Estonian Film 2019 / 1

Page 1



w w w.f ilmi.e e



Sten Sheripov Music and Emotions

Heiki Ernits & Janno Põldma Lotte’s Third Time at Berlinale

Rea Lest A Shining Shooting Star from Estonia Ivo Felt

An International Man FEATURED FILMS: Lotte and the Lost Dragons I Class Reunion 3 Phantom Owl Forest I Mihkel I Take It or Leave It Funeral Diaries I Rain I Sandra Gets a Job

FOREWORD for Estonian Film


ast year in Estonia, local cinemas premiered 14 feature films, 11 documentaries and 3 short-film collections. Two of the feature films were minority co-productions (with Iceland) and four films were produced without any state support. Estonian films generated over 650 000 admissions at local cinemas, achieving a 17.8 % market share at home. This is the highest number ever for Estonian film. Remarkably, 3.6 million people went to the cinema in 2018, equivalent to 2.75 admissions per capita. Cinema chains continue to open new screens each year across Estonia, with more people visiting the cinema than ever. The main difference from previous years came from the Estonian Republic 100 film programme. The investment of over 9 million euros into Estonian films over the last four years has proven a shrewd move, bringing to the market high-budget films and significantly raising the production value of films made in Estonia. Over 352 000 admissions were achieved by films from that programme. Furthermore, the jubilee programme made it possible to come out with some new initiatives - the feature-length high-budget nature documentary The Wind Sculpted Land which achieved 41 000 admissions, the highest for any Estonian documentary, the short documentary film collection Roots, directed by women, and the first Estonian high-end TV-drama series The Bank which has been selling very well around the globe. The success story continues. At the beginning of 2019, the children’s feature animation Lotte and the Lost Dragons was released and it will have its international premiere in the Berlinale Generation Kplus Programme. Estonia will also introduce a Shooting Star at this year’s Berlinale – actress Rea Lest, who you can read more about in the cover story of this issue of Estonian Film. She has had some remarkable roles over the last few years and her well-deserved moment of glory will be celebrated in Berlin. The last feature of the centennial programme, The Truth and the Justice directed by Tanel Toom, will have its domestic premiere just a few days before the 24th of February, Estonian Independence Day. You can read an interesting interview with the producer of this epic film, Ivo Felt, here in this magazine. At the moment, Estonian film is enjoying a stage of phenomenal development. Let’s celebrate this accomplishment together and stay tuned for a new edition of Estonian Film!

Edith Sepp, CEO of Estonian Film Institute

Content 4

NEWS Back from the USSR


NEWS Compartment Number Six


DIRECTORS Janno Põldma & Heiki Ernits. We Let the Dog Out

12 NEWS Film Critics’ Awards 12 NEWS Edith Sepp is the New

Vice-President of EFADs

13 NEWS Awards for Priit Pärn and

Moonika Siimets

14 COVER STORY Shooting Star

Rea Lest

20 PRODUCER Ivo Felt –

An International Man

23 NEWS Janno Jürgens’ Debut

26 20

24 DOCS Estonian Docs at DocPoint 26 IN FOCUS Sten Sheripov. Music & Emotions

30 EVENT PÖFF. Cinematic Diversity 33 NEWS Sandra Gets a Job 34 NEWS Class Reunion 3: Godfathers 35 NEWS Statistics 2018 36 REVIEW Take It or Leave It 38 REVIEW Mihkel


40 REVIEW Phantom

Owl Forest

43 NEWS Festival

Highlights 2018


The 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: Johannes Lõhmus, Filipp Kruusvall, Aurelia Aasa Translation: Lili Pilt Linguistic Editing: David Edwards, Paul Emmet Design & Layout: Profimeedia I Printed in Adverts Cover: Rea Lest, photo by Virge Viertek, style by Kärt Hammer ESTONIAN FILM


An Epic Year



Photos by Viktor Koshkin


Back from the USSR Lauri Randla’s humorous debut feature Goodbye Soviet Union is wrapped. By Maria Ulfsak


oodbye Soviet Union is the humorous coming of age story of Johannes, born prematurely to a single mother still in school who leaves the boy to be raised by his grandparents in 1980s Estonia. The enterprising Johannes’ fate in life is to be solitary and different until he finds his first love at age 10. All this against the backdrop of a collapsing Soviet Union.



“The shooting period went very well – despite the very hot summer that unexpectedly hit Estonia. I was taken aback by the performance of the young actor playing Johannes, Niklas Kouzmichev, as well as by what my crew did for me and this film,” director Lauri Randla said to Estonian Film. “For me, the film Goodbye Soviet Union is the story of Johannes growing up in a world crumbling around him. But the Soviet Union is not the only world that crumbles during the film. With the help of love, Johannes creates a reality for himself where he can be happy, right up to the moment when his mother takes him away from the crumbling USSR,” added Randla,

Director Lauri Randla (on the right) graduated from Aalto ELO Film School in Finland. His filmography includes many successful short films, including The Zone (2011, 23 min), which received a Silver Tadpole at the Camerimage Festival in Poland and Mausoleum (2016, 26 min), which won eight international awards.

who is the film’s screenwriter, director and composer. The film is in Estonian, Ingrian and Russian. Goodbye Soviet Union will premiere in 2019. The director of photography is Elen Lotman, the production designer is Jaana Jüris, the costume designer is Mare Raidma and the producers are Peeter Urbla and Mark Lwoff from Finland. The film is produced by Exitfilm and AB Bufo OY and production support came from the Estonian Film Institute, the Estonian Cultural Endowment, the Finnish Film Institute, Finnish Public Broadcasting YLE and the European co-production fund Eurimages. EF

Photo Getty Images

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki Both of Juho Kuosmanens’s features so far, Painting Sellers (2010) and The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016), have won prizes at Cannes Film Festival.

Compartment Number Six T

he feature, based on Rosa Liksom’s novel by the same title, will be directed by Juho Kuosmanen of Finland and the screenplay is written by screenwriters Livia Ulman and Andris Feldmanis from Estonia. The producers behind Compartment Number Six are Jussi Rantamäki (Elokuvayhtiö Aamu, Finland), Riina Sildos (Amrion, Estonia) and Jamila Wenske & Sol Bondy (One Two Films, Germany) and the planned budget of the project is 2.2 million euros. “We started work on the project

in 2011 when Rosa Linksöm’s novel was published,” the Estonian producer Riina Sildos said. “Our Finnish colleagues suggested that it could be a great co-production project. The author had seen Juho Kuosmanen’s film Painting Sellers and wanted him to be the one to direct the film. At the moment, we are actively developing the screenplay and plan to shoot the film in early spring next year.” Compartment Number Six takes place at the end of the 1980s. Laura is a Finnish student studying in Moscow who goes on a train trip

Photo by Anu Hammer

The Berlinale Co-Production Market project list includes the Finnish-Estonian-German co-produced drama Compartment Number Six. By Maria Ulfsak

through the Soviet Union to Mongolia. Unfortunately, she is forced to share the train compartment with a middle-aged Russian construction worker named Vadim, who drinks vodka like it’s water, has a foul mouth and can’t keep his hands off the girl. Laura tries to ignore the man and rushes to find a phone at every stop so she can call Moscow, from where she fled a complicated love triangle. The girl hoped the train journey would give her answers about how to go on with her life. A relationship develops between Vadim and Laura that’s a mixture of proximity and contempt, and feelings of danger and security. For a few fleeting moments, this becomes the only thing in both of their worlds that seems real. EF

Andris Feldmanis and Livia Ulman




We Let Dog Ou the

Lotte and the Lost Dragons is the new film by Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma and will premiere in the Berlinale Generation KPlus Program. The two filmmakers are friends and colleagues who have leaned on each other’s fantasy, sense of adventure and drawing skills to create the universe of a little girl dog named Lotte. By Johannes Lõhmus Photos by Virge Viertek




his is a world where all the characters can be heroes because there is no one to save or evil to fight in order to restore balance in the world. Together with legendary Estonian author Andrus Kivirähk, they have created a cornerstone for childhood in Estonia full of healthy curiosity and based on principles like “notice the little guy” or “say no to violence”. This is the third in a series of full-length films about Lotte that have become the basis for a true fairy-tale world, including a Lotte theme park, plays, musicals, books, a TV-series and all kinds of products that introduce Lotte’s positive attitude to the world – a world where everyone is included and no one is alone. Lotte and the Lost Dragons is a co-production with the Latvian film studio Rija Films and made in the framework of the Estonia 100 anniversary film program.

ut Where did the character of Lotte come from? Heiki Ernits: From a crisis. Janno Põldma: That’s a long story that we’re hap-

py to tell. It all started when Heiki broke his leg and was in the hospital where his drawing style changed. I really liked his new style and had the opportunity to invite him to be the set designer for a play that I was writing for our puppet theatre. That was in 1995 and the play was A Canine Wedding, which took place in an animal shelter for dogs and had some elements that later became the basis for creating Lotte’s world, such as Oskar and… HE: Yes, the beginnings of our characters were already there. JP: And after that, we felt like we had material left over and it would work well in a series. So we wrote Tom and Fluffy.

Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits

HE: At the time, there was a big cri-

sis in Estonian cinema. They were threatening to cut off state funding and times were tough in general. So we thought that we needed to figure out something that brings in money from abroad to help the Joonisfilm studio stay afloat. Something that we could sell. Until then, we had been making festival films but those only brought reputation and fame, which didn’t help us economically – they still don’t, even though reputation and fame are still worth something. At the time, we were making a commercial for Finnish television and had a ESTONIAN FILM



good contact there named Juha Vakkur. He had sales contacts all over Europe and we made an agreement about doing something together. JP: He presold Tom and Fluffy to the German NDR (Norddeutscher Rundfunk - JL) channel. The Germans screened Tom and Fluffy many times and really wanted us to keep going, so we made Lotte’s Journey South. We had the environment and started developing it together with writer Andrus Kivirähk. Tom and Fluffy have always been somewhere in the background of our Lotte films too. When we started making the first full-length Lotte film, Estonia had just been accepted into the European Union and all the film financing funds became available to us. We were the first studio in Estonia to get funding from Eurimages and when we took Lotte from Gadgetville to the Cartoon Forum, we didn’t need to find money for production or post-production and could focus on finding a distributor. The project was that far already. And we somehow ended up in the right place at the right time. We had a very good, practical producer working with us – Riina Sildos – and she helped us make the right decisions. What is your working process like? HE: We sit down together, just like right now,

make a few jokes and make fun of a few ideas,



Heiki and I have been working together for so long that we know exactly what a film needs. Fun characters from the Lotte universe created by Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma.

and then we write something down and something quietly starts to develop. JP: First, we try to figure out the main storyline and then we break it down into parts and start inventing the things and characters. Three of us write the script together. Heiki and I are both directors and Heiki is the main production designer responsible for the visual side. Most of his time is spent on that. HE: Janno sits in the editing room for months on end. As soon as he gets a new scene, he starts arranging, cutting, watching and nailing things down. JP: I also give the instructions to the animators and work with the actors. But I always ask Heiki for help because he’s so good and has a fresh viewpoint. HE: With full-length films, it’s good to share the roles so that one person doesn’t hold the all-important conduc-

Films From the Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma Universe tor’s wand the whole time. It’s good to split the work into stages. JP: Heiki and I have been working together for so long that we know exactly what a film needs. So if one of us gets tired, the other can come in with a fresh set of eyes and that works. Kivirähk writes the dialogues. But full-length films are so much work that we have a wonderful team of around 200 people working with us and we are very grateful to all of them. Which characteristics, useful or educational for children, did you give the Lotte character? HE: Our films aren’t exactly education-

al. We’d rather set an example through gently adventurous characters. Not to teach about right and wrong, but to keep up a nice atmosphere. Morals have changed a lot throughout time – in film as well as in literature and art in general. The “Hansel and Gretel” stories were written over a hundred years ago in Germany – and the solutions in them can be quite brutal. Someone is pushed into an oven, someone is eaten, someone is cut into pieces and buried. And all of that is found in stories for children. That brutality was necessary back then because people were probably more savage and the stories needed brutal elements to evoke emotion. JP: Our film has slogans that are very important to us which we focus on when writing, to make sure they work. I’m talking about things like: “Be as curious as

Lotte from Gadgetville (2006)

Lotte and the Lost Dragons (2019)

Lotte and the Moonstone Secret (2011)

Ladybird’s Christmas (2001)

Concert for a Carrot Pie (2011)

Lotte’s Journey South (2000)

Tom and Fluffy (1996)




you can.” “Stick your nose in everything.” “If you can solve a situation, then do it.” And Lotte represents that way of being. “Say no to any and all violence.” “Follow your heart.” “Notice the little guy.” If you look carefully, then that’s why we have all kinds of bugs living their own lives drawn into our film. You see that you may want to be big and important, but there are smaller creatures who also need your attention. These are all good principles but they have to be served to children in a way that they understand. The image and activities have to show things in a way that kids remember and without admonishing them to be one way or another. We use everything at our disposal to do that – the music, dialogue and visual world. There was a study program based on Lotte from Gadgetville made in Germany and, in the Netherlands, they showed our film systematically to kindergarten and pre-school classes to raise a new generation of film lovers on films without violence and where situations are approached with humour. So the children would have something to fantasise about later. The best part about your films is that the events unfold based on the good intentions and curiosity of the characters. JP: One idea we had is that life is so interest-

ing and rich that you just have to learn to see it all. Stick your nose in a hole and you might start to notice more things. HE: A regular person doesn’t come into contact with bad guys in their everyday life. Maybe someone steps on your toe on



the bus, but we live in quite a safe society in Estonia. So we don’t need to focus on bad characters. Without the bad, life is a little harder. It makes it hard to write the plot because it’s easy to deal with a bad guy – he does something bad and then you have to start fixing it. But bad guys captivate us? HE: They do! But if a bad character

isn’t interesting, it makes the good character boring too. JP: Aristotle’s three-act rules of dramaturgy have an antagonist and protagonist. People have tried to apply that to our world and asked us why we don’t use the classical scheme that children understand so well. Without a bad guy, we have to solve the situation differently. HE: Of course people like when there’s a hero who comes and cleans up. Watching that and experiencing it is enjoyable. But before that, you have to suffer through the bad guy doing his bad stuff.

