The 2007 Karlovy Vary East of the West jury award winner The Class by Ilmar Raag has been picked up for international distribution by the Scandinavian sales company NonStop Sales AB.
The Class, Raag's second feature, also won the Europe Cinemas Label award for Best European Film at Karlovy Vary. The Class is a frank and sometimes brutal story of school violence, featuring amateur actors chosen from school theatre festival crowds. The students also helped shape the script based on their personal experiences with aggression at school. Quickly dubbed the Estonian Elephant after Gus Van Sant's Cannes winner, the film did surprisingly well at the Estonian box office given its bleak content, reaching a respectable top 10 spot in its first three months of domestic cinematic release. The pick-up of the film by Scandinavian NonStop (www.nonstopsales.net) is somewhat surprising, as the company has a reputation for distributing European films with commercial potential. It is also a gamble given that NonStop only takes on a line-up of about 10 films yearly. The Class is the first film from the Baltic states to be picked up by NonStop.