December Heat burns budgets for Estonian films

By Martin Aadamsoo
The highest ever budgeted Estonian feature film, December heat by debut director Asko Kase, premieres October 17 across Estonia, while budget shortages are dampening the film's roll out and advertising outlay.

The film cost around 1.7 million euro to produce, and is rolled out on six film prints. For the first time in Estonia's commercial distribution, it is also released on two digital prints.

December Heat, a historical action drama recounting the events of a failed communist coup attempt of 1924 in Estonia through the eyes of a young couple, is the most expensive Estonian feature to date, excluding animations, and is financed entirely from Estonian sources. The film is produced by Artur Talvik of Ruut, and directed by the first time feature director Asko Kase who is one of three Baltic Film and Media School students of his class who have shot a full length feature during their studies. Kase's short film Zen Through Garbage was screened at this year's Karlovy Vary festival.

The film's financing scheme was somewhat unusal, with more than a third, or 640,000 euro, coming from the Estonian government's fund to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the republic in 2008. Also unusually, much of the post-production was done in Hollywood, a first for an Estonian film. The film is lensed by the experinced Finnish cinematographer Kjell Lagerroos and features a film star-ridden cast, with local singer Liisi Koikson making her debut appearance on screen.


Director: Asko Kase

Script: Mihkel Ulman, Lauri Vahtre

Camera: Kjell Lagerroos

Art design: Silver Vahtre

Costume: Reet Aus

Original score: Sven Grünberg

Sound: Mart Otsa

Editor: Tambet Tasuja

Make-up: Tiina Leesik, Kairit Nieländer

1 AD: Jouni Mutanen

Producer: Artur Talvik

Production company: Ruut

Principal cast: Sergo Vares, Liisi Koikson, Tonu Kark, Mait Malmsten, Tambet Tuisk, Carmen Mikiver, Ain Lutsep, Emil-Joosep Virkus, Piret Kalda, Priit Pedajas, Rain Simmul, Ilkka Koivula, Jevgeni Knjazjev, Roman Kalkajev, Tiit Sukk, Andres Mahar.