“1944”. Photo by Taska Film
The Estonian submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards will be Elmo Nüganen’s “1944”.
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 armies – found they had to pick sides and fight against fellow brothers.
Difficult choices had to be made, not only by the soldiers, but also by their loved ones.
“1944” premiered domestically on February 15, 2015 and garnered the highest opening week audience figures in Estonian film history with 44,879 spectators. Since that time the film has surpassed 100,000 spectators. The only other film to have achieved this feat is Nüganen’s previous film “Nimed marmortahvlil” (Names in Marble).
“1944” has been selected for numerous festivals including Let’s Cee (Austria), Camera-image (Poland), Cairo (Egypt) and Arras (France). It has also screened at the Baltic Film Days in Oslo (Norway) and also at a programme of European films in Washington, DC (USA).
The cinematographer of the film is Rein Kotov and the producers are 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 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 to the Academy’s short animation category.