Estonian Film 2017 / 3

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Marianne Ostrat Loves Good Challenges

Pictured Futures in Tallinn

Sulev Keedus

Intuition & Perception Evelin Võigemast Shines on the Big Screen

FEATURED FILMS: The Manslayer / The Virgin /The Shadow The End of the Chain I The Man Who Looks Like Me 14 Cases I Soviet Hippies I November



Estonia’s 100th birthday with Films!

The Little Comrade

Take It or Leave It

The Riddle of Jaan Niemand

historical drama director Moonika Siimets March 2018

drama director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo September 2018

drama director Kaur Kokk October 2018

Eia’s Christmas at Phantom Owl Farm

Truth and Justice

Lotte and the Lost Dragons

drama director Tanel Toom February 2019

animation directors Janno Põldma, Heiki Ernits March 2019

The Bank

Land Shaped by Winds


TV drama series directors Marianne Kõrver, Juhan Ulfsak, Jan-Erik Nõgisto, Rainer Sarnet October 2018

documentary director Joosep Matjus September 2018

omnibus documentary directors: Aljona Suržikova, Heilika Pikkov, Nora Särak, Anna Hints, Kersti Uibo, Moonika Siimets January 2018

children’s film director Anu Aun December 2018

More info


Estonian Film is Here to Stay!


he European Union began as the dream of a few and became the hope of many. Today the existence of the EU is selfevident but it has not always been this way. The same can be said of Estonian film – today nobody doubts in its potential, though it has not always been this way. We start with the official selection entries from Estonia for the Black Nights Film Festival. First, Sulev Keedus, the grand old man of Estonian film, has a new feature film in the main competition with the world premiere of The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow. A second film to watch out for is a Finnish-Estonian-Swedish co-production by AJ Annila entitled The Eternal Road. These two films are exceptional and accomplished works of imagination and ingenuity. Today, while Estonia is hosting the EU Presidency and moving closer and closer to celebrating the 100th birthday of its republic, Estonian film is seen as being on very solid ground indeed. Together, filmmakers and their films form one of the biggest achievements in our centennial – we will release five feature films and one animation feature for children, one feature documentary, one cassette with short documentaries and one high-end TV series in co-production with a local public broadcaster. Estonia also presents an audiovisual conference on the future of the audiovisual landscape in Europe. The discussion will centre around the wildest dreams and visions of the audiovisual scene – what we have, where we are heading and what it all means for wider society. This will bring many distinguished guests to Tallinn, including the heads of film funds and broadcasting stations, opinion leaders, media academics. The closing address has been reserved for Lord David Puttnam. When I asked Lord Puttnam if he could define the meaning of film for him, in this everchanging and technologically overloaded digital world, he said: “Film delivers an important communal, as well as commercial, value. Part of its job is to turn complex arguments into human connections. We need to remind emerging generations of the unique experience of the cinema the possibility of seeing our ‘best selves’ reflected back to us by the characters on the big screen. Despite, or rather because of, the immense paradigm shifts across the media and digital sectors, we have every reason to feel confident about the future of film as a medium.” The celebration of the Republic of Estonia’s centennial starts already here and now during the Black Nights Film Festival. Estonian film is here to stay! Come along and join the party!

Edith Sepp Estonian Film Institute CEO

Content 4

NEWS Take It or Leave It


NEWS Success Story Continues


EVENT The Nights Are Black Again


EVENT Digital Issues in Focus


12 COVER STORY Sulev Keedus Intuition & Perception 18 NEWS The Little Comrade 20 TALENT Evelin Võigemast She Shines On 22 NEWS From Little to Big 24 IN FOCUS Marianne Ostrat A Very Productive Producer

24 30

30 DIRECTOR Katrin Maimik It’s Life Itself 32 IN FOCUS Marianna Kaat Docs Have to Serve Society 35 NEWS A New Generation 36 EVENT Storytek A-class Film Festival Meets Business Accelerator 38 REVIEW November 40 REVIEW Soviet Hippies Once A Hippie, Always a Hippie


42 REVIEW The Man Who

Looks Like Me

A Man in the Maze

44 NEW FILM An overview of the latest Estonian films

Estonian Film is published three times per year by Estonian Film Institute Estonian Film Institute Uus 3, 10111, Tallinn, Estonia Phone: +372 627 6060 I E-mail: I Editor in Chief: Eda Koppel Contributing Editor: Maria Ulfsak (Eesti Ekspress) Contributors: Sigrid Saag, Tristan Priimägi Translation: Lili Pilt Design & Layout: Profimeedia Printed in Estonia in Uniprint Cover: Sulev Keedus, photo by Anu Hammer ISSN-2228-3714



Photos by Aron Urb


Take it Production company Allfilm is producing feature film Take It or Leave It as part of the Estonia 100 Anniversary Program.

or Leave It


he film is written and directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo who is making her full-length feature film debut. The budget is 900,000 euros, shooting started in May 2017 and will be completed in January 2018. Take It or Leave It is scheduled to premiere domestically in September 2018. The main character is 30-yearold construction worker Erik. On a sleepy Saturday morning, he gets some shocking news: his former girlfriend, whom hasn’t even seen for the past six months, is about to go into labour. She, however, is not ready for motherhood and if Erik doesn’t want the kid either, the little girl will be put up for adoption. Take It or Leave It is the story of Erik’s long and sometimes comical path to growing into being a father. A story that makes a regular man



into an everyday hero – a Superman who is ready to fight for his fatherhood with tooth and nail. What makes a father into a father? The producer of Take It or Leave It is one of Estonia’s most internationally successful producers Ivo Felt. He calls this a timeless story set in modern times. “It’s a story about life playing cards into a young man’s hand, forcing him to become a father to a little baby girl. Despite his own plans and wishes, he’s faced with the decision to either take it or leave it. Director

Take it or leave it, made in the frame of the Estonian centennial film program, is Liina TrishkinaVanhatalo’s debut feature.

Liina Trishkina’s debut film is sensitive and mature, both in content and storytelling. It’s a look into the changing family relationships in modern-day Europe,” Felt introduces the film to Estonian Film. The main roles in Take It or Leave It are played Reimo Sagor, Epp Eespäev and Andres Mähar, the cinematographer, Erik Põllumaa, hails from Estonia’s younger filmmaker generation. The production designer and sound director are from Finland – Markku Pätilä and Seppo Vanhatalo respectively. EF

Photo by Sander Ilves/PM/Scanpix

Success Story Continues

Rainer Sarnet’s November is selected by Estonia to run for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


stonia’s nomination for the 90th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is Rainer Sarnet’s November, an adaptation of a bestselling novel Rehepapp by Andrus Kivirähk. The selection committee consisting of seven members – producer Ivo Felt, film director Martti Helde, film critic Tõnu Karjatse, actress Tiina Mälberg, sound designer Matis Rei, distributor Siim Rohtla and the director of the Estonian Film Institute Edith Sepp – gave their unanimous decision. The film was selected from amongst all the full-length feature films having been theatrically released between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 for at least a duration of one week in a commercial cinema. “The director’s perseverance is admirable, as is his courage in

presenting this witty and weird, but also romantic and mysterious movie to the audience. It’s a pleasure to observe the role of nuanced camerawork in creating a magical universe, supported by ingenious art direction,” reads the official explanation. “It is also commendable that the filmmakers have chosen to cast interesting non-professional actors who have had no previous experience on the big screen.” The committee praised the film’s tasteful score that adds to the overall mystique of the film and helps to create a faceted and telling impression of a quirky nation from the North, trying to make its way through life in a bizarre connection with nature and parallel worlds; to escape the swamp of stagnant folklore to find a way to the sun, poetry and love.

Rainer Sarnet

THE AMERICAN FILM ACADEMY announces the final shortlist of five contenders in January 2018. The Oscars gala, hosted by a renowned TV show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel, takes place on March 4 2018 in Dolby Theatre cinema in Los Angeles.

November had its international premiere at Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Best Cinematography in International Narrative Competition. It was also selected to be shown in the official selection of the Karlovy Vary IFF and is still been screened at numerous film festivals aoround the world. The leads are played by Rea Lest and Jörgen Liik, the film’s production design is by Jaagup Roomet and Matis Mäesalu. November is an Estonian-Polish-Dutch co-production – Katrin Kissa (Homeless Bob Productions, Estonia), Łukasz Dziecioł (Opus Film, Poland) and Ellen Havenith (PRPL, Holland) are the producers – with Estonia as majority co-producer. The film is distributed in the United States by Oscilloscope Pictures. EF ESTONIAN FILM



The Nights

are Black

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Enters Next Stage of Evolution


Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival has come of age since becoming a FIAPF (and a socalled A-category) festival in 2014. This year will see exciting upgrades in the festival’s programme and the launch of several new initiatives that are expected to spearhead a new era of cooperation and innovation in the audiovisual sector of the Baltic Sea region. By Hannes Aava


arge film festivals like Cannes and Berlin reach headlines thanks to star-studded red carpets and big films. But their responsibility to cultivate the film industry goes much further than their fancy façade as they organise



supportive film funds, talent camps and much more. By accepting the new statute for promoting world cinema, the head of BNFF, Tiina Lokk, has set a course for Tallinn to also switch gears and become a platform for our region’s creative industries.

Two major leaps that were taken were the launch of the first North European content and media tech incubator Storytek and establishing Creative Gate – an international platform that serves as a gateway for the regional film and audiovisual industries. The idea is to provide

lin), the magnificent Black Nights Catwalk that will take place in the Tallinn Creative Hub black box and bring together film music, fashion, and art and an exhibition of costumes and props used in Estonian films specially created for the event by the members of the Estonian Film Artists’ Union. BNFF Competitions Looking Mightier Than Ever

Photo by Erlend Staub

Expecting a record number of guests nearly 300 – and showcasing more than 280 feature-length films from 70 different countries, the BNFF programme has several exciting upgrades. The festival has rebranded the Main Competition Programme, now called the Official Selection where 18 films from Europe, Asia, North and South America will compete for the

international premieres from talented debut filmmakers who come from an exciting set of countries, including Costa Rica, Macedonia, India, Iceland with Brazil’s official Oscar candidate in the mix. The third competition, the Estonian Film Competition, is a perfect chance to see the 2017 highlights of Estonian cinema. The programme will see the world premiere of Green Cats by director Andres Puustusmaa. Also November, The End of the Chain, The Man Who Looks Like Me and The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow are in the race for the Best Estonian Film award. The festival has introduced a new section called Rebels With A Cause – a competition programme with the audience acting as the jury. The programme is dedicated to films that are experimen-

2016 Black Nights FF Award Ceremony performance

2016 Black Nights FF Award Ceremony

new growth and export opportunities for the film industry and related creative industries. The main activities are scheduled to take place over the next two years, but several events will be timed for this year’s BNFF as well, adding a couple of sweet additions to the already rich programme of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event. These include a master class by Uli Hanisch, an internationally-renowned filmmaker from Germany who has been the production designer on dozens of big productions (Cloud Atlas, The Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Babylon Ber-

Grand Prix. 10 of these films will have their world premieres, including The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow by Estonian auteur filmmaker Sulev Kee­ dus. Among the 7 international premieres, we find the Finnish-Estonian-Swedish co-production The Eternal Road that was produced with support from the Finland 100 Fund, Estonia’s Cash Rebate Programme and the Ida-Viru Film Fund. Both of these projects were presented in the Baltic Event Works in Progress showcase last year. Entering its third year, the First Feature Competition will see 16 world and

tal either in form or narrative and engage strongly with current sociopolitical topics or present a very unique and personal artistic vision. The programme is cura­ ted by Javier Garcia Puerto. Dotting the “I” – a Film Marathon, a TV Series Showcase and the Sub-Festivals

According to tradition, BNFF selects a country with a rich and exciting cinematic history to introduce carefully curated slices of it to the audience. For the first time, this will not be a country but a region. Belgian Flanders might be a small ESTONIAN FILM


