Upcoming films from the Baltic Sea region introduced in Tallinn
by Tristan Priimägi
- Baltic Event Works in Progress showcased 11 new and exciting film projects to industry professionals
At the Baltic Event co-production market in Tallinn, it has become customary to show the industry professionals in attendance a preview of upcoming feature films from the Baltic Sea region. This year, the line-up consisted of 11 projects, many of which confirmed the strong ties between the different countries in the area.
All five Estonian feature-film projects were full-length debuts by young filmmakers. At the more realistic end of the spectrum, Rain by Janno Jürgens dissects the title character’s complex relationships with the other powerful men in his life – his father and his brother. In another social drama with a character’s name in the title – Sandra Gets a Job – a scientist called Sandra is laid off work and forced to look for new employment. In the process, her social inadequacies become painfully evident.
Two Estonian projects are setting their sights on historical events. Good Bye Soviet Union by Lauri Randla mines the rich era of the Soviet regime in a coming-of-age story about a boy whose teenage turmoil coincides with the collapse of the USSR. Another project, Truth and Justice by Best Short Film Academy Award nominee Tanel Toom, takes on the arduous task of adapting Estonia’s most canonical literary work of the same name for the big screen. Truth and Justice will be the fifth and final full-length feature film to come out under the aegis of Estonia 100, and tells the epic story of a fierce rivalry between two neighbours, Andres and Pearu, who are polar opposites in terms of both their characters and their approaches to life.
On the heels of his successful one-hour sci-fi movie Crumbs [+see also:
film profile], Spaniard Miguel Llansó presented an Estonian-Spanish-Ethiopian project called Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway, a memorable paranoia-laced thriller set partly in a computer program called Psychobook. The film stood out thanks to its DIY approach and bizarre effects, as well as its stop-motion and live-action sequences.
A couple of established Finnish filmmakers had got Baltic states on board as co-producing partners for their films. J-P Valkeapää’s dreamy (or nightmarish) Dogs Don’t Wear Pants follows a widower, Juha, into the world of S&M and strangulation sessions that conjure up recurring visions of his deceased wife, which get more and more real every time. Meanwhile, Zaida Bergroth’s Maria’s Paradise resurrects the tale of the charismatic 1920s Finnish sect leader and preacher Maria Åkerblom, and two girls – the obedient Salome and the tough Malin – who are caught in her web of seduction and domination.
Finally, Latvia’s City on the River is a welcome return to historical themes by director Viesturs Kairišs, after The Chronicles of Melanie [+see also:
film profile], and focuses on a sign painter called Ansis, who might be a man in demand under every regime, but whose occupation doesn’t save him from having to make vital decisions when he gets involved with a Jewish girl and a Latvian girl.
Here is the full list of projects presented at the event:
Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway - Miguel Llansó
Production companies: Alasti Kino (Estonia), Lanzadera Films (Spain)
Rain – Janno Jürgens
Production companies: Alasti Kino (Estonia), Furia Film (Poland)
Sandra Gets a Job - Kaupo Kruusiauk
Production company: Kopli Kinokompanii (Estonia)
Truth and Justice - Tanel Toom
Production company: Allfilm (Estonia)
Maria’s Paradise – Zaida Bergroth
Production companies: Komeetta (Finland), Kaiho Republic (Finland), Stellar Film (Estonia)
24 Hr Sunshine - Juri Poskus
Production company: FA Filma (Latvia)
The Flood Won’t Come - Marat Sargsyan
Production company: Tremora (Lithuania)
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