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The Estonian Film Institute announces its first round of production subsidies for 2021


- €1.412 million are being shared among the new features by Triin Ruumet, Marko Raat and Mart Kivastik

The Estonian Film Institute announces its first round of production subsidies for 2021
Director Triin Ruumet, who has received €765,000 for her second feature, Dark Paradise

In the first round of production subsidies announced for 2021, the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) has decided that €1.412 million will be shared amongst three features.

The first of these is Dark Paradise (Tume paradiis), the second feature directed by Triin Ruumet and produced by Elina Litvinova, of Tallinn-based production company Three Brothers. The film takes the viewer into the hedonistic life of a young female student who secretly yearns for true intimacy. The film gives a sharp and fresh perspective on the life of young people in relation to the modern Estonian family as well as to Estonian society in general. Dark Paradise is an Estonian-French co-production.

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Ruumet’s previous feature, The Days That Confused [+see also:
film review
interview: Triin Ruumet
film profile
, took home the Special Jury Prize at the 2015 edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where it premiered in the East of the West Competition.

The next project to receive funds is 8 Views of Lake Biwa (Biwa järve 8 nägu), an Estonian-Hungarian co-production by screenwriter-director Marko Raat and producer Ivo Felt, of Allfilm. Inspired by 19th-century German writer and painter Max Dauthendey's Japanese-themed book of the same name, Raat transfers the author’s dreamlike stories from Japan to the rural outskirts of Estonia as he tells the tale of a devastating accident that pushes the inhabitants of a small fishing village into a cascade of tragic consequences which unravel episodically.

The final project is Stairway to Heaven (Taevatrepp), in which director-screenwriter Mart Kivastik adapts his 2019 novel of the same name. The film is being produced by Marju Lepp, of Estonian production company Filmivabrik. The tragicomedy, which flits between the 1970s and the present day, explores whether a person can enjoy life with the ever-encroaching factors of middle age, ageing and death.

Both Dark Paradise and 8 Views of Lake Biwa will receive €765,000, while Stairway to Heaven will get €590,000.

EFI head of production Piret Tibbo-Hudgins stated that the films “all have a very strong authorial voice”, and added that they all have audience potential and the chance of a presence on the international film-festival circuit.

A total of nine applications were submitted during the call. The deadline for applications for the second round of this year's feature-film production grants provided by the EFI is 27 April, with another €913,000 to be distributed. Grant decisions will be announced no later than 17 June.

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