Photo by Ahto Sooaru


2016 Black Nights FF Award Ceremony

region but, when it comes to film, it has seen a creative explosion that can be measured both in terms of artistic and commercial success. The festival will screen 12 Flemish films, including the opening film of the festival, the heist thriller Racer and the Jailbird. BNFF will also celebrate the 100th birthday of our northern neighbour Finland with a 48-hour non-stop screening of Finnish cult films and classics that will be shown in glorious 35 mm and curated by the artistic director of the Sodankylä festival Milja Mikkola. The party, taking place on November 24th, will see a live performance by Marko Haavisto & Pou­ tahaukat who gained fame after performing in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Man Without A Past. As we are living in the era dubbed as the Golden Age of Television, BNFF cannot go ignoring the phenomenon. For 2017, the festival introduces a new section called TV Beats that will screen epi-



2016 BNFF Best First Feature award winner, director Navid Danesh (Duet)

sodes from one of the biggest TV productions to date – Babylon Berlin – the German series set in the 1920’s with Tom Tykwer on board as one of the directors. The other series screened include two Russian series: the supernatural thriller Gogol. Origins, based on the works of the famous writer Nikolai Gogol and Chernobyl 2. The Exclusion Zone, which takes

Photo by Erlend Staub

Entering its third year, the First Feature Competition will see 16 world and international premieres from talented debut filmmakers who come from an exciting set of countries.

viewers to the present-day of the infamous disaster zone. Exciting developments are taking place with the sub-festivals of BNFF as well. The children’s and youth film festival Just Film has been granted the right to hand out the European Children’s Film Association award, which will send the winner on to the final round to compete for the Best European Children’s Film of the Year award that is handed out during Berlinale. Find out more about the programme at The two sub-festivals – the animation festival Animated Dreams and the International Short Film Festival Sleepwalkers – have merged under the new name BNFF Shorts, dedicated to the short formats of filmmaking. Both festivals will maintain their identities in terms of programming, as the artistic director for animations will be the acclaimed Estonian animator Priit Tender, while film critic and programmer Laurence Boyce will remain the artistic director of Sleepwalkers. Discover their programmes on the playful new website EF

Photo Istock

Digital Issues

in Focus

Key issues and future prospects in the audio­visual field to be discussed at the Estonian Presidency visionary conference in Tallinn By Mati Kaalep


ust like Skype changed telecom, Uber changed the taxi, and Spotify the music market, it can be expected the audiovisual sector will soon experience just as great an impact in the near future. In late November, leading experts and visionaries from the audiovisual sector will gather in Tallinn to discuss where the modern media and film industries are headed, and how to make the best use of these opportunities and challenges in Europe. The objective of the conference is to assess the impact of technological changes on the EU ESTONIAN FILM




Previous Euro­ pean Film Forum in Tallinn was held on November 21, 2016.

Photo by Virge Viertek

audiovisual landscape more broadly by looking beyond the specific laws and grant schemes that currently regulate the sector. It is already apparent that we cannot proceed in the old way. This is clearly illustrated by the exceptional ease of piracy, which in turn, affects the functioning of the entire audiovisual sector. If a film is not released sufficiently quickly in a country, the consumers will find the opportunity to access it illegally on the Internet, and the effective enforcement of copyrights on a large scale becomes extremely complicated. The global expansion of Netflix and the movement of content creation from individual producers directly to the intermediaries prove that the amendment of laws may not provide the solution. However, the mediation of audiovisual content is only one of the great changes that are accompanying technological advances – the changes occurring in the mediums that enable content consumption may be just as great. The conference will also focus on new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, which, if they are introduced to a sufficient degree, may significantly impact the functioning of the entire sector in the near future. In addition, the market is also being changed by new resources, which were not even valued before. For example, service providers are now able to gather considerable amount of data about people’s con-

Photo by Aron Urb


Mati Kaalep is the Adivser for Audiovisual Field at the Estonian Ministry of Culture and one of the main organisers of the visionary conference „Pictured futures“ in Tallinn, 27-28 November at Kosmos cinema.

sumption habits based on their viewing of the most ordinary films. On the one hand, such information can provide significant input for the creation and mediation of content, while on the other; it might feel rather intrusive towards the rights of the consumers. Are such techniques acceptable in the European cultural space and will it also impact our behaviour, or the content that we are provided in the future? The focus of the conference will be on these and many other topics in late November in Tallinn and with a bit of luck, some of these issues might find answers. The conference will present an impressive line-up of renowned speakers. One of the main keynote speeches will be presented by Jeremy Darroch, the CEO of Sky Group, who will analyse the dynamics of broadcasting and audiovisual media in the context of future technologies. The Sky Group is Europe’s largest entertainment company and, based on the huge investments it makes into audiovisual content annually (approximately £6 billion per year), it is undoubtedly an influential trend setter. Jeremy Darroch’s presentation will be proceeded by an entire day of fascinating panel discussions and presentations about the synergy of technology and the audiovisual landscape. For example, Barak Berkowitz, Director of Operations and Strategy at the

MIT Media Lab, the digital technologies research centre at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S., will speak about the impact on society of companies that are directed at accelerated growth. His thoughts will no doubt be echoed in the subsequent panel discussion, where the representatives of the sector will speak about the development of business models based on algorithms and new technologies. Among others, the panel of speakers will include Efe Cakarel, the founder and CEO of MUBI, a company focused on the streaming of art-house films. The participants in the subsequent discussions will include representatives from Google, Netflix, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE, the European Commission and the European Film Agency Directors (EFADs). The conference will be closed by Lord David Puttnam, a British film producer who won the Academy Award for Best Picture for Chariots of Fire and has been the head of Columbia pictures and a deputy chairman for Channel 4. Lord Puttnam will take a closer look at Europe from inside out and sees the new digital developments as adding value for good filmmaking. A visionary conference in audiovisual field entitled Pictured Futures: Connecting Content, Tech & Policy in Audiovisual Europe will take place on 27 and 28 November as part of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, at the initiative of the Estonian Ministry of Culture and in cooperation with the Black Nights Film Festival and the Estonian Film Institute, supported by the European Commission and Enterprise Estonia. More information about the Estonian EU Presidency Conference “Pictured futures: connecting content, tech & policy in autiovisual Europe” taking place from 27 to 28 November 2017 in Tallinn is available on the website of the Estonian Ministry of Culture at EF

Let’s Talk About Our Digital Future

What are your opinions on the digital single market strategy? It is very important for Europe to offer the best access and distribution for its content and at the same time to make sure that makers are rewarded. This will encourage them to produce new and high quality content time after time. We need a circular economy that can create its own future. From this perspective it is also important to ensure that the superplatforms are treated as ‘common carriers’ and a unified policy across Europe is implemented towards them. That will avoid too much friction and stimulate growth.

Photo by Guido Van Nispen

Guido Van Nispen, consultant and advisor to the Dutch government on media & innovation is one of the outstanding speakers at the visionary conference „Pictured futures“, taking place from 27 to 28 November in Tallinn within the framework of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. By Sten-Kristian Saluveer

In your opinion, what are currently the biggest challenges for the European audiovisual sector? The biggest challenges are created by the stratospheric rise of superplatforms from the US: Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft, and China: Tencent and Alibaba. These superplatforms change the landscape by their sheer global size, capabilities and financial means. And of course the best people around… If we want to avoid to create a ‘global big data crisis’, comparable to global warming, we need to make sure that we find a way to work with these superplatforms without losing our local skills, talent and capabilities but instead find ways to leverage those in this new setting. What strategies should policy­ makers adapt regarding superplatforms? Is there room for competitive offers? There is hope coming from the superplatforms themselves. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft,

part as the superplatforms are not called superplatforms without good reason... If our audiovisual sector remains fragmented and sinks in a ‘zerosum-game’ that opportunity might disappear quickly though...But it is up to ourselves not to let that happen. And in the current financial market conditions there is ample money to support new intiatives.

the oldest of the superplatforms, states the following: “The only tenable, long-term, stable strategy for a multinational company is going to be about the local opportunity that you create in every country you operate in. I don’t believe there’s a long-term strategy that says, ‘I’m just going to be a rent collector in different places.” Despite these encouraging words, policy makers should be looking closely at these superplatforms. They are becoming ‘common carriers’, and therefore, if the super platforms do not open up enough by themselves, regulation needs to be swiftly put into place to ensure them opening up. And to ensure that local content is being developed and supported. And yes, there is ample room for competitive offers, especially on the content side. That is where we can connect with our citizens on a content and cultural level. On a platform level there is potential room if we work together and stimulate innovation. This might be the more challenging

Guido Van Nispen is active in governance, advisory and investment roles inside powerful, both seasoned and young, innovative and market-leading organisations. His activities and networks expose him to many industry trend and player, and pads his network with a roster of interesting and influential contacts.

Can Europe become an audiovisual unicorn and stay in the global game? What needs to be done and addressed to achieve this goal? Yes we can even become a cluster of unicorns! If we address the true needs of our citizens for connectivity between people and avoid going in the ‘arms race’ for ‘global citizens’. The majority of our population in Europe will be very pleased when they get great local content that connects them as people with their neighbours and reflects their own local cultural identity. Together with a huge amount of international (high quality) content available, we should be able to create a great audiovisual future. This distribution opportunity offered by the superplatforms, combined with solid European regulation and innovation should create an enormous potential to exploit new formats on the new superplatforms. And we know there is a lot of money available for these new formats. So let us make sure we get our share from Europe and give our citizens what they need at the same time. EF ESTONIAN FILM






tuition & Perception

Sulev Keedus: „I’m an old-fashioned conservative – my world revolves around Estonian culture. There’s a charm to having the time and desire to stick around one small place for a long time.” By Tristan Priimägi Photos by Anu Hammer

children look like their parents and dogs purportedly start to look like their owners, then how much does a film look like its creator? Those who have had contact with director Sulev Keedus know that he and his films have a similar effect – he seems measured as he searches for words but underneath that, he’s at once benevolent and skeptical. What do I want from him? Not much – just to ask a few (un)comfortable questions about his new film The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow, which took quite some time to make and is finally premiering in the Black Nights Film Festival Official Selection. The film is made up of three novellas with three female characters. In The Manslayer, set in the 19th century, Maara is being forced to get married, in The Virgin, Ingrian Elina must marry against her will to avoid the 1949 deportations and in The Shadow, modern day Luna Lee runs away from home to find out if there exists anything that has meaning any more. All three women are played by young actress Rea Lest and all three of them have to show their

strength to beat the odds and their willpower to find a place for themselves in the world and meaning for the situations and people around them. It is a well-known fact that filmmakers are wary of explaining their films so I’ll start right off with some questions... Can you tell us about The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow? What is it about?

I wanted to try a short form but it stretched out into one long film. I started with the middle story – The Virgin – that is based on a true story that I wanted to share. But I didn’t just want to make another film about the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s because I don’t know anything about that era. So I decided to tie it in with two other novellas. I didn’t know what they were yet but the first one was floating around somewhere in the back of my mind as a conglomeration of snippets from books and Estonian novellas I’d read. So the third sort of had to evolve at the other end. It’s somewhat of a continuation of my last film Letters to Angel (2011) in a modern interpretation. I understand the modern era much less than some past epochs. ESTONIAN FILM




The Virgin

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY: In Paradisum (documentary, 1993, 11 international film festivals e.g. Munich International Documentary Film Festival; Message To Man in Russia; Rouen Nordic Film Festival) Georgica (feature, 1998, 32 international film festivals e.g. Rotterdam, Mannheim, Toronto, Los Angeles) Somnabulance (feature, 2003, feature, 2003, 25 international film festivals e.g. Rotterdam, Seattle, GÜteborg, Karlovy Vary, Melbourne, Cottbus) Jonathan from Australia (documentary, 2007) Letters to Angel (feature, 2011, 14 film festivals e.g. Tallinn, Riga, Kinoschock) The Russians on Crow Island (documentary, 2012, DocPoint Helsinki, Estonian Film Critics’ Award for the Best Estonian Film, Estonian Cultural Endowment Award) The Manslayer / The Virgin /The Shadow (feature, 2017 Tallinn Black Nighs FF - Official Selection) War (documentary, 2017, Luebeck Nordic Film Days)



was your co-author on this and all your other screenplays?

