First Estonian film in competition
by Annika Pham
27/07/2007 - Estonian cinema continues to astonish and find prominent positions at top festivals worldwide in 2007. After Lotte in Gadgetville [trailer] (selected for Berlin’s Generation KPlus), Magnus (Cannes’ Un Certain Regard) and The Class [trailer] (winner of two awards in Karlovy Vary), Autumn Ball will screen in the Orizzonti section at the upcoming Venice Film Festival (August 29-September 8).
Quite a record for a country that produces less than 10 feature films a year. The first Estonian film selected for a Venice competition slot is also the first feature film by Veiko Õunpuu, whose medium-length film Empty toured many international festivals in 2006.
Autumn Ball [trailer] first caught the attention of the Venice selection committee at a closed screening at Cannes last May. The film shows chosen moments from the life of six people living in a huge sprawling conurbation of tower blocks built during the Soviet era. The director describes his film as “a pitch black comedy about loneliness, despair and hope”.
The lead is played by the versatile actor-writer-director-producer Rain Tolk – Estonia’s 2007 Shooting Star – who was interviewed by Cineuropa about his role in the film: “I’m playing a writer whose wife left him and who starts to become psychotic. He can’t experience love without trying to intellectualize it and that is one of the reasons of his downfall,” he said.
The film is the first feature produced by Katrin Kissa for Kuukulgur Film (co-headed by Tolk) and Homeless Bob Production, in co-production with Tugev Tuul Films. Kissa is currently developing Õunpuu’s next feature project at the MEDIA Programme initiative EAVE.
Autumn Ball will premiere in Estonia on September 13, 2007.