We say it like this – goodness makes life more interesting.

Lotte with her sister Roosi (on the left), the friendly dragons and raccoon Karl from Lotte and the Lost Dragons.

JP: It’s like a world of little Chaplins. Chaplin’s films mostly lack a big, strong antagonist who puts the city or country in danger. They usually have small characters doing their own thing and it’s all very funny to watch. In some ways, they are completely different things, but we also have a community with some silly characters making their human mistakes and with their own quirks and positive aspects. We want children who watch the film or come to Lotte’s theme park to feel welcome in that world. Like they’re not just watching, but are part of that world. That’s why we created the theme park to support the films, as well as all the characters and plays and books and all the rest. So that, as a whole, it becomes what we like to call fairy tale realism.

we didn’t want to keep repeating what we’ve done before. We very quickly realised that Lotte needed a sister. If we wanted to do something differently, then we needed a new main character alongside Lotte. Lotte and Roosi’s relationship was clear right away. The little one follows the big one and learns to perceive the world while Lotte keeps going down her own path. We also knew that our final goal was to go as deep down as possible to those who were the very first to exist – to find the beginning of it all. We wanted to have five marks in the film that made it important to be in the right place at the right time and to always keep your eyes open. Lotte and Roosi’s trip is characterised by curiosity and the fact that fantasy can take you very far.

But if you had to put the philosophy behind Lotte’s world into one sentence, what would it be? JP: We say it like this – goodness makes life more in-

Are you big inventors yourselves? JP: When I was small, I used to invent gliders. But I


Another very important theme in all of your stories is traveling and adventure. How important is adventure? HE: It’s like a style of film, like a road movie in a way.

We’ve made three films in that style and Lotte from Gadgetville is the most classic. Meeting strangers, interacting with them and finding out new information while being friendly towards the world around you is very important for us. You have said that this new film started with two sure things – that there is a character named Roosi and that there are dragons in the film, while all the rest was still missing. Why Roosi and why dragons? JP: We really struggled with this new script because

don’t any more.

HE: I had a thought at the beginning that we should

get help from an engineer who can help us think of inventions. But, unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that. I do have a German study tools catalogue from 1893 that I brought at an antiquary and a lot of our prototypes for creating Lotte’s world and the inventions in it come from there. What kind of stories do you like? HE: I really like to watch fantasy films on the big

screen. But my favourite film is still Fanny and Alexander (1982) and I also really liked The Great Beauty (2013). JP: I like American films from the Casablanca (1942) era. They didn’t use any tricks at the time and focused on the script. It’s interesting to follow the way the scripts are constructed. I also like mystical cinema, for example the films of Guillermo del Toro. EF ESTONIAN FILM


Photo Scanpix


Film Critics Awarded The Little Comrade The Estonian Film Journalists Association gave out their annual awards in January, which included the Virgin Maali Award for Best Estonian Film. The bronze sculpture and prize money for the best Estonian film of 2018 went to Moonika Siimets’s film The Little Comrade for its technically masterful screen version of Leelo Tungal’s memoirs and the

sensitive and effective portrayal of a complicated era in history. “The Estonia 100 film program gave filmmakers the opportunity to spread their wings and the program’s opening film is definitely worthy of sitting at the very top of the list of local cinematic works. Nonetheless, the results of the voting were very close and the richness of the films this year as well as the large audience numbers

The director of The Little Comrade Moonika Siimets (on the left), the male lead Tambet Tuisk and the producer of the film, Riina Sildos.

On 15 December 2018, in the framework of the European Film Awards in Seville, the members of the European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) Board elected the new President and Vice-President of the association with a two year mandate. The new President is Luis Chaby Vaz, President of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual of Portugal. The new Vice-President is Edith Sepp, CEO of the Estonian Film Institute. “It is a great honor to have been elected President of the EFADs. We



are all extremely grateful for all the work done over the last four years under Peter Dinges Presidency which has enabled the association to make its voice heard on the European scene. We will continue on this path with energy and determination to promote cultural diversity and the vitality of European audiovisual creation,” declared Luis Chaby Vaz. “I am delighted to have been elected as EFADs’ Vice-President

and to play my part in strengthening our common aims for European film in the coming years and in addressing the opportunities and challenges that film – both industry and culture – faces across Europe,” said Edith Sepp. The EFADs is the voice of European public film agencies bringing together bodies from 31 countries in Europe (EU Member States of the EU, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland). Initially set up as an informal network, it was formally established in Brussels in December 2014. EF Photo by Anu Hammer

Edith Sepp is the New Vice-President of EFADs

should signal to financiers, politicians and the public that Estonian film is doing well thanks to the support and trust it has received,” said the Chairman of the Film Journalists Association, Andrei Liimets. The Film Journalist of the Year Award went to Hendrik Alla for his active work in promoting film culture as editor and film critic for the daily newspaper Postimees in print and online. The award for Best Distribution Film went to Martin McDonagh’s suspenseful drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for its sharp portrayal of grief, anger and revenge in a way that is timeless and painfully current at the same time. The film was distributed in Estonia by Estonian Theatrical Distribution. The five nominees for the Virgin Maali Award were: Jaanis Valk’s Ahto. Chasing a Dream, Anu Aun’s Phantom Owl Forest, Kiur Aarma and Raimo Jõerand’s Rodeo and Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalos’ Take It or Leave It. The Virgin Maali was given out for the 26th time this year, making it the longest and most consistent film prize awarded in Estonia. The Estonian Film Journalists Association has been active since 1993 and is a member of the international film journalists’ organization FIPRESCI. EF

Edith Sepp, CEO of the Estonian Film Institute.

Photo Scanpix

Awards for Priit Pärn and Moonika Siimets In the beginning of February, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia awarded their lifetime achievement award and annual awards for the year 2018. Audiovisual Art Endowment Committe gave a lifetime achievement award to animation legend Priit Pärn. “If Estonian film gave a business card to the world, then Priit Pärn would probably be on it,” commented the Chairman of the Audiovisual Art Endowment Committee, film critic Tristan Priimägi. “From the 1970s, when he started as a production designer in the Tallinnfilm and Joonisfilm studios, to later when he was an animation film director at the Eesti Joonisfilm studio, he has consistently created his own animation film language, and elements of that language have become a characteristic of Estonian animation for the international community. Pärn’s films are surreal, playful and visual. His works Breakfast on the Grass, Hotel E, 1895, Time Out and Night of the Carrots have indisputably become Estonian film classic. Pärn has always asked questions and been provocative. His ability to set

himself in the middle of important events has also made him an important caricaturist in Estonian history. And no less important is Pärn’s work as a lecturer and teacher. Year after year, Pärn’s students continue to win numerous awards at international festivals with even their school-time films. During the last ten years, he has made several short animation films together with his wife Olga Pärn, such as Life Without Gabriella Ferri, Divers in the Rain and Pilots on the Way Home, which all show a powerful, new stage in Pärn’s creative work. And since Pärn has always been unpredictable, he seems to remain the only one who knows where his work will take him next,” said Priimägi. The 2018 award for the best feature film went to The Little Comrade. The award was divided between director Moonika Siimets, producer Riina Sildos and cinematographer Rein Kotov.

Priit Pärn is an Estonian animation legend who reminded us during a very important moment in Estonian history that drawn animation techniques do not only belong to children but also to adults.

Photo by Anu Hammer

Moonika Siimets

“The Little Comrade brought Leelo Tungal’s memoirs about life in 1950s Soviet Estonia to the screen, telling the story of an era of terror when no one really knew how to live without getting in the way of the authorities, in a way that skillfully balances tragedy and warm humor,” Priimägi commented. Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo received the award for best debut film for her film Take It or Leave It. Cinematographer Mart Taniel received an award for his work on The Riddle of Jaan Niemand and The Man Who Surprised Everyone. A special award for a warm-hearted film went to Anu Aun’s children’s film Phantom Owl Forest. Sten Sheripov was awarded for composing the music for the films Take It or Leave It and Phantom Owl Forest. The Endowment also decided to honour director Jaanis Valk and producer Erik Norkroos for the documentary film Ahto. Chasing a Dream, and director Sergei Kibus and cinematographer Pärtel Tall for the animation film Teofrastus. The best film actor of the year was deemed Reimo Sagor for his role in Take It or Leave It and the best actress award was shared between Paula Rits and Helena Maria Reisner who played the leads in the films Phantom Owl Forest and The Little Comrade respectively. The Audiovisual Art Endowment also gave out two awards for portrait documentaries. One went to Marianne Kõrver for her portrait film Tõnu Kõrvits. Moorland Elegies, and the other to Kullar Viimne for his portrait film Shards of Light. EF ESTONIAN FILM







Rea Lest-Liik (28) will represent Estonia at this year’s EFP Berlinale Shooting Stars. She is one of the ten best up-and-coming actors from Europe being honoured at the Berlin International Film Festival 2019. By Maria Ulfsak Photos by Virge Viertek


ea, the film that led you to be chosen for the Shooting Stars program was Rainer Sarnet’s November, which was successful at home, made waves internationally, won a lot of awards and, among other things, is now available on HBO. You played the lead – Liina, a farm girl hopelessly in love. Why do you think the film worked so well in Estonia and abroad?

That film came out in 2017 but it seems like its journey isn’t over yet and it is still doing well. It travels down roads that I know nothing about – to this day, I still get letters and words of gratitude from faraway places where the film has gone. I think November was a case of the right time and the right people. The magic and myth in the film is combined with very worldly and practical things. Love, death and the dirtiest form of naturalism at the same moment. It somehow feels like a breath of fresh air. Martti Helde’s Scandinavian Silence will premiere in 2019 where you play one of the leads. Please tell us more about the film.

It’s a little difficult to talk about that film because it

has certain elements that the viewer shouldn’t know before watching it. But I play Jenna, a woman whose lot in life isn’t the easiest – even though she’s young, she’s been through a lot. My character meets Tom, played by Reimo Sagor. They ride in a car together. Sometimes they make a stop, but mostly they just keep moving. Everything that takes place happens between them or it doesn’t happen at all. The film is basically built around these two characters. Martti wanted to try a more literary form of filmmaking. So this movement, the words that are said or unsaid, the silence creates some sort of shift. Was it your first time working with director Martti Helde?

Years ago when Martti was trying to get money for this film, when Reimo and I were still in the university, he asked us to go film with him at night and we made a short clip. But I had forgotten that by the time he called me and said that we’re going to start making the film now. So, yes, this was my first film with Martti and it has been a long journey we’ve shared. ESTONIAN FILM


COVER STORY REA LEST FILMOGRAPHY: Mother (2016, feature) director Kadri Kõusaar. Meteoriit (EE) November (2017, feature) director Rainer Sarnet. Homeless Bob Production (EE), PRPL (NL), Opus Film (PL) The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow (2017, feature) director Sulev Keedus. F-Seitse (EE), Era Film (LT) True (2018, short) director Marta Pulk Kinosaurus Film (EE) Scandinavian Silence (2019, feature) director Martti Helde Three Brothers (EE), ARP Selection (FR), Media International (BE)

For the last four and a half years, you were working with theatre NO99, which won many awards, including the 2017 European prize New Theatrical Realities, which has been described as the Oscar of the theatre world. You made modern and avant-garde theatre and left a powerful imprint in Estonian theatre history. At the end of last year, the troupe and heads of the theatre decided to close down this successful theatre without much notice, which was quite a big shock to the Estonian cultural scene. What happened?