Madis Kõiv had the fate that plagues people - old age. When I had the idea to write this screenplay, he was ready to take part and wanted to write the middle novella the most. So we wrote that one together. Then, his health got so bad that he decided not to participate in the first and third ones. He lacked the strength and there were other things that needed finishing. So we decided I’d try my hand at them alone. He read them and gave comments. He had two comments: one was about The Manslayer – he said that barn doors were never locked from the inside in Estonia – and the other about The Shadow – he said that the final version definitely had to have a scene were old Heino (Eevald Aavik) walks into the sea. He thought that was very important. He wasn’t much of a commenter in general; he was more of a supporter. He tried to understand the things that were happening in those stories. He made clarifications – like the thing about the barn door.

The Manslayer

Female characters are very important in your films. Thus far, the women in your films have been wild, unpredictable and a little dangerous. But The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow shows a stronger woman than before, one who takes a strong position to help herself out of difficulties. Is this something different for you?

The Shadow

The different parts were written all at once. I could have made them all at once too but things didn’t turn out that way... You had to make it piece by piece and I think there were some complications?

At first I planned to make three novellas in one year, using different seasons for each one. But we ran out of money after the second novella was filmed so we had to wait to figure out when and how we could make the third. The shoots were so complicated, especially with the first novella. All of the forces of nature were against us, literally. Our first shooting day began with such a bad storm that the electricity went out and we could only drive to our set when the trees that had ­fallen on the road were sawed in half. When we arrived on set, the wind and rain were so extreme that we couldn’t film in the directions we wanted and one direction was completely out of the question. You can see these shots in the second episode of the first novella. The wind carried away one of our sets completely – a whole watermill was gone. Then, the Bishop of Pärnu banned us from filming the church scene. I met with him after the ban and had a long conversation after which he gave us special permission to film but not during our shooting period – we had to take extra shooting days for that. How was this film affected by the fact that philosopher Madis Kõiv passed away in 2014 – he

The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow consists of three novellas, all three main characters are played by talented young actress Rea Lest.

I agree that the main character in this last film is more of a centerpiece, someone who perceives what her place is in life but doesn’t exploit it. She tries to hold together the things that surround her. In the first novella, that means her community. In the second novella, she’s in a difficult situation from an early age when she ends up in Estonia, which is like a foreign land to her. So she tries to use even the smallest means at her disposal to hold together the little that she has while also trying to maintain her own dignity. In the third part, Luna Lee might seem indifferent and apathetic but there is a very strong will to live inside her also. Perhaps she’s a little more helpless than the first two. Again, it’s hard for me to explain and analyze these things. A lot of it comes from intuition and perception. Of course, it’s a luxury these days when you don’t have to take your characters apart piece by piece. One reason I haven’t wanted to make things completely clear to myself is that I want to leave room for the viewer to find his or her own world while watching the film. You are also a documentary filmmaker. Your last two films were The Russians on Crow Island (2012) and the recently released War (2017). Neither of them went according to plan – you ended up shooting something different and all your plans were upturned. Has this ability to readjust when necessary helped you when making feature films?

Possibly. I never even know if I’ll be able to finish my films. It’s a constant nightmare. The other thing is that ESTONIAN FILM



the more films you make and the longer you live, the less you want to evaluate things. Like the themes and people in your films. You start to feel that it’s more honest to be non-judgmental. You leave it to the viewer. There’s even a charm to being perplexed nowadays. There are things that don’t have answers for. A lot of them. I don’t mind stating that to be true. While the world is moving towards larger problems seeming more and more unsolvable because of their complexity, the messages in films are become more and more precise. Isn’t that a strange contradiction?

Yes, it is. I don’t tend to make stories that are very precise. I’m even bothered by watching a film that’s very precise and clear and beats a single drum with its message. I don’t look for or need films like that. But it’s okay that most viewers probably need just such films. Unlike many filmmakers or, at least, the impression that I get from them, it seems like Sulev Keedus is never quite sure of what he’s doing.

Yes, I’ve always been a big doubter. My doubts cross through the screen and into the viewers too. Film is a tough art form. You can see everything that happened in the filmmakers minds on the screen. With my first



Director Sulev Keedus in the new Estonian Film Museum.

films, it seemed like I started too young and now it feels like there are too many films left unmade.

Are the three time periods in The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow somehow significant for you? It seems like they’re significant periods for Estonia.

I’m an old-fashioned conservative whose world revolves around the culture of our little Estonia. I rather like a somewhat provincial approach to life and worldview. There’s a certain charm to having the time and desire to stick around one small place for a long time. But I’ve also thought that my justification for making the films I do is that no one else wants to any more because they no longer have such a broad base. They’re local and limited. You could tear the stories out of their local context but then they’d be different novellas altogether. I’m not ashamed to be working right here and trying to do my thing within the conditions set by this small culture of ours. Cinema Sõprus had a Kusturica retrospective lately. I even managed to drive to Tallinn a few times to watch the films. You can only make films like that in the place where he made them. Of course, his internal explosion has brought his films worldwide attention but if anyone else tried to make his films in a different

cultural context, they wouldn’t be nearly as authentic. That’s a stupid word. But as I watch Kusturica now, I find his best film to be the one he made in the U.S. (Arizona Dream, Emir Kusturica, 1993). How was the shooting period for The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow other than the breakdown in scheduling?

Film shoots are always planned in a way that seems utopian to me. I keep forgetting that. They’re too dense. Once the shoot starts, the first three or four days make it clear that it’s impossible to work according to the schedule because there isn’t enough time. I haven’t seen how anyone else works but I’m not capable of shooting more than three or four shots in a day. So the shooting period is rarely easy for those who have to work on the film with me. How precisely do you follow the schedule?

Lately, I’ve been making a very thorough breakdown of the script and the artist has made storyboard drawings of each shot. But, honestly, I haven’t even taken the storyboard out during the shooting period. I have the shots in my head but filming on site is completely different. The solutions to each episode are born as you film. I can’t plan exactly how something will start or end. Maybe that’s the reason my productivity is so low! Do you do a lot of takes?

I do many takes. It’s because I try to film shots that are so precise and complicated that it’s very difficult to ar-

I believe that we need a renaissance in cinema. That a new wave will rise. rive at a result where none of the actors or crew makes a mistake. If there’s time, we’ve had rehearsals with the actors before starting the shooting period. But these are more about the content than the choreography. I can’t practice something that will take place on set while stuck between four walls. Your film is competing at the Black Nights Film Festival. How much do you follow the festival?

I can’t make it everywhere but I’ll go see a few things. I’ve been to so many festivals and seen so many films and... A festival is a festival. The commotion is not for me. I’d rather go to a movie in the evening with maybe 30 other people. There, I don’t have any obliga-

tions and can remain anonymous. If a film is good, I don’t want to share that right away – I want to carry the experience with me and keep it to myself for a while. It’s the same with a good play or exhibition. I’m not the one to start explaining things right away and if there is a lot of explaining around me, it can ruin the impression. It’s not important for me to analyze or explain why some story works for me. It’s enough for me to know that it meant something to me. I become a little bit richer inside and I want to hold on to that. Talking, of course, is a mirror to our thoughts.

Yes, it might even be bad that I’m like this but that’s the way it is and nothing can be done about it. My cultural experience is abstract and I don’t try to explain it to myself. Maybe it’s somewhat of a protest against our times and how much people talk. It might be useful for young people to understand what they’re doing and why it’s necessary but most of this talking never goes beyond the level of just talk. Our digital era has also made it possible to duplicate ideas like photos. Anyone has a right to declare a sentence their own and the same expressions tend to float around.

Yes, but it’s strange that filmmakers are chastised for quoting something in their films. I’ve never been conscious of doing it. I might understand in retrospect that a visual solution may have come from something in my subconscious. For example, when my first film, Georgica (1998), screened at festivals, the catalogues claimed that the film was inspired by the work of Alexander Sokurov. At that time, I’d only seen one film by Sokurov and I’ve since tried to avoid them as much as possible. I’ve later seen a few others and I don’t understand how they could have compared the two of us at all. I don’t see it. You’ve seen a lot of rubbish at film festivals but do you still have faith in this art form?

Yes, I still have faith but that might just be complete self-deception. I believe that we need a renaissance in cinema. That a new wave will rise. But that it’s not something we can predict. I hope it will. Has the freedom of new means in filmmaking brought more freedom to your work? You’ve seen all kinds of times...

Each era has its advantages. I take the situation nowadays as an inevitability on one hand but also see a lot of advantages to it on the other. Achieving the results you want doesn’t seem completely impossible any more. The world that filmmakers are trying to capture on screen has so many possibilities. And, yet, people tend to stick to a simpler form despite the plethora of possibilities. Composers say that no new symphonies are being written. But hopefully there is a new breath coming to film soon. Or maybe it’s already here? EF ESTONIAN FILM



Little Comrade The



Production company Amrion is producing the feature film The Little Comrade as part of the Estonia 100 Anniversary Program. The film is written and directed by Moonika Siimets who is making her full-length feature film debut. By Sigrid Saag Photos by Priit Grepp


he budget of the film is 1.4 million euros, shooting started in August 2016 and was completed in June 2017 (for a total of 45 shooting days). The Little Comrade is scheduled to premiere domestically on March 15, 2018. The script is based on the novels Comrade Kid and the GrownUps and Velvet and Sawdust by Estonia’s beloved children’s author Leelo Tungal. The story is set in the midst of Stalinist tyranny when six-year-old Leelo’s mother is sent to a prison camp. Haunted by her mother’s last words telling her to be a good kid, Leelo vows to be on her best behaviour in the confusing grown-up world in the hope that it will bring her mother back. The producer of The Little Comrade is Riina Sildos, who is internationally acclaimed for her previous works Pretenders (2016), Kertu (2013), A Lady in Paris (2012), Class (2007), the successful animation features Lotte from Gadgetville (2006) and Lotte and the Moonstone Secret (2011) and many others. Riina is delighted to see

a new wave of talented directors emerging in Estonia and believes that Moonika Siimets is definitely one to keep an eye on. “Moonika has true talent - a strong vision in storytelling, unique visual style and exceptional empathy towards her characters,” comments Sildos. The Little Comrade became the first Estonian project to be selected for the Berlin Film Festival Co-Production Market in 2016 where it received the Special Mention Prize from the Eurimages Jury. The film also participated in the seventh edition of First Look in Locarno (an initiative aiming to showcase films in post-production), where it won an award worth 5,500 Euros in advertising, donated by Le Film Français. The film was praised for its great storytelling, international appeal, the strong performances and historical reconstruction. The main roles in The Little Comrade are played by Helena Maria Reisner, Eva Koldits, Tambet Tuisk, Juhan Ulfsak and Maria Klenskaja. The production team includes some of the best professionals in Estonia

The Little Comrade is made in the frame of the Estonian centennial film program.

such as director of cinematography Rein Kotov – whose previous works also include the Oscar-nominated feature film Tangerines (dir. Zaza Urushadze) – EFA-awarded art director Jaagup Roomet and Golden Reel Award winner Matis Rei. Moonika Siimets is the author of several lauded short and documentary films. Her most well-known works are The Pink Sweater (2014), The Last Romeo (2013), The Salme Secret (2012) and Fashion Dog (2010). EF




She Shine On the Big Screen


es On

Evelin Võigemast (37) has roles in two Estonian films that will screen in the Black Nights Film Festival Estonian Film Competition - The Man Who Looks Like Me and The End of the Chain. Evelin is one of the most popular actresses in Estonia. By Estonian Film Photos by Krõõt Tarkmeel


Evelin, are any of your film roles particularly important or meaningful to you? Which one and why?

Of course I’d like to say yes. But the truth is that I feel like I have so little experience playing in films compared to the theatre. But if I had to choose one, it would be Demons (2012). Working with Ain Mäeots really taught me a lot. Out of all of my roles, my latest one is particularly dear to me – Marian in The Man Who Looks Like Me. I have a lot to learn from that character. She’s a smart, confident woman who knows what she’s worth and who doesn’t act overly emotional or overthink things. When you are offered a role in a film, what criteria do you use to decide whether to take it? Have you ever said no to a role?

