PRODUCTION / FUNDING Estonia / Finland
Estonian-Finnish co-production 8 Views of Lake Biwa currently shooting
by Marta Bałaga
- Marko Raat’s magical-realist ensemble tragedy is led by Estonia’s Allfilm, partnering with Helsinki-based Bufo
Currently shooting, 8 Views of Lake Biwa is a complex magical-realist ensemble tragedy, a blend of Baltic and Japanese culture and imagery. The story, loosely based on Max Dauthendey’s eponymous 1911 novel, is told through the prism of the “eight views” art tradition.
Estonia’s Allfilm handles production duties, partnering with Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari, of Helsinki-based Bufo. The animated segments will be created in Hungary. Both companies recently collaborated on Saara Saarela’s dystopian drama Memory of Water, which is awaiting its premiere (see the news), while Allfilm is also behind such acclaimed titles as Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines [+see also:
film profile] and Klaus Härö’s The Fencer [+see also:
interview: Ivo Felt
“We are shooting it on location on the Estonian-Russian border, among a community of ‘old believers’,” says producer Dora Nedeczky, referring to the religious refugees who fled Russia in the 17th century. Locations include Lake Peipsi, Narva and Tallinn. The cast boasts the participation of Elina Masing, Tiina Tauraite, Hendrik Toompere and Finland’s Tommi Korpela.
The film, also described as a coming-of-age tale, will mark the fourth fiction feature for director Marko Raat, who has been focusing on documentaries in recent years, including Funeral Diaries. “It’s a melting pot of a project, with a diverse cast with many different backgrounds and experiences. But that fits so well in a story that blurs so many cultures,” Raat tells Cineuropa, calling the film “a wonderful challenge”.
The script will also borrow elements from Lauri Sommer’s prose and the work of several modern Estonian poets, such as Andrus Kasemaa and Mart Kangur. Estonian folklore and the prayer books of the “old believers” will be featured, too.
“We are both coming at this project from quite different angles: Ivo has worked with Marko for 13 years, although this is their first fiction feature together. Meanwhile, Dora has brought in her unique experimental experience,” add Ivo Felt, of Allfilm, and Nedeczky. “It’s not just anyone who could make a film like this happen, so we are grateful to our co-producers, from Bufo in Finland, and to all the cast and crew who have come together to tell this story.”
The film was backed by the Estonian Film Institute, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Tartu Film Fund, the Ida-Viru Film Fund and the Finnish Film Foundation, and is being made in collaboration with Yle. The project was previously presented at the Baltic Event co-production market in 2020 and at the Marché du Film’s Co-Production Day in 2021.
Shooting will continue until September, with a premiere set for 2023.
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