Yes, my job at NO99 ended together with the year 2018 and I am now open to new challenges. In that sense, the Shooting Stars at Berlinale was a real gift; it’d be hard to find better timing for me. NO99 as a theatre didn’t stage plays according to the classical pattern: there’s a play, the roles are split up, etc. We started together from a theme, book or other impulse and saw where it took us during the rehearsal period. Mostly that meant testing physical boundaries or exploration through other means. With each new process, we tried to arrive somewhere we had never been before and at some place new and unknown. At some point, that common impulse had run its course. It’s a bit like a relationship – when something unnamed disappears between two people, they are left with the question of how and whether to be together at all. You are an actress who has played psychologically and physically difficult roles in films and theatre. You have rolled around in the mud and run into frozen rivers. Many of your colleagues have spoken out against such things, saying that directors’ working methods should be more clearly regulated to avoid such situations turning into problems. As an actress who has experience with such situations, how do you feel about this discussion?

I have never felt something I’ve done on set or stage



Rea in her latest roles (from left): Jenna in Scandiavian Silence, Luna Lee in The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow and Liina in November.

has mentally or physically pushed me close to my limits. Yes, there have been challenges, but in the end, I’m the one who wants to accept those challenges, who takes the blanket off and jumps into the snow naked. That’s my decision and my responsibility. When I accept a role, I am ready to trust the material and trust the director I am making the film with. At that moment, when you are on set, the energy and attention of everyone who is working there is directed towards the same goal – to capture, frame-by-frame, something that doesn’t exist yet. Their attention is on one thing, the film, the work of art. We all want the film to be beautiful, awe-inspiring and the best it can be. And certain discomforts and challenges are part of that job. But the way limits are approached is a matter of agreement and trust. If something is not okay, you have to say right away. Violent cooperation is something that I do not understand. But if the script says that I have to slap my partner or pinch him or kiss him, then I want to be sure that he or she won’t come back years later and accuse me of violence even though we seemed to have a trusting agreement at the moment. You can’t make a film like that.

When I accept a role, I am ready to trust the material and trust the director I am making the film with.





Rea About Her Limits

W The Manslayer/The Virgin/The Shadow

I would like to make as many different films as possible. Do you plan to go back to the theatre?

I’d rather move on with theatre because there are a lot of people with whom I would like to work. But after such a long journey with one group, I have to sit down for a moment and think about who and where I want to approach next. What are your plans for the near future?

Veiko Õunpuu and I have talked about his next film and we’ve also been making plans with Triin Ruumet and her next film. I joined the Lisa Richards Nordic agency. And I’m trying to figure out how to dive into freelance life. In a dream world – who would you want to work with in the future?

I don’t think I’ve really dreamt of working with anyone but the directors I like are Werner Herzog, David Lynch, Mike Leigh, M. Night Shyamalan, the Safdie brothers, Jim Jarmusch, the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino. I was lately very impressed by Yorgos Lanthimos – the way he thinks and sees the world is very magical. And I really liked The Last Family by the Polish director Jan P. Matuszynski. I would like to make as many different films as possible – to be a cowboy in one, a nun in another, a beast in a third and a beauty in the fourth. And a man somewhere too. I want to put myself into as many different bodies as possible. But, you know what, a good summary of all this would be that I want to play in films with no characters that can be divided into good and evil and no moral lighthouse stuck in the middle of the room. EF

hen it comes to limits, The Manslayer/The Virgin/The Shadow by Sulev Keedus was a good challenge. There were several times when I thought: ‘My God, have I reached the limits of my personal human capacity?’ I tried it and was happy to find I hadn’t. For example, on the very first shooting day of my career, I showed up on set without knowing what a take is or why they say “camera, sound, action”. It was November and I was supposed to run across a field in wool socks and then dive into an ice-cold river. I was worried; I had a bladder infection and didn’t feel great. But as you work, adrenaline takes over. It’s actually easier to be on stage with a fever than at home – and I managed everything I had to do. In the underwater scenes for Rainer Sarnet’s November, we had a fun diving short-course before starting the scene. I was happy because all of my water scenes had so far been outdoors and in ice-cold water in the winter. I would finally get to swim in 23-degree pool water. What could go wrong? But when you’re three meters underwater and doing physical work, your lips still go purple and you start to shake all over your body after a few hours. I’ve never had anything like a panic attack before but down in that water, I started to feel as though I couldn’t do it anymore because I couldn’t breathe. But at that moment, it wasn’t possible for me not to do it. We had to finish the shoot. I was panicking like a helpless child being held down in the deep, dark water. I’m actually happy at how things have gone. I think sitting with your legs crossed and a cup of tea in your hand while delving into the depths of the human soul is much harder than frolicking in the mud naked. Freedom and courage come from the clarity of purpose in the character I’m playing. There is one specific direction for me to go, and that gives me strength. When I return to everyday life, I’m lost again. I have no idea if I want to eat pasta or rice. I don’t know anything anymore. But for that one, blissful moment when I’m on stage or in front of the camera, I have no doubts – I understand exactly what I’m doing. ESTONIAN FILM



International Man




By Aurelia Aasa Photos by Harri Rospu


an you tell us about Truth and Justice. What is it about?

Truth and Justice is based on the legendary novel by A. H. Tammsaare. The central story revolves around the two stubborn neighbours, who don’t have warm relations, yet still have to co-exist. Their never-ending duel takes place in rural Estonia during the 19th century. It’s a true classic. We just pulled ourselves together to bring it to the big screen. There have been attempts in the past – scripts have been written, but the film was never made. At the same time, Tammsaare is one of the most influential writers in Estonian literature. His work has defined generations. Every self-respected Estonian has read at least one of his books. So, it’s definitely a big bite to take. Are you afraid of how Estonians are going to receive the film?

Sure, but not too much. (Laughs). At the same time, the text itself is so powerful. That makes the film-making process easy and challenging at the same time. You have to make choices – which aspects to highlight, which to leave out.

Photo by Madis Tüür

Producer Ivo Felt is the man behind the internationally successful Estonian co-productions Tangerines and The Fencer. In 2018, Take It or Leave It, produced by Felt, was Estonia’s entry for the best foreign language Oscar. In February 2019 he’s about to premiere Truth and Justice, based on an early 20th-century Estonian classic novel. What is the super-productive producer currently up to?

Ivo Felt on the set of Truth and Justice.

Yet, it’s so strong as a drama, as a story. It’s a rare thing when something so compelling comes into one’s hands.

You have two documentaries in production. Both revolving around death – Funeral Diaries and On the Way to Heaven.

What are your ambitions for Truth and Justice, both at an international and domestic level?

Funeral Diaries opened DocPoint Tallinn this January. It’s a film about three ministers who serve in Toronto. Estonians fled to Canada during World War II. By now, the main task for the priests is to bury the men of this generation. The film explores the holy men’s views on faith, death and life itself. The second one, On the Way to Hea­ ven, came to me through my Finnish friends. It’s a film by a young Swedish director Carl Olsson. We look at the people who deal with dead people on a daily basis – clergymen, morgue attendants, musicians. Aesthetically, the documentary reminds me of the works by Roy Andersson. We are co-producers, the composer Sten Sheripov comes from us as well as sound design and all post production. The shooting, however, takes place in Scandinavia.

In Estonia, our ambitions are high. We want every Estonian to go and see the film. That means we are hoping to receive 1,3 million admissions on the domestic market. (Laughs). We also have high hopes at an international level. We have tested the film on a couple of prominent foreign viewers and it has worked. That takes us to the film sales and I really think this film has a great potential. It’s a strong drama by an Oscar nominated director Tanel Toom. Truth and Justice also has a high production value, I believe it has a lot to offer. Another one of your projects, Take It or Leave It (dir. Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo) has already enjoyed international success. Last month, it was screened in Palm Springs. It was selected to represent Estonia in the Oscars race. What’s behind the film’s success?

The story. According to the classics, you can make a bad film out of a good script, but it’s impossible to make a good film with a bad script. It’s true. Take It or Leave It has a universal story, which touches people. It’s a film about a single parent, a single father, which speaks to modern viewers. We are also glad that both films, Truth and Justice and Take It or Leave It have debuting directors.

You have produced shorts, documentaries and several full-length features. How does producing a documentary differ from producing a feature film?

In Estonia, it’s rather common that producers bounce between the two genres. Making a documentary film is more like a slow burn, not swift and sudden. The making-of process of feature films can also be calm, but at one point you find yourself rushing around. With documentaries, the process is constant, but smooth – you just have to keep the fire burning. Also, the teams are smaller. ESTONIAN FILM



Photo by Ana Urushadze

Features Truth and Justice (dir. Tanel Toom) 2019 Take It or Leave It (dir. Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo) 2018 Portugal (dir. Lauri Lagle) 2018 Scary Mother (dir. Ana Urushadze) 2018 The Confession (dir. Zaza Urushadze) 2017 The Spy and the Poet (dir. Toomas Hussar) 2016 The Fencer (dir. Klaus Härö) 2015 Landscape with Many Moons (dir. Jaan Toomik), 2014 Tangerines (dir. Zaza Urušadze), feature film, 2013

Ivo felt (in the left) and Zaza Urushadze on the set of The Confession.

Documentaries Funeral Diaries (dir. Marko Raat) 2019 Fast Eddy’s Old News (dir. Marko Raat) 2015

You can make a documentary with three to four people. On Truth and Justice, we worked with a few hundred people. Furthermore, real life matters. Creating fictional worlds has its charm, but contact with real people cannot be undervalued. You don’t put on a play but show situations or people as they are. You are also working on Gateway 6, which is a British-German-Estonian co-production. Tell us more about that.

It’s the next film by Tanel Toom. It was supposed to be his debut feature, but as Truth and Justice is part of the Estonia 100 film programme, this was a priority. The initiative for Gateway 6 comes from England. Tanel graduated from the National Film and Television School. His graduation short The Confession was nominated for an Oscar in the Live Action Short category. Afterwards, he received several offers for a full-length feature. He liked the idea of Gateway 6. When he moved from London to Tallinn, we started to think – why don´t we shoot it in Estonia and we became co-producers of the film, also we included a partner from Germany. The film is in English and has an international cast, mainly British. It’s a story of four soldiers, who have been serving on a military outpost in the middle of an ocean. It’s dystopian fiction. You have been involved with more than a hundred films as a sound designer. How did you become a producer?



Truth and Justice

By accident. I grew up in the film world. My father was a filmmaker. My first contact with music was also in childhood. Truth is, I have much more experience as a sound man than as a producer. In 1995, we created Allfilm studio. I had the privilege to be one of the owners, but I was only involved in the sound making process. I did a lot of films during the 90s and 00s. At one point I realised that I cannot enjoy this kind of luxury any longer. There was a project, a film called Georg in 2007 (dir. Peeter Simm), which in my opinion needed to be done. So I became a producer. How do you choose the projects?

Critically, according to my intuition. I start to read the scripts or look for something specific myself. Sometimes the projects find me. As a European producer it’s common that a director finds you, not the other way around. But the project has to have something that touches you, gets under your skin. Otherwise, there is no point in doing it at all.

When it comes to films, does art beat money?

For me, the artistic side is the most important. We read the script, discuss the editing, I also have a say in the casting process. I don’t claim to have the last word. In that sense, you always have to trust the people you’re making the film with. We can have fiery arguments, but when things get too intense, I’m the one to step back. I know producers who always have the final word. I’ve never been that producer, even if I’m not happy with some decisions. What’s next?

I read, develop and write all the time. It’s a never-ending process. Currently, we have an absurd feature film in development with an Estonian director Kaspar Jancis. We have already received the development grant. I’m also working on some television series. There have been times when I’m making four feature films at once. I don’t want to do that anymore. Besides, you have to keep in mind that it’s voluntary to do that much. Sometimes it’s ok to do less. EF

Photo by Diana Pashkovich


Janno Jürgens’ Debut Talks About Fathers, Sons and Brothers Director Janno Jürgens is in post-production with his debut film Rain.

One of the main characters in Rain is played by the Estonian actor Rein Oja (above). For the producer Kristjan Pütsep (on the left), Rain is the debut feature.

By Maria Ulfsak


he story follows 11-yearold Ats, whose older brother Rain unexpectedly returns to the family home in a small seaside town to face their authoritarian father Kalju and their mother, a woman on the verge of losing love. Ats witnesses the clash between his father and brother, two stubborn men from different generations with radically different views of the world. When their father tries to push Rain, who has lost his footing, into the boundaries of his world, Rain finds hope in Aleksandra, a mysterious woman with a shady past. The production companies behind Rain are Alasti Kino from Estonia and Furia Film from Poland. The film has a budget of 530,000 euros and the crew includes director of photography Erik Põllumaa, production designer Matis Mäesalu, and screenwriters Janno Jürgens and Anti Naulainen. The main roles

are played by Indrek Ojari, Rein Oja, Marcus Borkmann and Magdalena Popławska. The film is produced by Kristjan Pütsep, who is also making his debut feature as producer. The film will premiere in autumn 2019.

Kristjan, what is the central message in Rain for you? The film is very interesting for me because it goes in-depth into themes that Janno and I have worked with in our previous short films. But the short format didn’t allow us to go far enough. In a way, Rain is a summary of all those previous films as it talks about how people grow up to be who they

are, how much their environment affects them and how, in the end, we all have to find our own paths.