The script is the most important thing. The story has to pull me in. And the character I would play. I’ve said no to quite a lot of roles for television shows. Not because it’s television but because I wasn’t interested in the role I was offered. It’s important to me that I’m drawn into my character’s story. That I feel for her as I’m reading the script. This energizes my

EVELIN’S SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY The Bank (TV-series, in production) The End of the Chain (2017) The Man Who Looks Like Me (2017) Secret Society of Soup Town (2015) Demons (2012) Lotte and the Moonstone Secret (2011) Lotte from Gadgetville (2006) Shop of Dreams (2005) Photo by Jekaterina Abramova

he shines on the stage, screen and television. She also plays one of the main characters in the TV-series The Bank, which is the winner of the Estonian Republic 100 TV-series competition. Evelin found time in her busy shooting schedule to answer a few questions for Estonian Film.

The End of the Chain

imagination and makes working with the character a pure joy. Theater or film? And what is it about each that attracts you to them?

When it comes to the theatre, I’ve had a chance to enjoy all of the extremes that stage plays can offer. I’ve played very, very different characters. And that’s a challenge that I miss when it comes to film. I want to try playing someone completely different from who I am. My roles in the theatre are very rarely anything like who I am personally. But, in films, I’ve had to create characters based on my own experiences because that’s what the directors have asked me to do. I love the opportunity that theatre gives you to go through a whole character in one single night. And I love the audience. I like performances more than I like rehearsals. I

The Bank

know and believe that a play is really born out of direct contact with the audience. When it comes to films, I’m excited by the prospect that there isn’t as much time to prepare. There are rehearsals, but not nearly as many as in theatre. The fact that I have to get to my so-to-say boiling temperature so much faster. And it’s mostly all internal. That’s a catalyst, that’s exciting for me. I like working in front of the camera a lot. Is there a director outside of Esto­nia whose films you would like to act in or whose work you admire, is impor­tant to you or has influenced you?

It’s hard to say. Hard to name just one person. I love very different types of films. Different genres, eras, directors. Different films work for different reasons. But if I had to name a few, then... Anders Thomas Jensen’s Adam’s Apples and Men & Chicken. David Fincher’s Fight Club. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. Lately, I’ve gotten my biggest kicks out of series made for television, like Borgen, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Big Little Lies. EF ESTONIAN FILM


Photo by Andres Teiss



The Fencer

The Eternal Road


Little to

Though Estonian filmmakers have been participating in co-­production projects for years, the Estonian Film Institute Minority Co-­Production Fund wasn’t founded until 2014. And it has been successful, as evidenced by numerous awards and participation at prominent inter­national film festivals. By Estonian Film


he most important goal of the Minority Co-Production Fund was to allow Estonian filmmakers to participate in interesting valuable film projects from abroad. During its 4 years, the fund has supported 23 film projects. Support from the fund has also greatly in-



creased the geography of co-production. In addition to working with Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Georgia, the fund has also brought Laos, Greece, South Korea and Spain to the co-production countries list. From 2014–2017, the Minority Co-Production Fund’s yearly budget

was 280,000 euros. In 2018, the budget will grow to 300,000 euros. Feature film support has been between 60,000 and 150,000 euros and documentary and short film support averaged at 20,000 euros. The most successful minority co-production project so far has been The Fencer by Finnish director Klaus Härö (made together by Finland, Germany and Estonia). The film was the Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the shortlist of nine films. The Fencer was also nominated for the Golden Globe award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. This year, there are two films in the Oscar race that are co-productions with Estonia – Mattie Do’s Dearest Sister (Laos-France-Estonia) and Scary Mother (Georgia-Estonia) by Ana Uruzhadze. Films made with minority co-production support from Estonia have screened at the Venice, Toronto, London film festivals and elsewhere. This year’s Black Nights Film Festival’s Official Selection also includes AJ Annila’s film The Eternal Road, which is a Finnish-Swedish-Estonian co-production. EF

Dearest Sister

The Swan

Projects supported

by Minority Co-Production Fund THE FENCER Feature film, dir. Klaus Härö, Finnish-German-Estonian co-production, supported by Eurimages. Estonian co-producer Ivo Felt, Allfilm. The Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, making the December shortlist of nine films. The Fencer was also nominated for the Golden Globe award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Festivals: Palm Springs International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival etc.

THE ETERNAL ROAD Feature film, dir. AJ Annila, Finnish-Estonian-Swedish co-production. Estonian co-producer Kristian Taska, Taska Film. Festivals: 2017 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival - Official Selection.

DEAREST SISTER Feature film, dir. Mattie Do, Laotian-Estonian-French co-production. Estonian producers Helen Lõhmus, Sten Saluveer,

Oree films. The Laotian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. It is the first time that Laos has submitted a film for consideration in this category. Festivals: Fantastic Fest Austin, BFI London, Sitges Film Festival, Monster Fest Australia, Singapore International Film Festival etc.

THE SWAN Feature film, dir. Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, Iceland-German-Estonian co-production. Estonian producer Anneli Ahven, Kopli Kinokompanii. Festivals: Toronto International Film Festival, Filmfest Hamburg, Leiden International Film Festival, Alice nella cittá, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival etc.

SENECA’S DAY Feature film, dir. Kristijonas Vildžiunas, Lithuanian-Latvian-Estonian co-production, supported by Eurimages. Estonian co-producer Riina Sildos, Amrion.

Seneca’s Day

AMALIMBO Short animation, dir. Juan Pablo Libossart, Swedish-Estonian co-production. Estonian co-producer Marianne Ostrat, Fork Films. Festivals: Venice IFF in Orizzonti short films competition, nominee for the European Film Awards.

THE MAN WHO SURPRISED EVERYONE (in production) Feature film, dir. Natalya Merkulova and Alexey Chupov, Russian-French-Estonian co-production, supported by Eurimages. Estonian co-producer Katrin Kissa, Homeless Bob Production.

BALTIC NEW WAVE (in production) Feature documentary, dir. Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede, Latvian-Lithuanian-Estonian co-production, supported by Eurimages. Estonian co-producer Riho Västrik, Vesilind. ESTONIAN FILM



A Very Productive Producer

Marianne Ostrat is Estonian producer who has recently premiered a debut feature, a documentary, a short feature and an animation. How did she pull that off? By Maria Ulfsak Photos by Anu Hammer


arianne, your debut feature premiered internationally in Karlovy Vary and it is also competing in Tallinn at BNFF in Estonian Film Competition. Can you please tell us a bit more about that film?

The End of the Chain, debut feature also for its director Priit Pääsuke, is based on a theatre play by an Estonian playwright Paavo Piik. The film takes place during one day in a secluded suburbian fast food joint, that functions as a minimodel of the world. The main character of the film is a waitress, played by Maiken Schmidt - a smart girl, who has been burying her energy and enthusiasm into this empty glass spaceship-like place that is facing its final day. As the day unfolds, clients show up one after the other - all of them triggered by the urge to find sympathy, understanding and closeness in life. The



waitress becomes a witness to a series of funny, sad, irritating, touching and downright absurd situations that push her out of her uncomfortable comfort-zone and force her to start questioning her life. Through witty and darkish humour the film deals with the universal and contemporary topic of an ever-ongoing economical and spiritual crisis around and inside people. And raises the question who are we do judge those who suffer from it and look for a way out of it. The End of the Chain has probably been a horrible headache for you as a producer. At the same time, the most difficult kids seem to be the dearest to the parents. How would you describe the financing and producing process of that film? What did you learn from that experience?

I don’t see it as a headache at all. It’s been very challenging, but first and foremost it’s been a fantastic ad-




Producer Marianne Ostrat at her office with her dog Batman.



venture that has given me huge amounts of self-confidence, courage, trust in myself, my creative partners and life in general. The fact that it was a debut feature with an unconventional script, made it difficult to convince the funds – we financed the project just before the microbudget film financing scheme was established in Estonia, so we couldn’t benefit from that. Eventually The Cultural Endowment of Estonia supported us with what they call “experimental film funding” – the amount was much lower than their feature film allocations normally are, but it came with an absolute creative freedom. We decided to do it anyway and invited the leading Estonian equipment rental houses – Cineunit, Filmivabrik, Angel Films and 1 Agentuur – to join us on this adventure and invest their equipment. From there on, the project started to inspire people and attract partners, sponsors, crew members and most importantly – top level cast. It felt a bit like magic. And so bit by bit it all came together. We shot the film in December 2015 during 13 shooting days with

the best equipment and crew members one could wish for and started to finance the post-production after the shoot. The most difficult moment in the whole process was to regain energy and power after the intense shoot that went somewhat overbudget. Once we got past that point, The Cultural Endowment of Estonia was convinced and allocated some more support, TV3 and Telia VoD came on board aswell and the ball got rolling again. Now VaataFilmi, one of the leading distributors in Estonia, has acquired The End of the Chain and it had a wide domestic theatrical release. The Estonian Film Institute didn’t support the production of the film, but they do support its domestic distribution. The main thing I learnt from the experience is to trust my taste and gut feeling and not remain to wait for anyone’s permission to do a project that I believe in and feel passionate about. Secondly – don’t be afraid to invite people and partners on adventures as they might get inspired and excited and be very happy to join in. Thirdly – the importance of taking care of yourself in

the process to not burn out. The most important element of all of this is to maintain your enthusiasm and ability to work and enjoy the process - until you have that and you’re able to make the next move, nothing is lost, and once you lose this, everything is lost. There were several backlashes in the financing and production process and also in my motivation and energy levels. I’m a big advocate of mindfulness, meditation and other self-care practices, and while producing The End of the Chain really experienced the importance and benefit of it. What was it about that material and the director that made decide that you want to make The End of the Chain, what got you hooked?

The director Priit sent me the play it is based on back in February 2014. I read it on the flight to EFM and right after landing called Priit, saying that I want to do it. I was intrigued both by its content and the visual premise. The material takes a very strong statement about the contemporary world and is also wildly funny in how it depicts the absurdity of life. A film that takes place during one day in one location that is made of glass and where the light is constantly changing – I loved how fresh and unconventional it felt. My approach to choosing projects is to pass everything that I possibly can and only produce the projects that get so deep under my skin I can’t go on living without seeing them come to life. Sounds dramatic, but after 13 years in film world I have realized that’s how I function as a producer. Also, I love to experiment and a good challenge and that’s what The End of the Chain offered. You have had a very intense year - besides feature debut you have had two successful minor co-productions, Amalimbo by Juan Pablo

MARIANNE’S FILMOGRAPHY Constructing Albert (dir. Laura Collado, Jim Loomis), feature documentary, 2017 Helen’s Birthday (dir. Tanno Mee), short drama, 2017 The End of the Chain (dir. Priit Pääsuke), feature film, 2017 Amalimbo (dir. Juan Pablo Libossart), animated short, 2016 The Measure of Man (dir. Marianne Kõrver), documentary, 2011 Being Normal (dir. Tanno Mee, Kaidi Tamm), short documentary, 2010 Strays (dir. Sutharsan “Sui” Bala), medium-length feature film, 2009

Helen’s Birthday

Constructing Albert

Libossart and a documentary Constructing Albert by Laura Collado and Jim Loomis that premiered at San Sebastian this autumn. How did you find those projects or how did they find you? What are the the key elements for creating such successful international co-productions?

These have actually been my only minority co-productions so far. I don’t consciously look for them. I trust life and my professional network that the projects that are right for me will find me. Amalimbo started when I was participating in EAVE European Producers Workshop in 2013 with a completely different project.

I love to experiment and a good challenge and that’s what The End of The Chain offered. I met Juan Pablo there - he was the first out of 53 participants whom I met as we were on the same airport transfer bus. Juan brought up Amalimbo some months later, when he heard that I also have an animation company, Fork Film Animation Studio. I showed him some of our works, the ones he connected with were all from art director and animator Roland Seer. The film ended up with Venice IFF nominating it for the European Film Award. As for Constructing Albert – I met Laura Collado back in 2009 when we participated in Documentary in Europe workshop with our other projects. Last year she visited me in Tallinn regarding some completely different work matters - she wasn’t looking for a co-producer for Constructing Albert but it made perfect sense to give it a try. I brought in a composer, sound designer and credits designer from Estonia. In both cases an international workshop has played a role. I think especially longer and more in-depth workshops are very important to create space for such connections to form. Amalimbo was a co-production from the start, Constructing Albert I joined when Laura and Jim were already editing after 5 years of shooting. A successful co-production is like any successful relationship - you have to really love the project and like and trust the people behind it as you will be solving a lot of problems and unpleasant situations together. Also, I am extremely realistic and rational about whether co-producing a project makes sense creatively, businesswise, in terms of division of labour and fits into the current context of Estonian film financing landscape. Before I enter into a co-pro I have to be completely confident that I can pull it off from my side. I think for this reason the financing of my both minority co-pros has gone very smoothly. ESTONIAN FILM


Photo by Mart Raun


An animation, a documentary and a full length feature in such a short period of time - it is quite an impressive range. What are the similarities and what are the differences for you as a producer between those three genres? And do you prefer one to the others, what’s the closest to you heart?

