Peeter Simm filming coming-of-age drama On the Water
- The veteran Estonian director is shooting his new feature, based on Olavi Ruitlane's book of the same name
One of the most prominent Estonian filmmakers is finally back at work. Peeter Simm, now aged 66, began his career after graduating from the Moscow State Institute of Cinematography in 1976, and rose to fame thanks to his 1980 directorial debut, Ideal Landscape (which was banned during the Soviet Union years and was subsequently dubbed one of the best Estonian films of all time), the 1983 box-office hit Arabella Pirates' Daughter and more recent dramas, such as 2001’s Good Hands and 2007’s Georg [+see also:
The Kiviõli-born helmer is now shooting a new coming-of-age drama, titled On the Water [+see also:
interview: Peeter Simm
film profile] and based on Olavi Ruitlane's book of the same name. The script, penned by Ruitlane himself, is a tragicomic look at the life of a teenager, set against the backdrop of rural Estonia. It unfolds during the dismal year when leader of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev died. The protagonist is Andres (Rasmus Ermel), a mild-mannered boy who is growing up under the strict guidance of his grandparents and whose only escape is fishing. Throughout the film, Andres will deal with several issues related to puberty, with no one of his age around him whom he can talk to. His only trusted sources of information are the books he reads and a few “bigger kids” in his neighbourhood – namely, a former convict, an alcoholic fisherman and a simple-minded man. Other leading roles are played by actors Andres Lepik, Aarne Soro, Indrek Taalmaa, Kalju Orro, Maria Klenskaja, Evelin Võigemast, Aurora Künnaps and Marko Matvere. Moreover, confirmed key crew members include director of photography Manfred Vainokivi (Family Lies, September) and production designer Eugen Tamberg (The Eternal Road [+see also:
interview: Antti-Jussi Annila
film profile], The End of the Chain [+see also:
interview: Priit Pääsuke
The project is being produced by Marju Lepp (Family Lies, Stealing Socialism), for Tallinn-based firm Filmivabrik, and has a budget of €743,000. In an interview published recently by Estonian Film magazine, Lepp added: “I was fascinated with the warmth and sincerity in the book On the Water. It is captivating for adults and teenagers alike, and was very successful, remaining at the top of the Estonian bestsellers list for a long time. I hope that the film will enjoy similar success, and its lively characters – who are all outcasts, really – create a very comical and human background. The action takes place in 1982, when children didn't just get sucked into the internet, and the best place for our main character to spend time is on a lake, fishing, which constitutes that other, better world for him – the world found on the water.”
Principal photography commenced in Võru County in early spring, but will continue later this summer and autumn. On the Water will be distributed by ViewFilm (a division of Forum Cinemas) and will be released in Estonian theatres on 11 September 2020.
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