How was the shooting period? What was harder than you expected? The film takes place through four seasons. That was a challenge because it meant we had to break the shoot up into different periods that spread out over more than a year. So, in the end, we had most of Estonia’s technical workers on our crew at one time or another. But we were fortunate because we finally had a real winter with thick snow and very cold temperatures, which looks great on screen.

Rain is also the debut film for the director Janno Jürgens. How is it to work together? We have been making short films together for the last ten years so we know each other already. Nevertheless, this long process has allowed us to discover a lot of new things about one another. And our cooperation is far from over – now that we have filmed all of the material, we have to make it into a film that reflects what we imagined at the beginning. EF





Funeral Diaries

To Share or Not to Share

Estonian Docs

Premiered at DocPoint The end of January marked the tenth anniversary for the documentary film festival DocPoint in Tallinn. Throughout the years, the festival has brought the world’s freshest and most influential documentary films to the cinemas while also becoming an important platform and showcase for new Estonian documentaries. By Filipp Kruusvall


he DocPoint opening film this year was also the premiere of the Estonian documentary Funeral Diaries by Marko Raat. Marko Raat started his creative work in the 1990s in Estonia as one of the most interesting filmmakers of the new generation. He has directed feature films, short films, made video art, directed for the theatre as well as his many exception-



al documentary films. Funeral Diaries is his second film focusing on the Estonian community in Canada. In 2015, he finished Fast Eddy’s Old News, a film about an aging news operator who became famous for always arriving at crime scenes before the police or CBC crime reporters made it. Fast Eddy’s large archive seemed to be losing importance until Raat used it to build a unique, visual world in a layered story.

Funeral Diaries saw its premiere at the 2019 DocPoint and tells the story of three pastors working in churches with Estonian congregations in Toronto. But the lives of the once large and vibrant congregations have changed and their wedding and funeral traditions are changing with them. The older the members of the congregation get, the more funerals there are, and many a diminished congregation is starting to wonder if they shouldn’t sell their church to real estate developers. Raat has followed his characters over several years and the long term study has been worth it. The pastors who are normally used to looking reserved and hiding behind their roles open up in a human and deep way in the film. It’s almost surprising how simple and vulnerable these men are in their solitude and the complicated relationships with their community and family, in their avoidance of sin and search for love and, finally, in the helplessness they feel when their own loved ones are hit with illness or death. Marko Raat’s directorial

Kitchen Triptych

The Wind Sculpted Land

Estonian documentaries had a record-breaking year in 2018 with 65,000 cinema admissions.


hand is brave as he dares to tackle serious, existential questions and topics of death and aging in our current “forever young” society. This year’s DocPoint focus on Marko Raat went farther by also screening his 2018 documentary Kitchen Triptych, which uses a formally interesting style to tell the story of a day in the kitchens of four top restaurants in Estonia. The film peeks inside the kitchens to show the invisible passion and stressful machinery with which six top chefs put their team to work in the form of a triptych on the screen. The second full-length Estonian documentary premiere at DocPoint was To Share or Not to Share, Minna Hint and Meelis Muhu’s film about an idealist called Mark who came to Estonia to build a money­ -free society where everyone

Ahto: Chasing a Dream

shares everything. He gathers a small community of followers and starts working on realising his impossible mission. In exchange for a place to stay the night or a bite to eat, Mark offers the gratitude of giving or tantra and therapy sessions. But at some point, his altruistic model of sharing gets hung up on more and more problems to the point where his former successful squash trainer’s true nature starts to reveal itself. DocPoint’s 2018 opening film was Kiur Aarma and Raimo Jõerand’s Rodeo, which has later been very successful in Estonia and abroad. Rodeo was also the opening film at the Helsinki DocPoint festival and screened in Toronto at HotDocs, in Krakow, Reykjavik and on Finnish television. The film also did well in Estonian cinemas. This frank and self-ironic story of the young idealists who formed the Esto-

Everyday Mysticism

nian government in the 1990s through progressive reforms was a powerful opening number for a year of documentaries. Estonian documentaries had a record-breaking year in 2018 with 65,000 cinema admissions. Looking back, we can see the prominence of portrait documentaries in these results. The beginning of the year saw Jaanis Valk’s film about the legendary Estonian seafarer Ahto Valter, who holds the record for fastest to sail across the Atlantic. Ahto. Chasing a Dream had almost seven thousand domestic admissions and was also successful at festivals. The same can be said for Vello Salo. Everyday Mysticism, a film about a charismatic clergyman with an interesting story. Director Jaan Tootsen’s film is a very human, highpaced and captivating portrait. Also, two documentary films were made in the framework of the Estonia 100 anniversary program. Joosep Matjus’s documentary The Wind Sculpted Land set a milestone for Estonian documentaries with a record-breaking 40,000 cinema admissions. And Roots was a compilation documentary of six very personal and touching stories made by female directors that was also well received by the audience in Estonia and abroad. EF ESTONIAN FILM





Music & Emotions In 2018, Sten Sheripov wrote the music for the TV series The Bank, the Estonian Oscar submission drama Take It or Leave It, and the family film Phantom Owl Forest. By Tõnis Kahu Photos by Ingrid Kerson and Anu Hammer First published in Eesti Ekspress


he day after we talked, he had plans to meet Danish documentary filmmaker Carl Olsson to start working on his new project. From what I can understand, this kind of regime works for him. And it’s good that it keeps going so that he feels better and better as he creates film music. He “can’t allow himself to stand still, let alone allowing something to slip”. Do you think that there is a certain conflict inherent in the idea of creating music for a film – you are working in the service of someone else’s ideas. Many composers find it hard to take such a limited role seriously.

I like it. It makes the work more interesting for me. Just being part of something bigger. I’m not just creating a three-minute song with a verse and a chorus. In film music, I am working with so much more material. There are characters, a narrative and dozens of other aspects. In addition to all that, we might find ourselves discussing whether the film even needs music at all. For exam-

ple, Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo made her film Take It or Leave It in a documentary, very realistic style. So there was a chance we would see the name of the composer in the credits but the film would have no music at all. Finally, Liina concluded that some parts of the film needed my input. So you could say that when you are creating music for a film, you aren’t just dealing with music but also with more substantive, conceptual issues. I guess the heart of the conflict might be the composer’s wish to control the emotional effect of every detail of his music.

I actually do know people who have stopped composing for films because they can’t handle the stress, the fact that you create something and it doesn’t get used. Many people find that unacceptable. A few years ago, I took part in a European Film Academy master class in Berlin and they explained that the “formula” for an effective artist is made up of three things. First of all, the creative work, of course. Secondly, they are so-to-say dorks – they love every subtlety of their

working environment and the tools they use. And, third of all, you have to be a good politician. You have to be able to interact with people and be open to compromise. There are a lot of great composers who can’t do that third part and that’s why they don’t work on films. Your latest music was made for the TV series The Bank. Was that special in any way?

Yes, first of all, because of the length. There are ten one-hour episodes, which is about five or six films’ worth music, so it was a colossal amount of work. Second, the series had four directors who all had their own personal wishes regarding the music. Some sort of common line had to run through the soundscape, of course, but I had to account for their different tastes. One of them might have really liked some snippet of music that another one didn’t want at all. That’s where the compromise comes in. What is most important to you when it comes to film music?

I’m most interested in the underESTONIAN FILM



scoring - the music that plays underneath a scene or dialogue. That’s the place where I can really affect the film, in an exaggerated sense, to almost redirect the scene as a composer. You can make a scene start a little later than it actually does. Or a little earlier. You can make a scene shorter or longer using the music. You can change the focus of certain parts of the acting for the viewer. The way you exit a scene and enter another one or finish a certain thought on screen is very important; so my job is the same as anyone else involved with a film – to keep the viewers in the film and not let them slip out of it.



Is there an impulse as a musician that keeps imposing on your creative work against your will – some emotional tone, for example?

Yeah, there are some. But films all are different and something that’s bad for one might be good for another. So there’s no one answer to this question. I usually start with how the actors play their roles. I look into their eyes and get an idea of what I need to do. And the rest starts to unravel from that. A lot depends on the genre. Estonia is different anyway. Why don’t we have composers like John Williams? Because we just don’t have films like Star Wars. Our films are generally dramas or comedies.

My job is to keep viewers in the film and not let them slip out of it. But people still probably recognize you because of a certain emotional style?

I guess that might come up with a sad scene in a film. I just really love sad music. I know that I make a lot of it, maybe even too much. Director Zaza Urushadze and I made the film The Confession together. He’s Georgian and

Take It or Leave It

The Bank

Phantom Owl Forest

The Confession


my grandfather was Chechen and we talked about how much we both like sad music. You’re also known as a music producer. But you’ve gravitated towards film music and away from pop music – is that because you got bored with pop?

I suppose some of my illusions about pop music did go away with time. I think of working as a producer like a corridor that you go down to arrive at a result. And if you want your song to be successful with the public, then, let’s be honest, that corridor is very narrow! You hope you’ll get lost in some side room and still reach the end but no… The doors get locked

Sten Sheripov created original music for two features and a 10-series TV series in 2018.

In 2018, Sten Sheripov wrote and recorded the music for two films and a TV series – the feature Take It or Leave It (directed by Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo), Phantom Owl Forest (directed by Anu Aun) and the TV-series The Bank (directed by Jan Erik Nõgisto, Rainer Sarnet, Juhan Ulfsak and Marianne Kõrver). They are all part of the Estonia 100 program. He previously wrote the music for films like The Man Who Looks Like Me (2017, directed by Andres Maimik

and Katrin Maimik), The Confession (2017, directed by Zaza Urushadze), The Polar Boy (2016, directed by Anu Aun) and the Laotian-Estonian-French-Slovak co-production film Dearest Sister (2016, directed by Mattie Do). His filmography as a composer also includes Cherry Tobacco (2014), Farts of Fury (2011), 186 Kilometres (2007), and several short and documentary films (including for the Finnish broadcaster YLE) and TV series.

and you’re left where you are. Of course there are producers in pop music who build up their own rooms, but there are very few of them.

magic in a way. You started as an errand boy in a studio and, if you had talent, they might let you near some of the buttons. And maybe five or ten years later, you started doing something yourself.

You once mentioned a thought by composer Hans Zimmer to me – maybe the most interesting music in the world right now is being made by a 16-year-old boy in a basement with a laptop. If that’s true, then maybe we need to rethink the whole basis of producing music?

When it comes to producing, the field is completely demystified by now. A producer no longer has the status that, say, Phil Spector or Quincy Jones had. And actually, all the directions right down to the details are up on Youtube now anyway. Producing used to be like

So does that mean that everything that Spector of Jones or others created in their studios is basically now understood and repeatable? Or are there some secrets still left?

Unfortunately, I’d say that if you really want to do something and your budget is big enough, then it’s possible to copy practically anything. But if we take Jeff Lynne’s production, for example, then I listen to his work out of professional curiosity and try to understand how he does it. And I still haven’t gotten very far with figuring that out. EF ESTONIAN FILM


EVENT PÖFF 2018 opening ceremony

PÖFF Cinematic The 22nd Black Nights concluded successfully, reaching a global potential audience of about 1.5 million people and attendance of over 80 000 people. The festival managed to stage one of its richest programmes to date, screening films from 80 countries and hosting, together with the industry platform Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, nearly 1200 guests from 69 countries.


By Hannes Aava Photo by Ahto Sooaru

t would be an almost impossible task to write about all the great 268 feature films and 231 short films and animations screened at PÖFF 22, however there are several noteworthy aspects that have emerged when we look back at the two biggest competition programmes of the festival, namely the Official Selection and First Feature Competition. The first is the fact that the number of oven-fresh Nordic films in both programmes is on the rise and included two films from the region.



The lineup of the Official Selection covered, for the first time in the festival’s history, all five continents (except the Arctic), including films from countries such as Albania, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. This underlines the festival’s agenda to put extra effort into supporting films and filmmakers from regions slightly off the beaten track in the global industry. The Grand Prix went to the Colombia-French co-production Wandering Girl, a poetic coming of age road movie by Ruben Mendoza, re-enforcing how Latin films are warmly received by

the festival’s juries, critics and the audience. Korean director YANG Woo-jin won the award for Best Director for Winter’s Night (the film also won the best actress award for SEO Young-hwa), marking the second year win in a row for a Korean director. The film, also a critical success at the festival, received good reviews in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Screen International and The Film Stage, and has now proceeded to Rotterdam IFF. The rare example of an Iranian gangster drama, Sheeple, won the Best Actor


award for its star Navid Mohammad Zadeh (shared with Denmark’s Dar Salim for his role in Until We Fall), and proceeded to the Fajir Film Festival, where it won four Golden Simorghs, the highest accolade in the Iranian film industry. In the First Feature Competition, the best film award (alongside the FIPRESCI award) went to French director Margaux Bonhomme’s drama Head Above Water, with spectacular performances from lead actors Diane Rouxel, Cedric Kahn and Jeanne Cohendy. A story about a teenager coming of age while living with a mentally disabled sister, Cineuropa’s reviewer Fabien Lemercier writes “... a courageous first feature that directly approaches disability with great accuracy (social outlook, daily organisation, crucial choices, etc.) without tipping into a melodramatic tearjerker, managing instead, to distil a tender modesty.”