Actually I also have to add to taht list a short film He­ len’s Birthday by Tanno Mee that premiered in Helsinki IFF Love & Anarchy in September. For me personally, animation feels the least stressful to produce, but I have only produced short forms so far. Somehow the whole process feels more under control and with less variables and risky moments. As a viewer, documentaries are the closest to my heart. That said, at the moment I don’t plan to produce a feature documentary nor a feature length animation as the leading producer any time soon. That might change in a heartbeat, though, if the right project lands on my table. For me the idea of the project is the key and I’m really happy that I feel at home in all three genres and don’t feel limited by them. Please tell us about your plans for the future as well, what projects are you working on in the next few years?

After releasing four films in 13 months, I will have a period of developing new projects - and releasing Constructing Albert theatrically in Estonia in January. We just secured development funding from Estonian Film Institute for the directorial debut of Roland Seer, the art director and key animator of Amalimbo. It’s working title is The Mystics. We’ll start with an animated short for children, but it is intended to be a multiplatform adventure - so if life is generous, it is going to be



DIRECTOR PRIIT PÄÄSUKE ABOUT MARIANNE Marianne does everything with awe-inspiring passion. The End of the Chain needed a producer who knows how to inspire and motivate anyone with her zeal. She’s a creative producer in the best sense – in addition to her organizational and negotiation skills, she always has great creative potential and her advice carries weight. She is someone with whom you could delve into the unknown, if necessary. And when making films, it often is.

a lot more. Priit Pääsuke, the director of The End of the Chain, has three feature films in early stage of development. I am intrigued by all of them and plan to continue working with Priit. Also I plan to continue working with Tanno Mee with the hopes of producing his debut feature within the next couple of years. I’m open for the next minority co-production project to fall into place and on daily basis I also produce highend commericals in stop-motion animation technique with Fork Film Animation Studio. EF




It’s Life Itself

The Man Who Looks Like Me – A Film About a Midlife Crisis and Old-life Tragedy

Filmmaker Katrin Maimik says that her new film The Man Who Looks Like Me is a compendium of little observations about life itself made by her and codirector Andres Maimik. The premiere of every Estonian film is a big deal, especially when the film stars beloved actors like Roman Baskin, Evelin Võigemast, and Rain Tolk. By Kristjan Roos First published in Linnaleht Photo by Anu Hammer



Katrin, could we consider The Man Who Looks Like Me to be a sequel to Cherry Tobacco or is your new film something completely different?

about life, familiar situations, melancholy and humor – that’s what makes it strong and original.

Photo by Viktor Koshkin


The Man Who Looks Like Me had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary film festival to a very warm response. “We were praised for the humanity, the believable characters and figurative details and atmosphere that evoked the beautiful seaside shooting locations in Estonia,” Katrin Maimik relates.

Your film has a very good title. Do you agree that a good title is half the battle?

Yes, the title of a film is very important. It wasn’t hard to find the title this time because it is found in a monologue that the main character gives in the film. Music critic Hugo says that his father has always just been a “man who looks like me” to him. That’s actually very sad to think that’s all he thinks and feels. No one wants to look at his or her father or mother and see nothing more than a physical similarity with that person. We’d rather have something that connects us emotionally too.

It’s different. Cherry Tobacco was the story of a first love. The Man Who Looks Like Me centers on a music critic who has thrown himself into a midlife crisis, who is struggling with his own feelingsand his spiteful father. But there are similarities too. Andres and I are interestThis film is about a father-son relaed in the same themes as we explored in tionship. As the filmmaker, have you Cherry Tobacco: the relationships beput parts of your own life into it? tween men and women, between parents Yes, we have. Andres and I are the type of and children. Whether that be a search for writers and directors who are most inintimacy or a power struggle or taking out spired by life itself. I’ve never been very the failures in your own life on someone good at coming up with things out of the else. The dynamics of blue. But I do know how relationships are in- This film is full of small to notice the little details teresting in life and in in everyday life. I can observations about life, write those down and film. In our film, we familiar situations, use them in films. There see the tragedy of middle age and the melancholy and humor are a lot of such motragedy of growing that are waiting – that’s what makes it ments old. We see blood reto find their way into a strong and original. lations coming to film or play. Life offers us terms with the conso much that we don’t nection between them. We see people need to make things up. There is a lot working to understand each other’s probfrom our own relationships with our parlems and we see what they really think of ents in the film as well. each other. How does The Man Who Looks Like Me differ from other Estonian films?

The cast in your film is first class. Was there a particular performance that you were especially happy about?

As I’m writing a script, my first thought isn’t how to be different. That could lead to writer’s block. I cant remember who it was, but some important person once said that if you’re constantly afraid of not being original, you’ll never be able to come up with anything original because you’ll spend all your time being afraid that everything has already been done. Of course there are a lot of films about the relationships between a father and son or parents and children. In The Man Who Looks Like Me, we’ve tried to tell one of those stories in a nuanced way. I believe that, just like Cherry Tobacco, this film is full of small observations

In the very early stages of writing the script we hadn’t chosen the actors yet. But as we kept working, we knew that we wanted to use Rain Tolk and Roman Baskin. We wrote the characters around them so that their personalities would be written into the roles. Of course, we also got some great stories from them about their own relationships with their parents because both of them had complicated relationships with their fathers. We cast Evelin Võigemast as Marion a bit later but it was worth the wait and search. We’re very happy with all of the actors. We truly made the right decisions. EF

PLANS FOR A NEW FILM Andres and Katrin Maimik are already developing the script for a new film – In Hotels. The film takes place in different hotels in different cities of the world. “The main characters are a married couple whose relationship is in a crisis – they can no longer be together or apart. They are invited to perform at a theatre festival in Lithuania. During the trip, the woman finds the man a Lithuanian lover to help him get over his break-up depression. But when his relationship with the young Lithuanian starts to get serious, the woman realizes that her own feelings for him are stronger than she thought. As a secondary plot-line, we also see the way that the main characters’ relationship blossomed, matured and crumbled as played out in hotel rooms in different corners of the world,” explains Katrin Maimik.






Documentaries Have to Serve Society Marianna Kaat’s newest documentary 14 Cases tells the parallel stories of several families who are connected by the fact that they are all Russian-speaking families living in Estonia and trying to be integrated into an Estonian-speaking society. How do you become integrated without losing your own identity? How do you raise children in one language and teach them in another? Maria Ulfsak asked from the director Marianna Kaat. First published in Eesti Ekspress. Photo by Viktor Koshkin


arianna, your films often touch on painful, uncomfortable topics. As a documentary filmmaker, do you have a clear, verbalized mission that you are trying to fulfill – something connected to yourself, others or the world? Or do you act based on hunches and following good stories?

For me, documentary films should serve society. They aren’t just art made for a strict viewership. I honestly believe that the best documentaries, even if they are works of art, should also raise issues and show the underbelly of society. And that society’s role is to follow with a discussion. A film can’t give you the recipe for solutions but it can map out where the problems are found. In the United States, bigger and

better documentaries are always followed by a reaction, by people trying to change something about the problems raised. Unfortunately, that doesn’t often happen for us here. I truly hope that society will notice 14 Cases. I hope that everyone connected to the lives of Russians living in Estonia will think about the issues in a fresh light, discover something new and take concrete steps to change things for the better. Why did you decide to make a film about Russian children and their language problems in Estonia now? It’s a very important topic that is quite successfully ignored but it’s definitely not “attractive” or “sexy” – it would be easier not to talk about it.

I started shooting in October 2013

so the process lasted for four years. But it’s true that the film is coming out at the right moment in Estonia when these issues are being raised again on a new level. I’ve been thinking about them for a long time but I never found the right approach – the story of one family isn’t enough to show the many layers to the problem. At first, I found a boy named Mark who decided on his own that he would attend an Estonian-speaking school starting in 7th grade. That’s not enough for a full-length film so I started looking for other stories. I divided the problems into different age groups. I wanted to find a high schooler who was just about to finish a Russian-speaking high school. I also knew that parents of five-year-olds have to start planning what language preschool they’ll put their children in – and parents of chilESTONIAN FILM



14 Cases

dren that young don’t want to think about school at all yet. These three situations – and looking at both parents and children – created a level of generalization. In real life, the three characters don’t know each other so it was quite a challenge in editing to get the film to work as a whole. What do you think the international audience will see in your film? They don’t know what’s happening for us here with Russians and integration issues.

Many viewers will probably be surprised that we still have separate Russian-speaking and Estonian-speaking schools in Estonia where Russian is not an official language. I don’t know any other countries other than Latvia where that’s the case – it’s a very unique situation. When I was filming 14 Cases, I wondered what a person outside of Estonia and not connected to our language would think about it. But this is our future, the world’s future – everything is starting blend together. In some families, children speak four languages, couples can be from different countries and live in a third one. So that raises questions like: what language will you use with your child? What school will your child attend? Is your relationship with your child in danger if you speak one language at home and they speak another one at school? What will happen to your identity, who will you define yourself as? Who am I and who is my child? One of the film’s characters,



Vitali, says that he doesn’t know who he is – based on where he’s located he might be an Estonian at one moment and a Russian at another. There are a lot of cases like that. It’s easier in other countries where you are a citizen so you are British or French. But for us, it’s different – citizenship doesn’t mean anything. The fact that we’ve stretched the problem out for so long – that children finish Russian schools and aren’t able to speak Estonian – shows that there is a problem in our society. Politicians are very much responsible for how things are. I’m completely convinced that this has been intentional and the goal was to keep society divided so that Estonian politicians could take advantage of this problem before elections. Before the elections we can always see how the main rivals are once again using the Russian issues to their advantage. It’s horrible to think at what cost this is being done. The problem of language study could be solved very simply. But identity is a much more complicated issue. Only tolerance and the understanding that we are all living on the same

14 Cases (2017, producer & director) The Master Plan (2016, producer, director Juris Pakalnins) Rodnye / Close Relations (2016, producer, director Vitaly Mansky) Underground (2015, director & producer) A Working Title Wunderkind (2012, director & producer) Pit No 8 (2011, director & producer) Lobotomy (2010, producer, director Yuri Khashchavatski) Kalinovsky Square (2007, producer, director Yuri Khashchavatski) The Last Phantoms (2006, director & producer)

Kalinovsky Square

Pit No 8

Close Relations

Only tolerance and the understanding that we are all living on the same planet could help.

planet could help; instilling respect for other cultures and people’s differences. But it seems that there is less and less tolerance and understanding every day, not more.

Unfortunately, yes... Pit No 8, Working Title: Wunderkind, 14 Cases – looking at these films, it seems that children’s issues are close to your heart. Why?

Yes, children and the elderly. I just think that adults can solve their own problems but children and the elderly can’t. They need someone to stand up for them. EF

A New Generation

Ingel Vaikla

A new wave of young Estonian documentary filmmakers are on the move and they are definitely aiming high. Terje Toomistu

by Sigrid Saag

Eeva Mägi

Soviet Hippies


ith just a few short films under their belts, Eeva Mägi, Terje Toomistu and Ingel Vaikla are presenting their documentaries at prestigious film festivals this fall. With topics varying from soviet hippies to nuns in solitude, these three women have shown a distinct style in their filmmaking and it has not gone unnoticed. Eeva Mägi (born in 1987) was warmly welcomed at Dok Leipzig, where her short documentary Lembri Uudu competed in the International Short Film Programme. Dok Leipzig alwso hosted the


European premiere of Soviet Hippies, the debut feature by Terje Toomistu (born in 1985), just a week after the film’s successful International Premiere at the Sao Paolo International Film Festival in Brazil. Ingel Vaikla (born in 1992) will be presenting her short documentary Roosenberg at IDFA. The festival had 3,886 submissions this year and being one of the 312 films selected for one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals truly shows the talent of this young filmmaker. Her documentary, Roosenberg, is about an encounter between four elderly nuns in a fascinating monastery in Belgium.

