Association). The festival takes place 22-29 of April in Moscow as a physical event, meaning the screenings will be in cinemas.
The festival’s website: http://www.moscowfilmfestival.ru/miff43/eng/programs/
Estonian Film Institute
International Festival Coordinator
Coronavirus unsurprisingly causes 2020 cinema attendance in Estonia to fall dramatically, but Estonian films still prove popular amongst local audiences.
The arrival of the Coronavirus in the spring of 2020 has had a devastating effect on cinema attendance for the year, with the number of cinema goers in 2020 less than half of the figure of those in 2019. However, the market share of Estonian films rose to a record high, garnering 26.72% of the total number of viewers
In 2019 3.68 million viewers watched movies in Estonia cinemas for box office revenue of 21.8 million EUR. In 2020 this dropped to 1.8 million with box office revenue of 10.7 million EUR. Despite this the per capita rate of cinema going in Estonia was still a relatively healthy 1.35.
In 2020 four Estonian films appeared in the Top Ten as compiled by Kinolevi. Where the Heart Is [Talve] (Dir. Ergo Kuld, Produced by Taska Film, Kassikuld and Apollo Film Productions) took second place with 151,137 viewers while animated film Sipsik (Dirs. Meelis Arulepp & Karsten Kiilerich, produced by A Film Estonia and A. Film Production) – also known as Raggie to international audiences – was in third place. Fourth place was taken by spy thriller Dawn of War [O2] (Dir. Margus Paju, produced by Nafta Films, Taska Film, Film Angels Studio, INSCRIPT and Solar Films) with 75,270 viewers while documentary The Beauty of Being [Fred Jüssi. Olemise ilu] (Dir. Jaan Tootsen, produced by Taska Film) occupied the sixth spot with 57,111 viewers.
The most watched film of 2020 was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet – partly filmed in Estonia – with 160,927 viewers.
Where the Heart Is, Raggie and The Beauty of Being were all premiered at the beginning of 2020 with their distribution interrupted by the national closure of cinemas on March 13th of that year. Dawn of War reached cinemas in October, a few weeks before the second wave of the coronavirus hit Estonia. Estonian films screened in the latter half of 2020 unsurprisingly attracted fewer viewers than expected with several films postponing their premieres until 2021. There is an assumption that under normal circumstances the number of Estonian releases and audience members would have been significantly higher with the first few months of the year alone bringing more than 900,000 spectators to the cinema.
In addition to the 20 Estonian films premiered in 2020, an additional 14 films released previously continued to be screened. Estonian films attracted a total of 480,758 cinema viewers and ticket revenue of 2.65 million EUR. This makes the market share of Estonian films in 2020 26.72% of viewers with a box office revenue of 24.73%.
In 2020, there were a total of 366 films in Estonian cinema, of which 226 were new and 140 older films. This lower number of films – and lower number of audience members - is reflective of the lengthy closure time that cinemas faced throughout the year. The average ticket price in 2020 was 5.96 euros.
Edith Sepp, the head of the Estonian Film Institute said:
"There is a current trend in Europe that local films are proving popular in their own country. As the big studios continually held their films back, the local movies took a risk and sometimes that risk paid off. I am sorry that some good Estonian films did not get as many viewers as they deserved - the pandemic still managed to wreak its havoc – but this is certainly not a completely failed year for Estonian film.“
A table of films that premiered in 2020 with the number of viewers and box office revenue can be found here: https://filmi.ee/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Kinolevi-2020.pdf
The Kazakh project “A Winner is seen at the Start” is the winner of the 5.000 EUR Film Center Serbia Award at the 11th edition of When East Meets West. The debut film of the writer-director Zhannat Alshanova is produced by Yevgeniya Moreva for Almaty-based Steppe by Steppe. The story follows 19-year-old Mila, who joins an experimental swimming school, but after the death of a teammate, a series of revelations come to light. The film also received the Pop Up Film Residency Award, and Alshanova was also crowned with the European Women’s Audiovisual Network Award for the Best Woman Director, which was given out for the fifth year in a row at WEMW.
WEMW is organized once again by the FVG Audiovisual Fund in collaboration with the Trieste Film Festival, EAVE, Creative Europe Desk Italy and thanks to the precious and constant support of Creative Europe/MEDIA Programme, MIBACT -Direzione Generale per il Cinema, CEI – Central European Initiative, Film Center Serbia and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The 2021 Focus on Israel and Italy is run in partnership with the Israel Cinema Project, Rabinovich Foundation and MIBACT – Direzione Generale per il Cinema.
The Estonian Film Institute (EFI) announced its first round of production support for 2021. The amount of 1,412 million euros will be shared amongst three features.
One of the films receiving the support is an Estonian-French co-production Dark Paradise („Tume paradiis“), directed by Triin Ruumet and produced by Elina Litvinova from the Tallinn-based production company Three Brothers. Ruumet has already proven herself to be a director with a bold handwriting, with her debut The Days That Confused winning the Special Jury Prize at Karlovy Vary’s East of the West programme in 2015. Her second feature continues on the theme of disillusionment, centering around a young female student whose hedonistic lifestyle collapses after the death of her father unravels family secrets and forces her to face her new reality. Dark Paradise was selected for Les Arcs Coproduction village in 2019 and Ruumet co-wrote the screenplay with the scriptwriting duo of Andris Feldmanis and Livia Ulman. The feature has a total budget of €1,443,200. Three Brothers is the company behind another distinguished filmmaker, Martti Helde, and his acclaimed features In the Crosswind and Scandinavian Silence.
The feature 8 Views of Lake Biwa („Biwa järve 8 nägu“), produced by Ivo Felt from the production house Allfilm, who provided services for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet this past summer, also received support. A filmmaker with a vast experience both in fiction and documentaries, the writer-director Marko Raat, was inspired by the painter Max Dauthendey's Japanese-themed book of love stories of the same name. However, his version takes place on the outskirts of the Estonian countryside and the story’s themes are translated into the land’s mythic cultural heritage. The film’s budget is €1,444,623. The project was previously selected to the Baltic Event Co-production Market in 2020 and it has a strong outlook to be an international co-production.
Both Dark Paradise and 8 Views of Lake Biwa will receive €765,000 in support from EFI.
The third project, with a total budget of €891,599 and which will receive a grant of €590,000, is the tragicomedy Stairway to Heaven („Taevatrepp“), produced by Marju Lepp of the Estonian production company Filmivabrik. Director-screenwriter Mart Kivastik has adapted his own novel of the same name, published in 2019, which deals with the subjects of ageing and death through a humorous lens. His previous film, an Estonian-Iceland co-production, When You Least Expect It („Õnn tuleb magades“, 2016) was selected for the Mannheim-Heidelberg competition programme.
Piret Tibbo-Hudgins, the Head of Production at EFI, commented on the decision-making progress, noting that the supported films all have „diverse subject-matter and a strong authorial voice“ and pointed out their strong international festival and audience potential.
Altogether nine projects applied for support and the three selected projects have previously received script development support from EFI. The deadline for the next call for applications for feature film production grants is on April 27, with the sum of €913,000 to be distributed. The decisions will be announced no later than June 17.
For more information:
EFI Head of Production