Another instant success story was The Song of the Tree, a rare example of a Kyrgyz musical set in a historic context infused with local folklore and warmly received by the audience and critics in Tallinn. The film was picked up by the distribution company Melograno films who took the film to the Palm Springs Film Festival, where it similarly captured the hearts of the audience and made it to the headlines via NBC. INDUSTRY@TALLINN & BALTIC EVENT’S INITIATIVES TAKING FLIGHT

2018 marked a turning point for several of the new initiatives launched at the Black Nights affiliated industry platform during recent years. The scriptwriting competition Script Pool Tallinn and Works In Progress showcases saw a rise in submissions and industry interest, while the Black Nights Stars, the young actors showcase, running for a second

year in a row, introduced five emerging acting talents from the Baltic Sea region and held a panel that featured renowned industry players like the casting directors Jeremy Zimmermann, Georg Georgi (Das Imperium Talent Agency), Anastasia Smerkalova (art project Dau), producer Joseph White (Marvel Television) and others. Hopes are high for the upcoming months as most of last year’s participants were selected by several agencies that discovered them in Tallinn. And similarly, the Black Nights Catwalk, a platform seeking to build ties between the international film and the Estonian fashion industries, culminated in a panel discussion and a young fashion designers show inspired by well-known films, held in Estonia’s biggest techno club Hall. The seventh edition of Music Meets Film marked a qualitative leap, with a




Photo by Erlend Štaub

Industry@Tallinn and Baltic Event winners 2018.

series of talks, masterclasses, tours and a film screening curated by music editor and producer Michael Pärt, who, among other things organised a highly popular visit to the spectacular new Arvo Pärt centre dedicated to his father - the most performed living composer on the planet. The already successful programme, a homage to the cooperation between the director, composer and editor, had an elevating finale when the keynote speaker Mike Newell (director of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter: the Goblet of Fire) held a unplanned lecture to 42 students of the Baltic Film and Media School. GENDER PARITY UNDER DISCUSSION

Unsurprisingly, as with most other European A-category festivals in the circuit, PÖFF did not go untouched by discussions surrounding gender parity in the film industry. Among the plethora of interesting panels that took place, 50/50 by 2020 the Way to Go? - An Autopsy of the Situation of Women in the Baltic Film Industry studied the cases of Baltic countries while also offering comparative insights into countries like Sweden, Germany and Japan. The information that emerged might come as surprise to many however, as it turns out that female representation in the Estonian film industry, a country that hasn’t seen any significant campaigns dealing with the matter, might be currently higher than in countries that have been more vocal and politically active on the topic. A



Photo by Sanne De Wilde, Noor Images

Actress Lina Sanchez accepting Grand Prix from Jury President Andrea Pallaoro and festival director Tiina Lokk

Gender quotas should not be artificially implemented in the programming policies of festivals, but more effort should be made in the earlier stages. common position that seemed to be emerging from most of the panelists, both male and female, was that gender quotas should not be artificially implemented in the programming policies of festivals, but more effort should be made in the earlier stages, such as education and production to have more female out-

put overall. Estonia’s Gender Equality commissioner Liisa Pakosta put it aptly saying that rather than quotas, a discriminative way of making policies, we need to talk about the conditions that social and organisational structures provide for filmmakers of different genders. EF

Photo by Kristjan Mõru


A Hard Day’s Night Sandra Gets a Job brings a tragicomic job search to the screen. By Maria Ulfsak


hot between spring and early summer 2018, the feature film Sandra Gets a Job is now in the editing phase. The psychological drama with comic elements will reach screens in the autumn of next year and is Kaupo Kruusiauk’s debut as a feature director and screenwriter. The main character in Sandra Gets a Job, played by Mari Abel (Pretenders, November), is physics PhD Sandra Mets, who loses her job. The film looks at one’s identity as you are put to the test in an endless string of job interviews that force Screenwriter and director Kaupo Kruusiauk (above). The crew on the set of Sanda Gets a Job (on the left).

you to face power plays, hypocrisy, and constantly having to adapt. According to producer Anneli Ahven, Kruusiauk focuses on a theme that is more and more relevant these days – even if we are very good at something and have specialized in it, how many jobs that fit our qualifications are really out there? “Kruusiauk looks at what happens when physicist and PhD Sandra loses her job in a research group – what opportunities can the Employment Bureau offer her? How can she take a different approach to herself and the options out there for her? The director is very detailed and witty in his exami­nation of our identity. He is also as equally demanding of the actors as he is of the visual language of the film. Kaupo achieved a very close relationship with Mari Abel, who plays the lead, with whom he has also worked in the theatre before,” Ahven added. In addition to Mari Abel, the film stars Kaie Mihkelson, Henrik Kalmet, Hendrik Toompere, Hendrik Toompere Jr. and other Estonian actors. The cinematographer of Sandra Gets a Job is Sten-Johan Lill (The Days That Confused) and the production designer is Tiiu-Ann Pello (Demons). The film will premiere in the second half of 2019. EF



Photos by Eliis Õitspuu


Class Reunion 3:

The final film in the hit trilogy, Class Reunion 3: Godfathers premiered in Estonia at the end of January 2019. By Maria Ulfsak


he first Class Reunion, a film based on the Danish hit by the same name, broke box office records in Estonia with almost 190,000 admissions. The first sequel, Class Reunion 2: A Wedding and a Funeral, had 146 000 admissions. The producer Kristian Taska from Taska Film commented to Estonian Film: “It has been a fun journey. With the third film we have reached the peak of our abilities in popular comedy. I will take a pause in that genre, now. Let’s take some time and see if someone surpasses us”. The Estonian distributor Siim Rohtla from company Vaata Filmi said: “I can honestly say we have been pushing the borders of the local distribution market, especially regarding marketing and PR of local films in Estonia. The trust we have between the producers and our marketing team has really allowed us to think outside the box with most of our activities. Fortunately the results so far have spoken for themselves, as the first and second film in the




trilogy are still the most successful Estonian films of all time”. The film is about three best friends – Mart, Andres and Toomas. When viewers last saw the trio, it seemed as though all their problems had been solved – Toomas got married, Mart found his way back to his wife’s loving arms and Andres finally got a potential date. But now everything has changed. At the beginning of this final chapter of the story, Andres has been dogged by the misfortune. Starting with his ex-wife Anne’s annoyingly idyllic family life with a handsome wealthy husband and new-born baby, and ending with an unexpected obligation to take care of his disabled father. Why are other people living their best lives just when you are at your worst? When Anne proposes that Andres becomes her new-born baby’s godfather, the man decides that he needs to find the most beautiful woman to accompany him at the event. To find this perfect woman at the last minute, the three friends

Ago Anderson plays the central character Andres in all the Estonian adaptions of the Class Reunion trilogy.

decide to head to tantra camp. Accompanied by high hopes and his wheelchair-bound father, Andres embarks on a wild journey with Toomas and Mart through the hot Estonian summer. In addition to the leading actors Mait Malmsten, Henry “Genka” Kõrvits and Ago Anderson, numerous other Estonian stars appear in the final film of the trilogy. The script originates from Denmark. The Estonian adaptation is written by scriptwriter Martin Algus and the director of the film is René Vilbre. EF

Statistics 2018

2018 CINEMA TOP 10 English title

Class Reunion 2: A Wedding and a Funeral

2018 ESTONIAN FILMS TOP 10 English title



Class Reunion 2

146 501


Phantom Owl Forest

125 087


The Little Comrade

116 744


The Fourth Sister. Under the Clouds

66 567


Take It of Leave It

58 296


The Wind Sculpted Land






Green Cats



Deserved Happiness


The Riddle of Jaan Niemand





1 Class Reunion 2

146 501

858 992


2 Bohemian Rhapsody

135 250

883 097


3 Phantom Owl Forest

125 087



4 The Little Comrade

116 744

563 721


5 Incredibles 2

107 545

551 579


6 The Grinch

89 687

473 849


7 Hotel Transylvania 3

86 619

419 120


8 Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

79 171

456 671


9 Fifty Shades Freed

67 136

411 264


66 567

348 701




CINEMA ADMISSIONS Foreign Films Estonian Films

2 982 647

The Fourth Sister. Under the Clouds

Phantom Owl Forest

The Little Comrade


3 228 511 2 943 714 2 742 646

Europe Estonia

2,6 7,4 67,5



122 938







5,37 5











350 635 347 036 282 421




648 665


5,53 4,9

2 447 054

2014 2015


2014 2015



2014 2015







An Empathic Portrait


Single Father Estonian Official Submission for the Academy Award





Take It or Leave It By Mari Laaniste First published in Eesti Ekspress



In some ways, Take It or Leave It was a winner before even it reached cinemas: there are few Estonian films that can be so easily summed up with a slogan. Nevertheless, Take It or Leave It doesn’t fit into conventional male-female categories.


his film is somewhere in the middle: it observes a man who ends up in a role generally more familiar to women – that of a single parent. The main character, Erik (Reimo Sagor), is a stereotypical, “average” Estonian guy. He is uncomplicated, says little, lumbers through slushy Finland for his job as a construction worker and watches sports on TV to unwind (any sport will do, it seems). He drinks, sometimes fights, and hides resources like a conscience somewhere deep inside. When his

Ink Big! The critics have done their job

ex-girlfriend, Moonika (Liis Lass), reappears out of nowhere with the revelation that she just gave birth to their daughter, it turns out that Erik is relatively open to the idea of pulling himself together and becoming a father – assuming and hoping that Moonika wants to become a parent as well. When this turns out not to be the case, things start to go downhill. To be totally honest, it doesn’t seem like this unexpected responsibility throws any of Erik’s plans awry – he doesn’t really seem to have any plans to begin with – but his everyday routine is definitely broken.

Reimo Sagor is well calibrated to the role of this ambivalent main character.

The film is a feature film debut for screenwriter and director Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, who has made waves as a documentary filmmaker. Take It or Leave It also seems to reveal hints of her documentary background at times: the environments we see on screen feel very naturalist, emotions aren’t artificially blown up and the musical design supports the general approach. The film observes the main character’s uncertain progress with empathy but avoids sentimentality: even when showing ineptitude, messed up relationships and vari-

ous forms of shabby lives, the director seems to sense the fine line between prosaic and social pornography, and doesn’t once slip to the wrong side. The script holds a neutral position without heroizing or casting blame. Reimo Sagor is well calibrated to the role of this ambivalent main character. Erik manages as best he can and sometimes it turns out that he can’t. But life goes on and his goal is more or less honorable. Liis Lass as the fragile Moonika is a good contrast to him as she adds nuance and sincerity to the thankless role of a mother who aban-

Central characters from Liina TrishkinaVanhatalo’s debut feature Take It or Leave It.

dons her child. A slew of other familiar faces fill out the cast in roles that are well performed and clearly enjoyed. These add spice, sometimes even a bit of (tragi)comedy, to the events – things that are missing from the main narrative. (In general, it’s good to see so many actors becoming more and more

experienced in front of the lens – it seems like a certain threshold has been crossed in our local industry). The changing backdrop also sways along noticeably well: from the landscapes of construction sites to the lush but foreign suburb yards, temporary apartments, hospital wards, offices and hallways – they all amplify the main character’s loneliness and uncertainty. Even though the film seems to drag and feel a little sparse about three-quarters of the way in, and you can’t tell if there was too little or too much cut out in the editing, the advertising has not betrayed the twists and turns in the film and the tension returns for the finale. It is thus possible to regard this film as an overwhelming success. EF ESTONIAN FILM




A Dark Crime Story The Estonian-Icelandic-Norwegian crime thriller Mihkel shows Estonian actors side-by-side with Icelandic ones – Pääru Oja and Kaspar Velberg from Estonia share the screen with one of Iceland’s most well-known actors, Tómas Lemarquis, as well as Atli Rafn Sigurðsson.


he film was directed and written by writer-director Ari Alexander Magnússon. It is based on a true story that took place in 2004 to some Lithuanians in Iceland but is given an Estonian context. Mihkel starts in the crumbling Soviet Union where little Veera, Mihkel and Igor live in sepia-toned Narva with their parents. The friendship still lasts years later, but the border city hasn’t blossomed in spite



Ink Big! The critics have done their job

of Estonia’s renewed independence. Igor (Kaspar Velberg) has traveled to Iceland and Mihkel (Pääru Oja) and Veera (Maiken Schmidt) dream of a better life in Tallinn. At the request of his good friend Igor, and in the name of making big money, Mihkel agrees to take a suitcase to Tallinn. But his trip turns into something much bigger and more dangerous. Mihkel seems simple but he asks a lot of questions and soon finds himself on the way to Iceland with