Lembri Uudu




A-class film festival meets business accelerator Storytek is the first mentor-driven accelerator focusing on audiovisual sector, where deep knowledge of the global film and creative industry mixes with top-notch technology competence. By Hedi Mardisoo Photos by Storytek




stonia is well known in the world for its IT, our flagship Skype, e-residency, 3-minute online tax declaration, e-Governance and start-ups. Estonia is also the home of Black Nights Film Festival, one of the most distinctive film events in Northern Europe. BNFF is one of the best known cultural brands in Estonia. In 2017 the A-category festival takes place for the 21st time. It is no secret that audiovisual sector is foreseeing significant changes due to

new devices, e.g. AR, VR, becoming more user-friendly, platforms like Netflix and Amazon and Apple coming into to content business. All of that is placing higher demands for the sector to innovate and change its status quo to remain in the game. With these trends in mind, Storytek was born. The goal of Storytek is for the creative community to fully embrace the opportunities technology offers them to scale their audiences and business. Storytek is a ten-week intensive boot

v Guy Philippe Goldstein talking about Cybersecurity at Storytek Meetup. s Methodkit workshop at Storytek Accelerator. w Storytek residents and mentors visit e-Estonia showroom.

camp in Tallinn, designed for companies with creative-tech prototypes which are poised to scale. The participating projects will leave with practical tools for growing and running their business globally and with real deliverables. The first round kicked off in September and will end with a project demo on the 29 November, during the Industry@ Tallinn, Storytek Forum. The first batch

consists of seven companies: Cues (UK), VFC (Canada), & Black & White (Croatia), ETK Erinevate Tubade Klubi (Estonia), Fanvestory (Estonia), Gosharework (Estonia), Sco­ pe (Estonia). Mentors include producer, sales & IP executive Michal Favelle (Odin’s Eye Entertainment), multi-platform producer John Heinsen (Bunnygraph Entrainment), business development executive Laura Anne Edwards (TED Resident, Google Labs, NASA), Wolf Bosse (Director of Strategic Business Development @ ARRI), AI & deep learning guru Yosi Taguri, acclaimed branding and design mentor Julius Talvik and others. Storytek is made possible by Enterprise Estonia and the Black Nights Film Festival, private investment and by partners Elisa and PwC. Next round will kick off in the first quarter of 2018. More information about Storytek and about the projects can be found on the website EF



Photos by Gabriela Liivamägi


Novembe Rainer Sarnet’s November is a brave feat, just like its archetype novel, Andrus Kivirähk’s Rehepapp, was a brave feat for the way it approached our local mythology.

T November by Tõnu Karjatse First published in Eesti Ekspress 38


he story of Rehepapp – the Old Barney – has become a sort of national epic for the re-independent Estonian and the source of one of our most prominent memes – the idea of being a Rehepapp denotes being clever and able to remain self-serving in the face of cultural and economic subordination. DIRECTOR SARNET builds his own story out of Kivirähk’s mythology while keeping most of the novel’s well-known elements and characters intact. Sarnet’s focus

Ink Big! The critics have done their job

moves from the old, clever Rehepapp character to the youngsters, thus turning his attention from the novel’s motifs of survival and coping by manipulating underworld creatures to problems of love and longevity. In this way, Sarnet is aiming at higher spheres than Rehepapp’s search for material gain, reinforced by the symbolic, mystical scenes of Christ bleeding on the crucifix – ones not found in the novel. Sarnet’s November is a love story with elements of fantastical, rogue comedy and roots deep in the national subconscious. The mental imagery of our wet, cold


Novembers make Estonian poetess Viivi Luik ask “Will we last the winter?”; the creaky, rattling kratt creatures are like Estonian Sampos – the mythical Finnish artifacts that should bring riches and good fortune; Liina and Hans’s tragic love story reflects schemes familiar from antique literature where lovers sacrifice true feelings for show and make fateful decisions against their own will. Sarnet’s film, like Kivirähk’s novel, manages to come close to the Finno-Ugric “doom”, i.e. the core, a primal morbidity, the permafrost in our collective subconscious, which has, despite attempts at being derailed by history and the weather, become the inexplicable guarantee of our permanence. A permanence secured by relationships with the otherworldly, i.e. those from the underworld – something Rehepapp is so very good at.

NOVEMBER’S monochromatic visual amplifies the film’s archaic style and seems to be the one and only way to approach our mythical past. The director’s main sources for this imagery were Johannes Pääsuke’s photos of early 20th century everyday farmhands. Sarnet also tests non-professional actors who visually fit the characters found in these century-old photographs and his experiment proves very fruitful. NOVEMBER is an ensemble film where the cast deserves their own praise and distinction. Alongside Mart Taniel’s amazing camera work and Sarnet’s masterful directorial hand, the supporting cast are the ones who make this film what it is. Sarnet’s formal approach is rather traditional and yet manages to feel amazingly fresh, at times harkening to the minimalism of Japanese horror films. The story unfolds on a straightforward, simple path from kratts to romance as Mart Taniel’s camera finds all the shades of gray found in the Estonian winter. The source element that makes up winter – water – appears in almost all of its forms, the most fantastic of which is the snowman’s Venetian story. The cinematography of this episode is deserving of its own award for poetic filmmaking. In contrast to the delicate sensitivity of the visual, the kratts and ticks feel robust and rough, dangerous

Liina, Hans and Baron: Rea Lest (left), Jörgen Liik and Dieter Laser (right).

and foul, just like we might imagine them if they had never before been translated to the screen. Maybe that’s the biggest risk that Sarnet’s November takes in a world were the audience is inundated with computer graphics. But production company Homeless Bob Productions made the right calculations in taking this risk, as these moving creatures are the ones that helped

Alongside Mart Taniel’s amazing camera work and Sarnet’s masterful directorial hand, the supporting cast are the ones who make this film what it is. them get international partners on board the project, who later became crucial to the successful trajectory of the film. INTERNATIONALLY, November seems to be Estonia’s calling card to the world this year. Along with translations of Kivirähk’s novels, it arouses the world’s interest in our small little corner of the world, where simply the rising of the sun is comparable to a miracle six months out of the year. EF ESTONIAN FILM



Once a Hippy, Always a Hippy

The Estonian documentary Soviet Hippies is a trip around the topic of freedom. The most direct meaning of freedom is a lack of boundaries. In Western society, that often means financial resources that enable the acquisition of desired things 40



Soviet Hippies by Aurelia Aasa First published in Postimees

reedom means the possibility of buying a new iPhone or sunbathing on the balcony of a five star hotel. Our culture’s dream nirvana is found in the blissful comforts of luxury. The hippy culture opposes materiality. Happiness is not consumption, but sharing, caring, the pursuit of adventure. Standing by the side of the road with your thumb held out and floating in a psychedelic cloud – that’s freedom. Terje Toomistu’s documentary is a portrait of such a hippy culture of freedom. A result of six years of work, the film portrays a bunch of hippies in their advanced years remembering the hippy movement in the highly regulated regime of the Soviet Union. They talk about their run-ins with the militia (Soviet police), stints at the psychiatric hospital and foggy trips through surreal dream worlds. The cult of freedom in the film will get to you, no doubt. But there are a few issues with structure in the film. There’s so much happening on screen: reminiscences of past lives alternate with archival footage culminating with a bunch of hippies in their golden years setting out for Moscow to celebrate International Hippy Day. It all feels like an all-encompassing, anthropological historical film. Maybe the documentary would have worked better as a road trip film – one where you watch some old men cruise down the highway, search their attics for weed and try to catch a whiff of freedom. On the other hand, their reminiscences reveal the inconsistencies of the Soviet era: archival footage shows us young Pioneers giving their oath of commitment versus hippies of the era lounging around on grassy knolls in the nude, puffing on weed and swaying to psychedelic beats. One of the film’s goals is uncovering the absurd disparities of that era. And as we jump back and forth in time, another truth unfolds – once a hippy, always a hippy – at least as long as you remain young at heart. Of course there are those whose souls

The film portrays a bunch of hippies remembering the hippy movement in the highly regulated regime of the Soviet Union.

Ink Big! The critics have done their job

yearn for freedom and adventure in modern society as well. But the hippies of the 1970s’ Soviet Union risked a lot to be who they were, to wear long hair and to picket and protest. And so here we sit on the grass in a fringed shirt, talking about a peaceful, beautiful world. In that sense, modern hippies could be classified as ‘comfort hippies’ – even the most hippy among us are affected by our culture of comfort. We are just as much hippies as it fits our own lives – just as peaceful or angry as we need at the moment. And even when we are worried about the world, few of us dare to rebel against our consumerist lifestyles. Today’s hippies are eager debaters but their real lives are surrounded by the snug comforts of welfare. That applies to individuals, politicians, countries, the epoch of our culture of comfort, where striving for freedom has been replaced by striving for riches and wallowing in the spoils of our concocted needs. But we could all be a little more hippy-like – not to say passive, but amicably rebellious and adventurous. Soviet Hippies could serve as an inspiring trailblazer for us. And, if not that, then at least a warm look at times past. EF ESTONIAN FILM


Photo by Heikki Leis


A Man in the Maze

The Man Who Looks Like Me By Katariina Rebane First published in Eesti Päevaleht 42


The Man Who Looks Like Me is the most mature product of the cooperation between Katrin and Andres Maimik.


he tandem’s last relationship drama, Cherry Tobacco, left me perplexed. But their newest feature film is chock full of pointed tragedy, strong feelings, and believable characters. The film mainly focuses on the relationship between children and parents. As the title suggests, the stress is on the role of the father and the fact that many children grow up among a bunch of men but

have no real father or with their fathers being nothing more than men who flit through their lives without leaving a lasting, trust-based mark. Other themes in the film are relationships between couples, depression after separation and the difficulties of letting go. As an overall theme, the film talks about how hard it is to step outside of your own little world, to forget or forgive what has happened in the past, our inability to see farther than our own shadows – we always wait for a change from others without seeing what we need to change about ourselves. All of the performances by the main cast are enjoyable, especially those of Roman Baskin as the father and Rain Tolk as the son. Baskin is the stubborn, annoying, self-centered father who causes nothing but embarrassment for his son. He appears unexpectedly on his son’s doorstep, demanding attention and care without being willing to give anything in return. He’s opposed by Rain Tolk’s Hugo: a pedantic, self-interested, priggish music critic whose self-admi-

Ink Big! The critics have done their job

Music critic Hugo (Rain Tolk) sharing an intimate moment with Marian (Evelin Võigemast). And his father (Roman Basking) sharing an intimate moment with his trombone.

ration and need for recognition and approval (something he clearly lacked in his childhood) crosses his low self-esteem. When these two characters crash into each other, their mutual resentment gives way to humorous, true to life scenes where the conflicts are clear, unequivocal and perhaps even familiar from certain episodes in our own lives. Hugo’s difficulties after his break-up are also funny and familiar – his angry outbursts and malicious accusations that he regrets seconds later, the pointless phone calls where he can’t control himself, his loss of dignity and inability to let go... Evelin Võigemast’s Marian is slightly overshadowed by the two male leads. Not because of how Võigemast plays her, but because it seems that more was invested in the male characters so we don’t get as close to the female lead as we do to them. Marian is the meeting point between a maternal, helpful therapist and a devious, life-affirming adventuress. Some of this is expressed in egotistical Hugo’s treatment of her, which is always based on his own needs. If there’s any fault to be found, then The Man Who Looks Like Me – like many other films – is a bit too long. It takes a while to find its stride and the end stretches out for too long. At the same time, it’s nice that the film isn’t full of things happening. It leaves room for the actors and the audience. The genre feels a bit disjunct – or, rather, as talking about genre has become taboo and no one wants to stuff themselves into just one box, then the atmosphere, tonality, and style feel disjunct. The film looks at relationship issues through a light-hearted, soft, comical lens but then turns emphatically dramatic and dark at other times. But since the better part of the film is still rather humorous, the darkness of these other scenes feels a bit alien. The Man Who Looks Like Me has strong characters, a good sense of humor and moments that reflect back on life itself – therefore touching each and every one of us. EF ESTONIAN FILM



The Manslayer The Virgin / The Shadow


he film consists of three chapters. The Manslayer takes place in the end of 19th century. The leading character Maara is a young bride who is about to start her life in her new family. The Virgin, set in the spring of 1949, tells the story of a young woman called Elina, who has been deported from Ingria into Estonia during the previous war. The Shadow moves in the present, on the border of real life and fantasy. The main character Luna Lee has decided to flee from home. Is there anything besides emptiness somewhere? The film is led by the singularity of the leading character – Maara, Elina and Luna Lee are all played by the same actress.

