1944 to be the Estonian submission for the 2016 Academy Awards
by Laurence Boyce
- Elmo Nüganen’s film will be put forward for consideration for the Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film
Nüganen’s film depicts the events of the war in 1944 as Estonia faced advances from both the Red Army and the German Army. The story is shown through the eyes of Estonian soldiers who – faced with these two opposing forces – found they had to pick sides and fight against their brothers in arms. Difficult choices had to be made, not only by the soldiers, but also by their loved ones.
1944 premiered domestically on 15 February 2015 and garnered the highest opening-week audience figures in Estonian film history, enticing in 44,879 viewers. Since that time, the film has surpassed 100,000 viewers. The only other film to have achieved this feat is Nüganen’s previous movie Names in Marble.
Last year, the Estonian-Georgian co-production Tangerines [+see also:
film profile] (Zaza Urushadze, 2013) was among the final five nominees in the category for Best Foreign-language Film – the first time an Estonian movie had ever been awarded such an honour.
The cinematographer on the film was Rein Kotov, and the producers were Kristian Taska (Taska Film, Estonia) and Ilkka Matila (MRP Matila Röhr Productions, Finland). It stars Kristjan Üksküla, Kaspar Velberg and Maiken Schmidt. World sales are handled by Eyewell AB (Sweden).
In addition to the Best Foreign-language Film submission, Riho Unt’s puppet animation Isand (The Master) will have the opportunity to vie for the Oscar for Best Short Animation. The film – based on Friedebert Tuglas’ short story Popi and Huhuu – won the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Annecy Film Festival, which allows it to be submitted within the Academy’s short animation category.