Mihkel By Katariina Rebane First published in Eesti Päevaleht

drugs in his stomach and dollar signs in his eyes. He sees it as a fun trip full of bars that will end with a pile of cash when the drugs “leave his system”. But things don’t turn out so easy. Mostly filmed and set in Iceland, the story is also about a per-

son’s wishes growing too big, the dreams and desires that may lead them to idiotic acts. The restoration of Estonia’s independence made people hungry for money, and the anti-Russian themes from Narva, located in Eastern Estonia (“a Russkie will always be a Russkie” or “an empty Narva is better than one full of Russians”), add weight and context to the story. Everyone hoped to have their own luxury apartments and all the Western things they lacked in the Soviet era. But that’s not exactly what they got. And they still don’t. We jump to the year 2004 with Mihkel working on cars in a garage in Narva. He might have done better staying in that garage, fixing those cars. This film is about things going very, very wrong. Fast cash and big risks aren’t worth it. But, fortunately, the film doesn’t moralize, skillfully showing the illusion of equal opportunity instead. The hardest part of a film where you know how the tragedy will end is keeping the story interesting and captivating. In Mihkel, this is achieved through the differ-

ent characters, their psychological portraits and personal struggles. The film doesn’t paint the characters in black and white, it doesn’t excuse them or condemn them. We just see the tragedy unfold through a series of stupid decisions that result from greed and fear of getting caught, while the characters remain human and realistic. Even the story of the worst bad guy in the film, Jóhann (Atli Rafn Sigurðsson), is layered. We see the pressure he has to endure – to be better, to win

Mihkel is an EstonianIcelandicNorwegian crime thriller written and directed by Ari Alexander Magnússon.

four of them work well together, as do the dynamics of the two pairs of friends (the Estonians and the Icelanders). Mihkel is the naïve one in the bunch, but fortunately he’s not too simple-minded. There’s an ambivalence to Igor’s character that works very nicely. He strikes you as someone who truly cares about his childhood friend, who was like a brother to him, and yet he doesn’t think twice before jamming a knife into his friend’s stomach. They’re constantly walking the line between friendship and exploitation. But I’d particularly like to highlight the character of Bóbó and Tómas Lemarquis’s realistic portrayal of him, as well as the convincing relationship between an addict father and his daughter. There are uneven parts to the film: some of the dialogue feels forced and the tempo is too slow at times – the viewer knows what they’ll do and what’s going to happen, but it takes too long to actually happen. And, yes, the Icelandic landscapes are mesmerizing, as is the Icelandic music, but, in the end,

The film doesn’t paint the characters in black and white, it doesn’t excuse them or condemn them. his father-in-law’s approval, to belong to the ranks of the rich. The film may be titled Mihkel, but it tells the different stories of four men. They all carry their own burdens, have their own worries and ambitions, and their stories play out in their own ways. The

we want to watch the story unfold without getting kicked out of it, as the slowness of the developments sometimes tends to do. But the film works as a whole and, at the same time, we know that Icelanders (just like Estonians) don’t like to rush things. EF ESTONIAN FILM



A Super-Hero

in a Small Package Paul Emmet writes about the new Estonian Christmas film Phantom Owl Forest by Anu Aun.


ia is a young girl who likes to draw animals, her parents are urban professionals straining under modern life, their marriage faltering and with barely enough time for their talented child. With Christmas approaching, a sudden mishap results in Eia been shipped off to her estranged Grandfather’s house, Phantom Owl Farm. There Eia connects with nature and meets a family she has never known. Beautifully shot in the Estonian countryside, the wonders of the woodlands are never more than a few scenes away, and Eia becomes immersed in a forest drama where an unscrupulous neighbour wants to



Ink Big! The critics have done their job

chop down the forest, played in pantomime villain style by a paunchy absurdly whiskered Juhan Ulfsak, who plays a character named Raivo. “Why do you feed these rodents” he sneers at Eia feeding a squirrel in his first scene: “they’re just rats with fluffy tails”. It’s a race against time to save the woodlands and the home of the animals. This is a movie for the entire family, a tribute to community spirit and harmony with the natural world, a counter balance to the attention Eia misses from her parents. On one level this is a simple tale of determination and independence for young girls yet recognizing the essential need to belong. The world view through a ten-year-old girl’s eyes is wonderfully done as she catches snatches of arguments between her parents and snippets of conversations about a family history





Phantom Owl Forest By Paul Emmet First published in Sirp

tured in their natural habitat and their habits and habitats are explained within the plot-line in an interesting and easy way for children and adults to relate to. If nature as a most precious and sustaining gift doesn’t sway you, there is growing evidence that people need the forests increasingly to heal the growing divide. Yet it is impossible to ignore the real life story of deforestation, with the wider scope of recent elections in Brazil and the opening up of the Amazon for logging reflecting a similar story with Estonian forests and the bankability and value of timber versus a deeper understanding of the values and essence of harmony and balance which runs through this film. As a potential solution to the

of which she is ignorant. And also, when Eia is alone in the wildlife that she loves to draw, young actress Paula Rits wide-eyed wonder transports you, and an unlikely super-hero for a delicate ecosystem becomes deeply embedded in the viewer. This timely Christmas movie, prettily packed and brimming full of goodness, will warm the most cynical hearts and swell your bosom with joy at the untouched nature and magical landscape that comprises Estonia. There is something for everyone here, and this is a world where conservatives can be environmentalists. The wit and passion as a small girl deals with the complex matters of adult rela-

tionships, her parents’ marriage disintegrates and she unpacks the mystery of her grandfather’s absence from her father’s life. Scenes are moving and well played by a fine repertoire of Estonian actors. The grandfather (Jaan Rekkor) is especially delicate, his sad eyes and body language as he conveys the loss of a son and the rediscovered gift of a grand-daughter is especially touching. The element of time running out is skillfully handled, with a subplot involving a suitor for Eia’s aunt paralysed by inaction with the appearance of a rival. However, the real star of Phantom Owl Forest is the Estonian forest, the otters, elk, deer and great gray owl are cap-

Phantom Owl Forest gathered almost 150 000 admissions in Estonian cinemas.

forest being cut down in the film, one of the neighbours tries to buy back the forest from Raivo and is asked to pay three times the price of the land, the price which the timber can fetch. When Eia first arrives in the countryside the twins Moorits and Laurits (played by twins Priit and Märt Pius are preparing a family meal, her alienation from eating together as a group prompts a remark about how it seems like a special occasion to her, and reflects on the notion of family and eating as a group, something traditionally shared from our caveman days but now sadly missing. Today, perhaps since the 1950s, the notions of family have been hijacked by conservatives, fundamental Christians and the far right, wielded as a justification for reactionary beliefs and measures, stoking peoESTONIAN FILM


REVIEW When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realize, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money. (Obamosawin, Abenaki Indian) ple’s primitive fears and insecurities, chasing a warm fuzzy dream of belonging and security. But what about conservatives and the conservation of nature, the bedrock, the foundation of “family values”. In combination, there has been a relentless war on wildlife, native forest and natural habitats with the justification that GDP, home ownership and the sanctity of marriage are the cornerstones of western civilisation. The dominant narrative is that nature is viewed as hostile, something to be conquered and profited from and turned into goods. As Renton quotes the poet John Hodge in Trainspotting “Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers.” Today this seems to be conservative values being defended, but the dialogue about the natural world is missing. And here this film is a potential bridge to traditional conservatives. What About the Forests?

The clearcutting of Estonian forests has scarcely raised an eyebrow in the corridors of power, yet concerned citizens are rallying and with this movie they have found a powerful advocate and heartfelt story about the miracle of Estonian nature, the humanity of its population and the enduring connection and symbiotic relationship between man and nature which makes Estonia such a wonderful country and people to experience. In recent years, forest felling has dramatically increased in Estonia. Currently there The Peo-



ple’s Initiative (EMA) has gathered the thousands of signatures necessary to raise the issue of clearcut logging in Estonia in the parliament. Clearcut logging damages the forest health. Extensive logging kills animal and bird habitats in addition to trees, reducing biodiversity and breaking the landscape’s integrity. Logging violates people’s lives, removes places people go to unwind, pick mushrooms and berries, release the tensions that build up in their hurly burly lives. Extensive removal of trees can have an impact on the value of real estate as well as the quality of

Scenes from Phantom Owl Forest, written and directed by Anu Aun.

well water, with wind and noise increasing in intensity. This sweet littlew film sensitively and skillfully addresses some of these issues in a simple story about a little girl, and simultaneously opens our eyes to the nature around us and the forces which are reducing one of the most valuable resource we have in sustaining life on this earth. Activism does not have to be played out on the global stage, often the best place to start is the place you call home and with the people you call family. I truly hope this movie goes global, as a great advertisement for winter tourism in Estonia, and advocacy of nature conservation and call to conservatives to protect the dwindling wildlife which is at the heart of family values where we find our strength, relax and sense of community. If the newly elected president of Brazil or Donald Trump were to see this film with their young grand-daughters, how would they respond to their wide eyed questions about what’s happening to the “home of the animals”? EF


Captain Morten and the Spider Queen

The Man Who Surprised Everyone



Berlin Critics’ Week Scary Mother (DE/EE) Director: Ana Urushadze Official Selection

The Man Who Surprised Everyone (RU/EE/FR) Directors: Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov Orizzonti Award - Best Actress

Busan International Film Festival The Little Comrade (EE) Director: Moonika Siimets Flash Forward Award - BNK Busan Bank Award

Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival Manivald (EE/HR/CA) Director: Chintis Lundgren Competition

Mary and 7 Dwarfs

SXSW Film Festival Constructing Albert (ES/EE) Directors: Laura Collado, Jim Loomis Festival Favourites

Mary and 7 Dwarfs (EE) Director: Riho Unt Short Film Competition

Manivald (EE/HR/CA) Director: Chintis Lundgren Animated Shorts Competition


Annecy International Animation Film Festival Captain Morten and the Spider Queen (EE/IE/BE/GB) Director: Kaspar Jancis Feature Films out of Competition

Three August Days (EE/USA) Director: Madli Lääne SXSW Community Screenings

Hot Docs Rodeo. Taming a Wild Country (EE) Directors: Raimo Jõerand, Kiur Aarma The Changing Face of Europe

Animafest Zagreb Captain Morten and the Spider Queen (EE/IE/BE/GB) Director: Kaspar Jancis Grand Feature Film Competition

Venice International Film Festival

Mary and 7 Dwarfs (EE) Director: Riho Unt Short Film Competition

Shanghai International Film Festival The Man Slayer / The Virgin / The Shadow (EE/LT) Director: Sulev Keedus Belt and Road Film Week

Moscow International Film Festival The Little Comrade

Pretenders (EE/LV/LT) Director: Vallo Toomla The Baltic Films Throughout a Century

The Man Who Surprised Everyone (RU/EE/FR) Directors: Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov Flash Forward Mihkel (IS/EE/NO) Director: Ari Alexander Magnússon World Cinema

Warsaw International Film Festival Take It or Leave It (EE) Director: Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo Competition 1-2 Mihkel (IS/EE/NO) Director: Ari Alexander Magnússon Competition 1-2

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam How Big is the Galaxy (RU/EE) Director: Ksenia Elyan Luminous

Karlovy Vary Inter­national Film Festival Bridges of Time (LV/LT/EE) Directors: Audrius Stonys, Kristine Briede Documentary Films - Competition ESTONIAN FILM




Lotte and the Lost Dragons


n the third film of the Lotte film series that children know and love, the spirited girl dog Lotte gets a little sister named Roosi. Karl the raccoon and Viktor the fish are scientists who come to Gadgetville. They are taking part in a big folk song collecting competition. Whoever succeeds in recording the folk song of the world’s oldest animal species, the mythical fire-breathing dragon, wins the competition’s grand prize. Lotte and Roosi decide to help the scientists. Exciting and unexpected adventures await the sisters.

DIRECTOR JANNO PÕLDMA has directed 11 films, which have won several awards at Zagreb, Ottawa, Seoul, Brisbane and other international animation festivals. His short animation Concert for a Carrot Pie (2003), co-directed with Heiki Ernits, was nominated for the Cartoon d’Or

in 2004. Since 2006, Janno Põldma and Heiki Ernits have been the force behind the Lotte films. Lotte from Gadgetville (2006) participated at over 35 international film festivals and has been sold to more than 55 countries. Lotte and the Moonstone Secret (2011) had similar success. Their latest is Lotte and the Lost Dragons (2019). DIRECTOR HEIKI ERNITS has worked as a photographer, art teacher, art director and animation director, designed book covers and layouts, and illustrated numerous publications. He has participated in several exhibitions of caricatures in Estonia and abroad. Heiki Ernits worked as an artist and animation director at Tallinnfilm Studio until 1994. Since then, he has worked at Eesti Joonisfilm. Heiki Ernits has directed and designed 12 animated films.