DIRECTOR SULEV KEEDUS completed the Higher Courses for Directors and Scriptwriters in Moscow in 1989. Since 1981 he has been a freelance director and has produced 5 features and 15 documentaries. Selected Filmography: In Paradisum (documentary, 1993) Georgica (feature, 1998) Somnabulance (feature, 2003) Jonathan from Australia (documentary, 2007) Letters to Angel (feature, 2011) The Russians on Crow Island (documentary, 2012) War (documentary, 2017)

FILM INFO Original title: Mehetapja / Süütu / Vari Genre: drama Languages: Estonian, Spanish, French Director: Sulev Keedus Screenwriters: Sulev Keedus, Madis Kõiv Cinematographers: Erik Põllumaa, Ivar Taim Main Cast: Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Katariina Unt Art Director: Toomas Hõrak, Anna-Liisa Liiver Sound design: Saulius Urbanavicius Music by: Martynas Bialobžeskis Editor: Kaie-Ene Rääk Producer: Kaie-Ene Rääk Co-producer: Rasa Miskinyte Produced by: F-Seitse (Estonia), Era Film (Lithuania) World Premiere: Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2017 Official Selection 141 min / DCP / 1.85:1 / Dolby Digital CONTACT F-Seitse Kaie-Ene Rääk Phone: +372 5648 8902



The End of the Chain


secluded fast food joint next to an empty parking lot, where it’s good to go, because nobody recognizes you there. On a rainy autumnal day, people show up one after the other — all of them on the verge of a breakdown - or perhaps a breakthrough? The main character, Waitress, sees and absorbs it all. One by one - through their personal drama - the clients push the Waitress towards her own edge. DIRECTOR PRIIT PÄÄSUKE graduated from the Tallinn University with BA in film directing in 2005. From 2012 to 2015 he attended the MA program of theatre and film directing in Drama School of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Since 2005 he works as a freelance director and editor and as a producer in his

own production company Luxfilm. In 2008 Priit’s short fiction Black Peter (2008) premiered at the 38th Tampere Film Festival, participated altogether at 22 film festivals and won 11 prizes; in 2015 he premiered a feature length documentary Impromptu. Existential comedy The End of the Chain is Priit’s fiction feature debut.

FILM INFO Original title: Keti lõpp Genre: drama, comedy Language: Estonian Director: Priit Pääsuke Screenwriter: Paavo Piik Cinematographer: Meelis Veeremets E.S.C Art Director: Eugen Tamberg Main cast: Maiken Schmidt, Hendrik Toompere jr. Music by: Ann Reimann Sound design: Ann Reimann Editors: Priit Pääsuke, Valter Nõmm Producer: Marianne Ostrat Produced by: Alexandra Film (Estonia), Luxfilm (Estonia) World premiere: Kalrovy Vary IFF 2017 81 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Alexandra Film Marianne Ostrat Phone: +372 523 3577




The Man Who Looks Like Me


iddle-aged music critic Hugo, already suffering from a post-divorce depression, sinks even lower when he is forced to deal with his spiteful and messy father Raivo who pretends that he only has a few months to live. Both men get a new lease on life when they discover that they both have developed feelings for the same woman. Raivo tries every trick in the book to ruin all Hugo’s romantic plans. DIRECTOR ANDRES MAIMIK studied at Tartu Art College and the Estonian Institute of Humanities. He grad-

uated in 2009 from Tallinn Pedagogical University with a degree in directing documentaries. He has worked as a journalist, film director and editor, scriptwriter and copywriter. DIRECTOR KATRIN MAIMIK received a bachelor’s degree in dramatic theory from the University of Tartu in 2005 and an MA in scriptwriting from Tallinn University’s Baltic Film and Media School in 2013. Their first co-written and co-directed full-length feature Cherry Tobacco (2014) premiered also at Karlovy Vary IFF.

FILM INFO Original title: Minu näoga onu Genre: drama, comedy Language: Estonian Directors: Andres Maimik, Katrin Maimik Screenwriters: Andres Maimik, Katrin Maimik Cinematographer: Mihkel Soe Art Director: Kristina Lõuk Main Cast: Rain Tolk, Roman Baskin, Evelin Võigemast Art Director: Kristina Lõuk Sound design: Horret Kuus Music by: Sten Sheripov Editor: Helis Hirve Producer: Maie Rosmann-Lill Produced by: Kuukulgur Film (Estonia), Kinosaurus Film (Estonia) World premiere: Karlovy Vary IFF 2017 110 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Kuukulgur Film Maie Rosmann-Lill Phone: +372 5615 6535



The Swan


he world is contemporary rural Iceland. For Sòl (9) things have been better. Her father is gone, and when her mother has a nervous breakdown, Sól is sent away to live with distant relatives deep in the middle of nowhere. The only person Sól connects to is the mysterious farmhand Jón (33). By day he works like a horse nd by night he writes ferociously in his journals. “Words are loyal, unlike people,” he tells Sól, making her feel that finally, here is someone worth being loyal to. But Sól has competition. The farmers’ daughter Ásta (23) has a claim on Jón too, and an angry one. Sól is convinced that Jón is her soulmate, but his behaviour towards her is becoming increasingly transgressive. And when Ásta’s secret

FILM INFO comes out and Jón becomes the focus of a potential crime, Sól finds herself in the middle of a drama she can hardly grasp. DIRECTOR ASA HJÖRLEIFSDOTTIR born in Reykjavik in 1984, is a graduate of the Columbia University Film MFA program. Before going to film school, Asa studied English and French literature and worked as a book critic for the Icelandic National Radio. Asa has written and directed a number of short films. Most notable is her award-winning thesis film Astarsaga, which played at more than 40 festivals including Clermont-Ferrand and Palm Springs. It was also a finalist for the 2014 Student Academy Awards. The Swan is her debute feature film.

Original title: Svanurinn Genre: drama Language: Icelandic Director: Asa Helga Hjörleifsdottir Screenwriter: Asa Helga Hjörleifsdottir Based on: The Swan by Gudbergur Bergsson Cinematographer: Martin Neumeyer Art Director: Drífa Freyju-Ármannsdóttir Main Cast: Grima Valsdottir Sound design: Tiina Andreas Editor: Sebastian Thümler Producers: Birgitta Björnsdottir, Hlin Johannesdottir Co-producers: Anneli Ahven, Verena Gräfe-Höft Produced by: Vintage Pictures (Iceland), Kinokompanii (Estonia), Juna Film (Germany) World premiere: Toronto Inter­national Film Festival 2017 91 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / Dolby SR CONTACT Vintage Pictures Phone: +354 661 7952 SALES M-Appeal World Sales Phone: +4930 6150 7505





The Eternal Road


ased on true events, The Eternal Road is an epic story of one man’s struggle for survival. Jussi Ketola returns to Finland from the great depression that struck America only to face growing political unrest. One summer night of 1930s, nationalist thugs violently abduct Ketola from his home. Beaten and forced to walk the Eternal Road to Soviet Union, where cruelty seems to know no end, his only dream is to return to his family at any cost. Hope dies last. DIRECTOR AJ ANNILA is an award-winning director from Finland, who is best known for his unique and unprejudiced choice of topics. His first feature Jade Warrior (2006) was a martial art adventure and the first Finnish film to get a theatrical release in China. His sec-

AJ Annila

ond feature Sauna (2008), a psychological horror film, was awarded at a number of international film festivals and was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize.

Original Title: Ikitie Genre: drama Languages: Finnish, English, Russian Director: AJ Annila Screenwriters: Antti Tuuri (novel), AJ Annila, Aku Louhimies Cinematographer: Rauno Ronkainen Art Director: Kalju Kivi Main Cast: Tommi Korpela, Sidse Babett Knudsen, HP Björkman, Sampo Sarkola, Irina Björklund Sound: Fredrik Dalenfjäll Editor: Tambet Tasuja Producer: Ilkka Matila Co-producers: Kristian Taska, Martin Persson, Gunnar Carlsson Produced by: MRP Matila Röhr Production Oy (Finland), Taska Film (Estonia), Anagram (Sweden) International premiere: Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2017 International Competition 104 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / Dolby Digital CONTACT MRP Matila Röhr Production Oy Ilkka Matila Phone: +358 405 011 025 SALES TrustNordisk / Susan Wendt Phone: +456 029 8466



The Confession



riest Giorgi, a former film director, is sent to serve the small parish in the mountain village. To bring villagers closer to the church he starts showing films there. After the screening of the first picture Some Like It Hot the audience implies that the local music teacher Lili looks exactly like Marilyn Monroe. After meeting Lili, Father Giorgi’s balance between cleric and secular world starts to quiver – the woman is extremely sexy and the temptation is difficult to resist. DIRECTOR ZAZA URUSHADZE is an acclaimed Georgian film director and screenwriter. He graduated from the Georgian State University of Theatre and Film in 1988.

Zaza Urushadze

His filmography includes: Tangerines (2013) – nominated for Foreign Language Oscar and The Golden Globes The Guardian (2012) Stay with Me (2011) Three Houses (2008) Here Comes the Dawn (1998)

Original title: Agsareba Genre: drama Language: Georgian Director: Zaza Urushadze Screenwriter: Zaza Urushadze Cinematographer: Giorgi Shvelidze Art Director: Thea Telia Main Cast: Dmitri Tatishvili, Joseph Khvelidze, Sophia Sebiskveradze Sound design: Harmo Kallaste Music by: Sten Sheripov Editor: Alexander Kuranov Producers: Ivo Felt, Zaza Urushadze Produced by: Cinema24 (Georgia), Allfilm (Estonia) World premiere: Warsaw Inter­ national Film Festival 2017 – International Competition 89 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Allfilm Ivo Felt Phone: +372 517 6393 SALES Picture Tree International Phone: +49(0) 304 208 2480




Green Cats



he story is about two old folks, Markus and Eduard, who have spent the most time of their lives behind prison walls. From a young age they have revolved in circles around thieves and other rouges. State robberies and frauds have led men to long periods of punishment from Soviet Estonia until nowadays Europe Estonia. Now, the seventy-year-old men have been granted amnesty. Both have a passionate desire to change their lives and plan their life in freedom. Once liberated, they soon realise the world has changed and they do not fit in anymore. DIRECTOR ANDRES PUUSTUSMAA is an Estonian director and actor. In 1994 he graduated from The Drama School of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and started working in the Estonian Drama Theatre. In 2002 he moved to Moscow to study directing at the Moscow



Andres Puustusmaa

Film Institute (VGIK). Since 2004 he has worked as a director on feature films and TV-series both in Estonia and Russia. Selected Filmography: 18-14 (2007) Red Pearl of Love (2008) Rat Trap (2011) In Warsaw (2016)

Original Title: Rohelised kassid Genre: drama, comedy Languages: Estonian, Russian, English Director: Andres Puustusmaa Scriptwriter: Andres Puustusmaa Cinematographer: Pavel Emilin Art Director: Martin Mikson Main Cast: TĂľnu Kark, Sergey Makovetskiy, Mait Malmsten, Kirill Kyaro, Ăœlle Kaljuste Music: Priit Pajusaar Editor: Andreas Lenk Producer: Katerina Monastyrskaya Produced by: Leo Production World premiere: Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2017 - Estonian Film Competition 105 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Leo Production Katerina Monastyrskaya Phone: +372 5829 7356

Scary Mother


50-year-old housewife, Manana, struggles with her dilemma – she has to choose between her family life and her passion, writing, which she had repressed for years. She decides to follow her passion and plunges herself into writing, sacrificing to it mentally and physically.

DIRECTOR ANA URUSHADZE born in Tbilisi (Georgia) in 1990, graduated from the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Georgia State Film University (TAFU) in 2013 and directed several short films such as Ideas (2010) and One Man Loved Me (2012). Sashishi Deda (Scary Mother) is her feature film debut.

