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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Estonia / Latvia

Jaak Kilmi’s The Sleeping Beast in production

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- The children’s film, penned by Aidi Vallik, is currently filming in Laitse’s Soviet radio station

Jaak Kilmi’s The Sleeping Beast in production
Jaak Kilmi on the set of The Sleeping Beast (© Heikki Leis)

Jaak Kilmi is now filming his new feature, a children’s film titled The Sleeping Beast. The project follows Kilmi’s two latest endeavours, namely Latvian-Estonian children’s adventure film Christmas in the Jungle (yet to be released) and the Latvian-German-Czech-Estonian documentary My Father the Spy [+see also:
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trailer
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]
(2019).

The story of The Sleeping Beast, penned by Aidi Vallik, follows a ten-year-old child called Kristjan, who finds himself up against his friends during one of their games, when Elmar, the tough guard of their make-believe playground, falls into a deep hole. Freeing the guard would mean abandoning his friends and being kicked out of their gang, but could a ten-year-old bring himself to do it?

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The cast includes young newcomers Nils Jaagup England, Rebeka Kask, Una Marta Soms, Laura Vahtre and Kimi Reiko Pilipenko, alongside professional actors Andres Lepik, Evelin Võigemast, Anti Kobin and Ester Kuntu. The technical crew includes veteran DoP Elen Lotman (Goodbye Soviet Union [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), production designer Getter Vahar (the TV series Keeris), costume designer Jaanus Vahtra (November [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Rea Lest
film profile
]
) and composer Karlis Auzans (Putin’s Witnesses [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Vitaly Mansky
film profile
]
).

The film, currently in production, is shooting in the old Soviet radio station in Laitse (Estonia) and will later continue in the Tartu Film Fund region.

Kilmi shared his approach to filming with Cineuropa: “For a long time, I wanted to make a film about children and with children. I am fascinated by their spontaneous and playful nature, both in their actions and in their group dynamics. I am certain that in the context of our story, unrestricted playfulness works a lot better than diligent directing and well-read dialogue, things that I have always found estranging in a film. I find this conflict utterly interesting – from a moral point of view – namely the one between the dark currents of the human soul and the previously sunny and bright visual tonality. I do not want to emphasise the gloomy nature of the story, but the contrast between the two parts should be central.”

The Sleeping Beast is produced by Evelin Penttilä for Estonia’s Stellar Film and Roberts Vinovskis and Dominiks Jarmakovics for Latvia’s Studija Locomotive. The feature is also backed by the Estonian Film Institute, the Estonian Cultural Endowment, the National Film Centre of Latvia, the Tartu Film Fund and received development support from the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Its release is slated for autumn 2021. ACME is in charge of its Estonian distribution.

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