Original title: Lotte ja kadunud lohed Languages: Estonian, Russian Directors: Janno Põldma, Heiki Ernits Screenwriters: Janno Põldma, Heiki Ernits, Andrus Kivirähk Compositors: Jaagup Metsalu, Albert Kerstna, Mark Duubas, Marje-Ly Liiv, Anu Unnuk Animators: Tarmo Vaarmets, Marje Ale, Ülle Metsur,Maiken Silla, Egert Kesa, Taiga Zīle, Aleksandrs Šehovcevs, Jolanta Bīgele, Jaagup Metsalu Production Designer: Heiki Ernits Editor: Janno Põldma Composers: Sven Grünberg, Renārs Kaupers Sound: Horret Kuus Main cast: Evelin Võigemast, Helmi Tulev, Mait Malmsten, Elina Reinold, Sepo Seeman Technique: drawn animation Producer: Kalev Tamm Co-producer: Vilnis Kalnaellis Produced by: Eesti Joonisfilm (Estonia), Rija Films (Latvia) International premiere: Berlin Film Festival 2019, Generation Kplus Competition 78 min / DCP /1.85:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Eesti Joonisfilm Phone: +372 677 4228 E-mail: SALES Rija Films Vilnis Kalnaellis Phone: +371 736 2656 E-mail: vilnis.kalnaellis



Scandinavian Silence


film with three parts, two characters and one obsession: to prevent the past from taking over.

DIRECTOR MARTTI HELDE is a highly valued young author for his daring ideas and innovative approach to the form and film language. His creative handwriting is characterized by tying together complex and diverse mediums; as well as Helde’s passion to play with the dramaturgy and form. Martti finished a Bachelor’s degree in Film Directing at the Baltic Film and Media School. After film school Martti turned his interest

towards the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre to acquire a Master’s degree in Stage Directing. Helde has also refined himself in screenwriting, dramaturgy and directing actors via completing various workshops in Berlin, Ankara, Los Angeles and London. His first feature length period drama In the Crosswind (2014) received a wide resonance in international media after premiering in Toronto IFF and its theatrical release in France (ARP Selection). To this day Martti Helde’s In the Crosswind has been screened in film festivals across the globe and won numerous awards.

FILM INFO Original title: Skandinaavia vaikus Genre: drama Languages: Estonian Director: Martti Helde Screenwriters: Nathaniel Price, Martti Helde Cinematographers: Erik Põllumaa E.S.C., Sten-Johan Lill E.S.C. Production Designer: Anneli Arusaar Editor: Jaak Ollino Jr. Composer: Mick Pedaja Sound: Matis Rei Main Cast: Rea Lest, Reimo Sagor Producer: Elina Litvinova Co-producers: Laurent Petin, Michele Halbserstadt, Frederic de Goldschmidt Produced by: Three Brothers (Estonia), ARP Selection (France), Media Inter­ national (Belgium) Domestic premiere: March 2019 75 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / Dolby Digital CONTACT Three Brothers Elina Litvinova Phone: +372 5691 3377 E-mail:




Truth and Justice


stonia, 1870. A young and energetic man Andres together with his wife Krõõt arrives to his new farm bought on a loan to establish their new life. Robber’s Rise must become a place, that’ll take care of the family. The household needs a lot of work and consistency – battle with nature, fate and his spiteful neighbour Pearu begins. When life deals the man more sufferings than longawaited successes, he searches desperately for truth and justice – from court, tavern and the Bible, sacrificing his family, friends and eventually himself in the process. Dream of prosperous and nurturing Robber’s Rise descends deeper

and deeper under the shadow of reality. DIRECTOR TANEL TOOM is an Oscar-nominated director with more than a decade of directing experience. A graduate in Fiction Direction of the National Film and Television School, he has directed 10 short films and around 50 commercials. His shorts have been to over 35 international festivals and won 17 awards, including winning Best Foreign Film at the 37th Student Academy Awards for The Confession. He was also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Live Action Short category at the 83rd Academy Awards.

FILM INFO Original title: Tõde ja õigus Genre: drama Language: Estonian Director: Tanel Toom Screenwriter: Tanel Toom Cinematographer: Rein Kotov E.S.C. Production Designer: Jaagup Roomet Editor: Tambet Tasuja Composer: Mihkel Zilmer Sound: Matis Rei Main cast: Priit Loog, Priit Võigemast, Maiken Schmidt, Simeoni Sundja, Ester Kuntu Producer: Ivo Felt Co-producers: Armin Karu, Madis Tüür Produced by: Allfilm To be released: 2019 Domestic premiere: February 20, 2019 165 min / DCP / 2.39:1 /5. CONTACT Allfilm Ivo Felt Phone: +372 672 9070 E-mail:



Class Reunion 3: Godfathers


he final film in the Class Reunion trilogy takes us on another wild ride that stops at nothing and leaves no time to feel shame. The three best friends Mart, Andres and Toomas are back and as always, they offer genius solutions to their personal problems, as well as to the audience’s spare time. At the beginning of this final chapter, Andres has been dogged by great misfortune. Starting with his ex-wife Anne’s annoyingly idyllic family life with a wealthy husband and a newborn baby, ending with an unexpected obligation to take care of his disabled father. When Anne proposes­ Andres to become her newborn’s godfather, the brave man decides that he needs to find the most beautiful woman to accompany him at the event. And naturally, to find this perfect woman at the last minute, the boys decide to head to tantra camp. Accompanied by high hopes and his wheelchair-bound father, Andres embarks

on a wild journey with Toomas and Mart through the hot Estonian summer. DIRECTOR RENÉ VILBRE has directed different TV shows, commercials, documentaries, short and fiction films. Filmography: Short film Another (for ARTE, Grand Prix at the Cinessone Film Festival, France 2006), more than 10 international festivals; feature film Mat the Cat (Children & Youth Film Prize of the Nordic Film Institutes, 47. Nordische Filmtage Lübeck 2005), more than 15 international festivals; feature I Was Here, international premiere at Karlovy Vary IFF 2008 (Moscow International Festival of Detective films, Winner in category “Crime and Punishment”, The Year’s Best Film by The Cultural Endowment of Estonia, more than 15 international festivals all over the world), Kid Detectives & The Secret of the WhiteLady (2013).

FILM INFO Original title: Klassikokkutulek 3: Ristiisad Genre: comedy Language: Estonian Director: René Vilbre Screenwriters: Lars Mering, Claudia Boderke, Martin Algus Cinematographer: Mihkel Soe E.S.C. Production Designer: Anni Lindal Editor: Margo Siimon Composer: Arian Levin Sound: Horret Kuus, Henri Kuus Main cast: Mait Malmsten, Henry “Genka” Kõrvits, Ago Anderson Producer: Kristian Taska Produced by: Taska Film Domestic premiere: January 22, 2019 90 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Taska Film Kristian Taska Phone: +372 520 3000 E-mail:




Phantom Owl Forest


hildren’s adventure film Phantom Owl Forest follows a 10-year-old Eia, whose Christmas holiday is taking an unexpected turn, after being brought to a mysterious farm in rural South Estonia. She follows her heart to rescue an old primeval forest, helps two lovers to find each other, and is destined to unwrap her family’s well-kept secret. DIRECTOR ANU AUN has graduated with BA from TV Directing and completed postgraduate studies in Film Directing in the Baltic Film and Media School. Anu has produced and directed

two feature films, several short films and documentaries. Anu’s latest feature Phantom Owl Forest reached over 143 000 viewers in domestic cinemas. Her short film Shift (2010) was selected to more than 70 international film festivals and won 17 prizes from all over the world. Anu’s debut feature The Polar Boy (2016) was developed in Torino Film Lab and Nipkow Program. The film screened in Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival’s official competition, Cairo International Film Festival, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and many others. Anu is currently in production with the creative documentary Walker on Water.

FILM INFO Original title: Eia jõulud Tondikakul Genre: family, adventure Language: Estonian Director: Anu Aun Screenwriter: Anu Aun Cinematographers: Heiko Sikka E.S.C., Ants Tammik Production Designer: Matis Mäesalu Editor: Margo Siimon Composer: Sten Sheripov Sound: Horret Kuus Main cast: Paula Rits, Siim Oskar Ots, Märt Pius,Priit Pius, Priit Võigemast, Mirtel Pohla, Liis Lemsalu, Tambet Tuisk, Juhan Ulfsak, Meelis Rämmeld, Anne Reemann, Tõnu Oja Producers: Maie Rosmann-Lill, Maario Masing Produced by: Luxfilm, Kinosaurus Film World premiere: Black Nights FF 2018 90 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Kinosaurus Film Maie Rosmann-Lill Phone: +372 5615 6535 E-mail: SALES Attraction Distribution Phone: +1 51 4360 0252 E-mail:





ihkel and Igor dream of moving from their home in Estonia to the land of opportunity and justice, beautiful Iceland. However, events take an unexpected turn and Mihkel ends up being betrayed by Igor, his oldest friend. It is a story of Biblical betrayal, reenacted in a dark, real-life tragedy as Igor, a modern-day Judas, sells Mihkel out for material gain. DIRECTOR ARI ALEXANDER ERGIS MAGNÚSSON was born in Reykjavik in 1968. He studied

FILM INFO at the Sorbonne University and earned a BFA in fine arts from Parsons Paris School of Art and Design (1991-1996). Since then, his paintings, installations and video work have been shown in Scandinavia, France, England, USA, China, Argentina, Russia and Siberia. In recent years, Magnússon has focused on his documentary films - The Cultural Thriller Movie Series. His documentary Screaming Masterpiece, featuring Björk and Sigur Rós was nominated for the Nordic Council Film Prize (2005). Mihkel (2018) is his first full feature film.

Original title: Halastjarnan Genre: thriller Languages: English, Icelandic, Estonian, Russian Director: Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon Screenwriter: Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon Cinematographer: Tómas Örn Tómasson Production Designers: Atli Geir Grétarsson, Eugen Tamberg (Estonian unit) Editor: Davíd Alexander Corno Composer: Gyda Valtysdottir Sound: Øistein Boassen Main cast: Pääru Oja, Kaspar Velberg, Maiken Schmidt, Atli Rafn Sigurdarson, Tómas Lemarquis Producers: Kristinn Thórdarson, Leifur B. Dagfinnsson, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, Ari Alexander Magnusson Co-producers: Evelin Penttilä, Riina Sildos, Egil Ødegård Produced by: Truenorth (Iceland), Amrion (Estonia), Evil Doghouse Productions (Norway) World premiere: Busan IFF October 2018 Festivals: Warsaw IFF, Reykjavík IFF 96 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Amrion / Evelin Penttilä Phone:+372 5552 3500 E-mail: ESTONIAN FILM



The Riddle of Jaan Niemand


omewhere in Estonia at the beginning of the 18th century. After ten years of war, plague and famine, the land is swept clean of people. An anxious silence hangsover the land. On one particularly starry night, two peasants find a stranger on the seashore. He’s disheveled and comatose. They take him to the local manor lord and slowlybring him back to consciousness. When he opens his eyes, he realizes that he can’tremember who he is or how he got there. He’s just as much a stranger to himself as tothe people around him. By force of circumstance, he must stay at the manor and live as one of them. His preliminary state of lethargy slowly gives way to recovery. He must come to terms with the question: Who am I? He



finds himself in a bizarre world, one full of meager uncertainty and growing disorder. There are sparse hints at his past… but what do you do when there is more than one correct answer to a question? What do you do when the answers aren’t good enough? Can we choose who we are? He embarks upon a journey of self-discovery with the most unlikely of landscapes as the backdrop. DIRECTOR KAUR KOKK graduated from the Baltic Film and Media School and has been successful with his short films both in Estonia and abroad. His short Olga received the Jury Special Mention at the 2014 Clermont-Ferrand IFF. The Riddle of Jaan Niemand is his debut feature.

FILM INFO Original title: Põrgu Jaan Genre: mystery Language: Estonian Director: Kaur Kokk Screenwriter: Kaur Kokk, Anti Naulainen Cinematographer: Mart Taniel E.S.C. Production Designer: Matis Mäesalu Editors: Velasco Broca, Marion Koppel Composer: Ülo Krigul Sound: Matis Rei Main cast: Meelis Rämmeld, Andres Lepik, Pääru Oja, Peeter Volkonski, Adele Taska, Egon Nuter Producer: Katrin Kissa Produced by: Homeless Bob Production Domestic premiere: October 5, 2018 105 min / DCP / 2.39:1 / Digital SR CONTACT Homeless Bob Production Katrin Kissa Phone: +372 5667 7855 E-mail:

Take It or Leave It


ne sleepy Saturday morning a 30-year-old construction worker Erik gets some earth shattering news: his ex-girlfriend Moonika who he 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! DIRECTOR LIINA TRISHKINA-VANHATALO is an acclaimed Estonian documentalist and editor. She has been involved in filmmaking since 1999 in various roles. Take It or Leave It is her debut as a director.