FILM INFO Original Title: Sashishi deda Genre: drama Language: Georgian Director: Ana Urushadze Screenwriter: Ana Urushadze Cinematographer: Konstantin Esadze Art Director: Jimsher Berdzenishvili Main Cast: Nato Murvanidze, Dimitri Tatishvili Composer: Nika Pasuri Editor: Alexander Kuranov Producer: Lasha Khvalashvili Co-producer: Ivo Felt Produced by: Artizm, Allfilm World premiere: Locarno International Film Festival 2017 – Concorso Cineasti 107 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Artizm SALES Alief LLC Phone: +44 208 533 2942






n a Christian culture, suicide is a taboo, and a soldier’s suicide is a double taboo. Rivo, who has been on a military mission to Afghanistan twice, suffers from a post-traumatic disorder, which ends in suicide. For four years, Rivo’s girlfriend Hanna tries to battle his psychological disorder, but then gives up and moves from Estonia to Australia. A year later Rivo steps in front of a train. His last message to those who know him is to forgive him. In Dino Buzzati’s novel The Tartar Steppe nameless soldiers, who serve a nameless emperor in a nameless country, are waiting for a nameless enemy. ESTCOY soldiers in Afghanistan had a clearer idea of both who the enemy was and of their location. Nevertheless, some soldiers are mentally deeply wounded when they come back from war. Rivo’s diagnosis was that he was a psychopath. War is a story about a fighter for “peace”, who after

Sulev Keedus



FILM INFO having returned from a mission could not come to terms with his life anymore, with the life between the present and the eternity. DIRECTOR SULEV KEEDUS completed the Higher Courses for Directors and Scriptwriters in Moscow in 1989. Since 1981 he has been a freelance director and has produced 5 features and 15 documentaries. Selected Filmography: In Paradisum (documentary, 1993) Georgica (feature, 1998) Somnabulance (feature, 2003) Jonathan from Australia (documentary, 2007) Letters to Angel (feature, 2011) The Russians on Crow Island (documentary, 2012) War (documentary, 2017)

Original title: Sõda Languages: Estonian, English Director: Sulev Keedus Screenwriter: Sulev Keedus Cinematographer: Sulev Keedus Sound: Anna-Liisa Liiskmaa, Erle Vaher, Mart Kessel-Otsa, Harmo Kallaste Editor: Kaie-Ene Rääk Producer: Kaie-Ene Rääk Produced by: F-Seitse International premiere: Nordische Filmtage Lübeck 2017 55 min / DCP / 16:9 / 3.0 CONTACT F-Seitse, Kaie-Ene Rääk Phone: +372 5648 8902

Soviet Hippies


eace, Love and Freedom! A wild flower power ride on the footprints of the Soviet hippie movement takes you into the psychedelic underground of 1970s. In search of freedom and happiness under the thumb of political regimes a colorful crowd of artists, musicians, freaks, vagabonds and other long-haired drop-outs created their own system in the Soviet Union. Years later, a group of eccentric hippies from Estonia take a road journey to Moscow where people still gather annually on the 1st of June to commemorate a tragic event in 1971, when thousands of hippies were arrested by the KGB.

DIRECTOR TERJE TOOMISTU is an Estonian documentary filmmaker with a background in anthropology. Her work often draws from various cross-cultural processes, queer realities and cultural memory. She holds double MA degrees (cum laude) in Ethnology and in Media and Communication from University of Tartu, where she is currently pursuing a PhD degree in anthropology. In 2013-2014, she was also a Fulbright fellow in UC Berkeley, U.S. Together with Estonian artist Kiwa, she curated a multimedia exhibition about Soviet hippies, which has been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally.

FILM INFO Original title: Nþukogude lillelapsed Languages: Estonian, Russian, English, Ukrainian Director: Terje Toomistu Screenwriter: Terje Toomistu Cinematographer: Taavi Arus Sound design: Seppo Vanhatalo Music by: Production music Editor: Martin Männik Producer: Liis Lepik Co-producers: Sarita Sharma, Sami Jahnukainen Produced by: Kultusfilm (Estonia), Kinomaton (Germany), Mouka Filmi (Finland) Estonian premiere: 1. June 2017 International premiere: Sao Paolo International Film Festival 2017 52 & 85 min / HD / 16:9 /Stereo CONTACT Kultusfilm Liis Lepik Phone: +372 5565 5786 SALES Wide House Anais Clanet Phone: +331 5395 2441




14 Cases


ilmed over three years, Fourteen Cases follows different age Estonian Russians who are struggling with their identities but desperately wish to be integrated into the modern society. Russian-speaking families in a decision-making period. DIRECTOR MARIANNA KAAT graduated from the St. Petersburg State Arts Academy in 1986. Until 1991 she worked as a script editor and a director for Eesti Telefilm and thereafter as the acquisition manager for Estonian Television. In 1998 she founded her own production company Baltic Film Production and since then has produced and directed documentaries, features and TV series.

FILM INFO Original title: 14 käänet Languages: Estonian, Russian Director: Marianna Kaat Screenwriter: Marianna Kaat Cinematographer: Rein Kotov, Max Golomidov Sound design: Tiina Andreas Music: Frenetic Virtual Orchestra Editor: Kadri Kanter Producer: Marianna Kaat Produced by: Baltic Film Production Estonian premiere: 28. September 2017 85 min / DCP / 2,39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Baltic Film Production Marianna Kaat Phone: +372 502 7509 SALES Antipode Sales and Distribution Julia Kuzischina Phone: +792 6306 6651



Toys and Totems


ome objects in our lives are more significant than others, be they ritual artifacts or childhood toys. Their life-stories intertwine with our own. Reflecting to and from their significant objects, children create reality, and so can grown-ups. The film, with its documentary stories, stop-motion animation and associative imagery, pays tribute to the humans’ bittersweet yearning for divine reconnection and transformation. Ritual objects and children’s toys can be equally infused with the power to change our perceived reality. Playing is a cosmological act that can make anything possible. DIRECTOR KADRIANN KIBUS (1979) is an Estonian documentary film director and producer. She has worked on a number of documentary films as a director, producer or editor. Her body of work includes titles such as The Women of Muhu Island (60’, 2014, Sabat Film, EstDocs jury prize), Come Back Free (as assistant producer, Vesilind 2016, IDFA mid-length competition jury prize), The Pigeons (52’, Vesilind 2012). Kadriann is the deputy of the Estonian Documentary Guild and runs her own studio Sabat Film. Her film approach is poetic and empathetic, with a touch of surreal, and appreciation for the abstract.

fiction and drama, and been as a cinematographer with different documentary productions such as The Women of Muhu Island (60’, Sabat Film 2014, EstDocs jury prize). Since 2013, he has worked as a cinematographer in Estonian stop-motion animation studio Nukufilm, having been involved with multiple productions such as Eternal Hunting Grounds (Medieoperatørene, Nukufilm 2015) and Morten on the Ship of Fools (in progress). He is a member of the Estonian Documentary Guild and co-owner of the independent film studio Sabat Film.

FILM INFO Original title: Nukud ja tootemid Language: Estonian Director: Kadriann Kibus, Sergei Kibus Screenwriter: Kadriann Kibus, Sergei Kibus Cinematographer: Sergei Kibus Sound design: Ekke Västrik Editor: Kadriann Kibus Producer: Kadriann Kibus Produced by: Sabat Film Estonian premiere: 12. October 2017 30 min / DCP / 16:9 / surround 5.1 CONTACT Sabat Film Kadriann Kibus Phone: +372 5558 2582

DIRECTOR SERGEI KIBUS is a director, animator and cinematographer. He has written and directed short ESTONIAN FILM



Constructing Albert


he most important culinary revolution of modern times took place at elBulli, a restaurant in a remote cove on the Catalan coast. Ferran Adrià is the famous maestro people know, but behind elBulli’s success was also a hidden genius: Albert, Ferran’s younger brother. Four years after closing of elBulli, Albert has decided to become master of his own world, building 5 unique restaurants in the centre of Barcelona. Enigma, the jewel in the crown of this gastronomic empire, will prove to be his greatest hurdle. Will Albert escape the shadow of his famous brother and enter the Pantheon of great chefs? DIRECTOR LAURA COLLADO has a degree in Journalism and a passion for storytelling, Laura founded Trueday Films in 2012 to develop and produce gripping and entertaining stories. Very involved in the narrative of all the projects

she has worked on before in the role of a creative producer, Constructing Albert is Laura’s debut as a director. DIRECTOR JIM LOOMIS Graduated with honours in Film and Television from Napier University in Edinburgh. Jim has been working in documentary for more than twelve years. His credits as DOP and editor include films produced for broadcasters such as BBC, DK, ARTE, Al Jazeera International, CNN, TVC and TVE - I Will be Murdered (2013), Colgados de un sueño (2012), Life from others (2012), Ferran Adrià Revealed (2010) to name a few.

FILM INFO Original title: Constructing Albert Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English Directors: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis Screenwriters: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis Cinematographer: Jim Loomis Composer: Arian Levin Sound design: Horret Kuus Editor: Jim Loomis Producer: Laura Collado Co-producers: Marianne Ostrat, Muntsa Tarrés Produced by: Trueday Films (Spain), Alexandra Film (Estonia), Televisió de Catalunya (Spain) World premiere: San Sebastian International Film Festival 82 min / DCP / 2.35:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Alexandra Film Marianne Ostrat Phone: +372 523 3577 SALES Wide House Elise Cochin, Head of Sales Phone: +336 7000 5646



Lembri Uudu


ill Estonia’s re-independence in 1991, Pähkla village in Saaremaa had a kolkhoz which provided jobs for all the villagers. Lembri Uudu also worked in a kolkhoz as a tractor driver. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the kolkhoz was disbanded, most of Pähkla’s villagers lost their jobs and Uudu died. But sometimes it happens that person’s real vital force arises after his death. Lembri Uudu died at such a right time that he became a hero who still gives villagers the power to live and keeps the kolkhoz united. DIRECTOR EEVA MÄGI was born in 1987 in Estonia. In 2015 she obtained a master’s degree in directing documentary films from Baltic Film and Media School. She also holds a master’s degree in law. Lembri Uudu is her first independent film after graduation. Her approach to documentary film is rather experimental and often mixed with fiction.

FILM INFO Original title: Lembri Uudu Language: Estonian Director: Eeva Mägi Screenwriter: Eeva Mägi Cinematographer: Heiko Sikka Sound: Tanel Kadalipp Music: Tanel Kadalipp, Jaan Jaago Editor: Jette-Krõõt Keedus Producer: Edina Csüllög, Liis Nimik Produced by: Alasti Kino International premiere: Dok Lepizig 25 min / DCP / 16:9 / 5.1 CONTACT Alasti Kino Liis Nimik Phone: +372 5661 6905







oosenberg is a place, a space, a building, a film. Roosenberg is Amanda, Godelieve, Rosa and Trees. Roosenberg is a letter that tells of an encounter with four elderly nuns in a fascinating monastery in Belgium. The every day communal life of four sisters, their religious practice and final departure from the building tells the story of modernist architecture. It is a memory, a story of a space at the beginning of the end. DIRECTOR INGEL VAIKLA is a visual artist and filmmaker from Estonia, currently based in Belgium. She studied photography in Estonian Academy of Fine Arts (BA) and film in Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Gent (MA). In her work she questions the relationship between architecture and its users, and the representation of architecture in camera



Ingel Vaikla

based mediums. Ingel was part of the team representing Estonia at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale with a contribution titled How Long is the Life of a Building? Her documentary film The House Guard has been screened at numerous international film festivals and exhibitions. She recently finished her latest film Roosenberg that speaks of the author’s encounter with a fascinating modernist monastery in Belgium designed by monk architect Dom Hans van der Laan.

Original title: Roosenberg Director: Ingel Vaikla Screenwriter: Ingel Vaikla Cinematographer: Ingel Vaikla Sound design: Simonluca Laitempergher Editor: Olivia Degrez, Ingel Vaikla Producer: Ingel Vaikla Produced by: Vaikla Studio World premiere: IDFA: International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam 2017 30 min / HD / 16:9 / Stereo CONTACT Vaikla Studio Ingel Vaikla Phone: +372 5691 2772


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