Production / Funding - Estonia
Industry Report: New Media
Rain Rannu unveils new first look picture, details of his ‘NFT-expanded’ film, Free Money
The comedy drama by the writer-director tells three loosely interconnected stories about money, crypto, and investment culture
A new ‘NFT-expanded’ comedy drama, Free Money, is now in the making. Penned and directed by Rain Rannu, it tells three loosely interconnected stories about money, crypto, and investment culture in a time when the latter has become “a form of entertainment and every taxi driver is trading in stocks and coins.” In detail, the ensemble movie focuses on three men — a brash crypto entrepreneur played by Miklós Bányai (the TV series Dracula), a straightforward programmer portrayed by Märt Pius (Zero Point [+see also:
film profile], The Dissidents) and a conservative banker, brought to life by Ivo Uukkivi (Kratt, Tenet [+see also:
film profile]) — and their relationship with money. Other cast members include Steffi Pähn (Take It or Leave It [+see also:
film profile]), Amanda Hermiine Künnapas (Kids of the Night), Einar Kuusk (Chasing Ponies, Jamie Payne’s upcoming feature Luther).
Production began in June and will continue until August, with a total of 24 shooting days — 18 days in Estonia and 7 days in the US (already completed in June). The picture is being lensed by Ants Tammik (Chasing Unicorns), whilst Anita Kremm, Urmet Piiling and Liisamari Viik are in charge of its production design.
Speaking about how NFTs will be incorporated into the screening experience, Rannu told Cineuropa: “There are a number of different mechanics we’re exploring. A very simple one is that there are QR codes in the movie leading to hidden websites and web3 services with different ‘Easter eggs.’ We almost try to recreate the excitement we had as kids when playing a computer game and discovering a secret level. Some Easter eggs could be exclusive artwork you can own, whilst some others could be free tokens you can claim.”
“We imagine some of these to be visible on a cinema screen and available on a first come, first served basis, while others require pausing the movie in the VOD environment. We imagine some perks to unlock immediately, while others a year, five years or ten years later. All in all, we’re interested in adding an additional layer to the film for people who are already digging deep into crypto and, why not, also for those going through their first web3 experience,” he continued.
Rannu added there is a great deal of interest towards the experiment: “In the last few weeks, we’ve been approached by a number of people with very interesting ideas. We’re very open and in the process of figuring out what makes sense for us and what does not. Our primary focus is still to make a great movie that can be enjoyed by a wide audience. So, it’s very important for us not to do anything that distracts from that. We’re ready to play around with different things, but anything we do should add to the experience and not become the main thing itself.”
Free Money will be released in 2023, with a theatrical release in Estonia and other territories to be confirmed, as well as a digital release worldwide. It is being produced by Tõnu Hiielaid and the director himself for Estonia’s Tallifornia. The project is mostly financed by private investors and equity through the brand-new Tallifornia Film Fund.
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