FILM INFO Original title: Võta või jäta Genre: drama Language: Estonian Director: Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo Screenwriter: Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo Cinematographer: Erik Põllumaa E.S.C. Production Designers: Markku Pätila, Kirsi Lember Editor: Tambet Tasuja Composer: Sten Sheripov Sound: Seppo Vanhatalo Main cast: Reimo Sagor, Epp Eespäev, Liis Lass, Adeele Sepp, Nora Altrov Producer: Ivo Felt Produced by: Allfilm International premiere: Warsaw IFF 2018 Festivals: Palm Springs IFF, Tallinn Black Nights FF Awards: Cottbus IFF 2018 – Best Actor Award, Arras FF - Critics’ Award 102 min / 4K / 2.35:1 / 5.1 CONTACT Allfilm Ivo Felt Phone: +372 517 6393 E-mail:






tale of freedom and compassion, set in the 1980s Soviet Estonia, as experienced by a cat and recounted by its owner. Cat Teofrastus lives a homeless life at a train station. One day, he is offered a home by a family living in a nearby countryside house. However, the happy life is shortlived when the cat is taken to the big city and gets lost on the streets. Will Teofrastus find his way back to happiness? DIRECTOR SERGEI KIBUS born in 1987, is a director, animator and cinematographer. He studied Photography at Tallinn Polytechnic School, and Media and Film Directing at the Baltic Film and Media School at Baltic Film and Media School (2011). He has written and directed

FILM INFO short-fiction and drama, and worked as a cinematographer for different animation and documentary productions such as The Women of Muhu Island (2014). Since 2013, he has worked as a cinematographer in the renowned Estonian stop-motion animation studio Nukufilm, having been involved with multiple productions such as Eternal Hunting Grounds (2015) and Captain Morten and the Spider Queen (2018). He was the Director of Photography on Riho Unt’s Maria and the 7 Dwarfs (2018). Sergei’s latest documentary film Toys and Totems (2017), co-directed with Kadriann Kibus, combines visual non-fiction storytelling with stop-motion animation. In addition to directing, Sergei was the DOP and author of animations of the film.

Original title: Teofrastus Languages: Estonian, English, Russian Director: Sergei Kibus Screenwriter: Sergei Kibus, based on a children’s book by Astrid Reinla Cinematographer: Ragnar Neljandi Animators: Olga Stalev, Triin Sarapik-Kivi Production Designer: Pärtel Tall Editor: Sergei Kibus Composer: Mari Jürjens Sound: Ekke Västrik Main cast: Aleksei Turovski (narrator) Technique: stop-motion animation Producers: Kerdi Oengo, Andres Mänd Produced by: Nukufilm Domestic premiere: December 18, 2018 Tallinn 15 min / DCP / 1.85:1 / Dolby Stereo CONTACT Nukufilm Kerdi Oengo Phone: +372 516 3833, +372 615 5323 E-mail:;



Funeral Diaries


he daily bread of ministers of small congregations is not sermons in the church; it is constant work with the old and the dying. A holy man who has been removed from his friends and peers and suddenly transplanted into another culture is often lonely and broken himself. Three ministers have been invited from Estonia to serve the exile congregations in Toronto. By now, the main job of Jüri, Kalle and Mart is to bury the generation that fled Estonia in 1944. The documentary uses burials to talk about the disappearance of traditional funeral services and the profession of clergyman. The everyday life of the three protagonists tells a bigger story of church, faith and a fading émigré identity. The main

characters have a modern and bright outlook on life and while practising a past profession try to adopt to the ever-changing world where everything old and familiar slips through the fingers like handful of dust. DIRECTOR MARKO RAAT graduated film school in Tallinn. He has directed documentaries, full length features, video art works, TV productions, directed in theatre and has been involved in several art projects. Selected filmography: Agent Wild Duck (2002, feature), Knife (2007, feature), Toomik´s Film (2008, documentary), The Snow Queen (2010, feature), Fast Eddy’s Old News (2015, documentary)

FILM INFO Original title: Matusepäevikud Theme: faith & death Languages: Estonian, English Director: Marko Raat Screenwriter: Marko Raat Cinematographer: Marko Raat Editor: Madli Lääne Sound: Harmo Kallaste, Ivo Felt Producer: Ivo Felt Produced by: Allfilm Premiere: January 30, 2019, DocPoint Tallinn 90 min / DCP /1.85:1 /5.1 CONTACT Allfilm Phone: +372 672 9070 E-mail:




To Share or Not to Share


ark is a traveller and he believes in life beyond capitalism. He has given up his successful squash coach career in London and now, in Tallinn, he invites people to join a community where nobody uses any money and everyone shares with each other their skills, experiences, food, and love. Tantric energy liberation techniques are his means to release the Estonian people from the chains of ownership instinct. Struggling to reach the goal, Mark is challenged by a force even greater than his own beliefs. DIRECTOR MINNA HINT born in 1981, lives and works in Tallinn.




Has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts. Since 2017, she’s a curator of artist-run-space Kraam. She’s also one of the organisers of Ladyfest Tallinn. Selected filmography: Gross National Happiness (2010), Help, I Need love (2017) DIRECTOR MEELIS MUHU is a director and producer of documentary films. Born in 1972 in Paide, Estonia. Lives and works in Tallinn. In 1996, graduated from Tallinn Pedagogical University, holds a BA in Directing. He was the producer for Minna Hint’s previous documentary Help! I need love (2017).

Original title: Jagada või mitte jagada Theme: social issues Language: English Directors: Minna Hint, Meelis Muhu Screenwriter: Minna Hint Cinematographers: Minna Hint, Meelis Muhu Editor: Meelis Muhu Sound: Minna Hint, Meelis Muhu Producer: Meelis Muhu Produced by: In-Ruum Premiere: January 31, 2019, Docpoint Tallinn 75 min / DCP /16:9 /5.1 CONTACT In-Ruum / Meelis Muhu Phone: +372 507 8163 E-mail:

Tõnu Kõrvits. Moorland Elegies


oorland Elegies is a journey into the darkest, most mysterious corners of loneliness: to a place where you may not even dare to look.” -Tõnu Kõrvits The film Moorland Elegies is named after Tõnu’s nine-part choir cycle, based on Emily Brontë’s almost gothic, dark poetry, that invokes spiritual conditions delicately translated into natural imagery. Tõnu Kõrvits - one of the most performed Estonian composers – doesn’t open up easily. His person and music carry a secret that only unravels for those who can see behind the words, who forget themselves in the music and let the sounds Tõnu created take themalong on a mystical, poetical journey that changes anyone who arrives at the end. Visually stunning Moorland Elegies is a film about a composer, his music and the people who are deeply touched by his music.

DIRECTOR MARIANNE KÕRVER is a documentary filmmaker (b. 1980). She graduated from the Baltic Film and Media School, majoring in Film Directing. She has done several portrait documentaries about Estonian artists (painter and fashion designer Agu Pilt, jewellery designer Kadri Mälk) and composers (Eduard Tubin and Erkki-Sven Tüür). Marianne Kõrver’s main subjects of interest are human, environment and religion - and the difficult and contradictory relations between these subjects in the modern Western civilization. She has also been working in theatres and with opera. Selected filmography: Elusive Miracle (2006, short feature), Erkki-Sven Tüür: 7 Etudes in Pictures (2010, documentary), The Measure of Man (2011, documentary), Waves and Vibes (2015, documentary short), The Bank (2018, TV series)

FILM INFO Original title: Tõnu Kõrvits. Lageda laulud Theme: documentary, music, nature Director: Marianne Kõrver Screenwriters: Marianne Kõrver, Ülo Krigul Cinematographers: Marianne Kõrver, Margus Sikk Editor: Marianne Kõrver Composer: Tõnu Kõrvits Sound: Lauri-Dag Tüür Producer: Marianne Kõrver Produced by: Klaasmeri Domestic premiere: November 6, 2018 58 min / DCP / 16:9 / Stereo CONTACT Klaasmeri Phone: +372 5691 1149 E-mail:




Everyday Mysticism


his film is about the beauty of growing old. It is a story about an old and wise man who is preparing to leave this world and, thus, faces many personal and delicate questions. How not to lose faith in these final hours? Why are the greatest among us put through the hardest trials in the spiritual realm? Vello Salo is a Catholic cleric in his 90s, but first and foremost, a human being: a free spirit, a man with his own quirks and tricks, not to mention a lifetime of experience and wisdom

which has been well-preserved to this modern day. After leaving Estonia in 1944, Salo’s journeys took him to places all around the world: a soldier in Finland and a gardener in Sweden; a student of mathemathics and physics in Switzerland and the Netherlands, and of theology in Italy. He was ordained as a priest in Germany and has since taught and worked in Italy, Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Canada and Sweden, among other places. Since 1993, he is back in Estonia, living and working as a Catholic priest at the Pirita convent. More often than not, people reach their spiritual prime during their final years. Many important questions become clear through pain and suffering only in the last chapter of life. May this film bring joy and comfort to us all! DIRECTOR JAAN TOOTSEN is a film director and producer, who was born on October 14, 1975. From 19941995, he studied at the Estonian Institute of Humanities, and from 1995-2000, at Tallinn University. Since 2000, he has been working at the Estonian Public Broadcasting. In 2012-2016, he worked as Cultural Advisor to the President of Estonia. His documentary The New World won Best Film of 2011 from the Estonian Association of Film Journalists. Filmography: Discover A Rich Corner in The Universe (2005), Brave New World (2006), The New World (2011), Velosophy (2013), Thirst for Music (2018, with Jaak Kilmi)



FILM INFO Original title: Vello Salo. Igapäevaelu müstika Theme: portrait Languages: Estonian, Italian, German, Finnish, English, Spanish Director: Jaan Tootsen Screenwriter: Jaan Tootsen Cinematographers: Erik Norkroos, Kullar Viimne, Taavi Arus, Jaan Tootsen, Marianne Kõrver, Joosep Matjus, Jaan Kolberg Editor: Tõnis Tootsen Composers: Sander Saarmets, Robert Jürjendal Sound: Mart Kessel-Otsa, Antti Mäss, Robi Uppin, Taisto Uuslail Producer: Jaan Tootsen Produced by: Aadam ja pojad Domestic premiere: September 5, 2018 Festivals: Tallinn Black Nights FF 81 min / DCP / HD / 5.1 CONTACT Aadam ja pojad Jaan Tootsen Phone: + 372 528 1140 E-mail:

The Wind Sculpted Land


n epic story of Estonian wild nature, where versatile landscapes with wild animals and thousands of migrating bird flocks are screened. The main character of the film is our biggest forest mammal – moose. The journey in the wilderness opens our past endeavors, calls and character, all of which the landscapes have held and sculpted through thousands of years.

DIRECTOR JOOSEP MATJUS was born in 1984 in Estonia. He received a BA and MA in Film Arts from Baltic Film and Media School in 2009 and is known as a director, cinematographer and a screenwriter. He has fully dedicated himself to the wildlife filmmaking. Filmography: Summer Documentary (2006), Rebirth (2007), Old Man and the Moose (2009), The Gull Theorem (2014)

FILM INFO Original title: Tuulte tahutud maa Theme: nature Language: Estonian Director: Joosep Matjus Screenwriters: Joosep Matjus, Atte Henriksson, Cinematographers: Atte Henriksson, Joosep Matjus, Jan Henriksson Composer: Eeter Sound: Horret Kuus Editor: Katri Rannastu Producers: Riho Västrik, Katri Rannastu, Atte Henriksson Co-producer: Annette Scheurich Produced by: Wildkino (Estonia), Marco Polo AG (Germany) Domestic premiere: Matsalu Nature FF 2018 60 min / DCP / 2.39:1/ 5.1 CONTACT Wildkino Joosep Matjus Phone: +372 521 6949 E-mail: SALES Albatross World Sales GmbH Phone: +49 341 3500 2560 E-mail:




The Mountains That Were Not There


stonian pro-cyclists Tanel Kangert and Rein Taaramäe are under the microscope as they both cycle in the World Tour level teams. Talent, diligence and willpower can take you to the world stage, even if you grow up in Vändra, on the periphery of Europe. Can make you a pro whose name is heard from week to week on the Eurosport channel when the Tour de France or Giro d´Italia are underway. One exceptional success story is understandable, but when there are two of them, and at the same time… Tanel Kangert and Rein Taaramäe grew up to become world-class cyclists under the guidance of coach Erich Perner. What were their paths to success, and at what cost? Are they happy in a world fraught with



falls and reprehensible doping stories? This is a film in which peripheral low-lying landscapes meet world-famous mountaintops and we peek behind the scenes into the hidden world of the topflight teams Astana and Katusha. DIRECTOR IVAR JURTSHENKO born in 1973 in Pärnu, Estonia. Jurtshenko was deeply involved with cycling and was a junior category road race champion of Estonia numerous times. During his university studies he had an opportunity to work with the Estonian Television’s sport department and became a sports journalist in their team. As of today, he has been working at the same position for twenty years in various publications. The Mountains That Weren’t There is his debut film.

FILM INFO Original title: Mäed, mida polnud Theme: sport Languages: Estonian, Russian, English, French, Italian Director: Ivar Jurtshenko Screenwriter: Ivar Jurtshenko Cinematographer: Taavi Arus Editors: Marju Juhkum, Taavi Arus Composer: Erki Tero Sound: Indrek Soe Producer: Pille Rünk Produced by: Allfilm Domestic premiere: November 1, 2018 75 min / HD / 16:9 / 5.1 CONTACT Allfilm / Pille Rünk Phone: +372 508 2999 E-mail:


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.