Estonian Box Office National Hit: December Heat

By Martin Aadamsoo

    The number one national box office hit in Estonia in 2008, December Heat by debut director Asko Kase, gathered close to 60,000 admissions, beating a string of Hollywood blockbusters.

    The film, running for over eight consecutive weeks, has brought in close to 200,000 euros from theatrical distribution.

    The film's budget was 1.73 million euros, making it the most expensive Estonian majority produced feature to date, excluding animated films. The finances were raised for the most part from public funds but also included substantial private sponsorship from Olympic Casino Group, a local gambling firm. December Heat was the first Estonian film to be commercially screened from two digital prints alongside traditional 35 mm copies.

    December Heat is an historical action drama telling the story of a failed Communist coup attempt of 1924 in Estonia. The main protagonists are a young couple caught in the eye of the storm while about to leave the country for a holiday in Paris.

    The film is distributed domestically by Forum Cinemas and has yet to find an international sales agent, given its local subject matter. It may next be released theatrically in Georgia and talks are in progress with a string of Central and Eastern European distributors. It is also likely to be the first Estonian film released on Sony's new BluRay platform.

    2008 was the sixth consequtive year with at least one Estonian film climibing to the overall TOP 10 at box office, a sign of restored audience confidence in local product after the film famine of the 1990's.

    The film wass produced by Artur Talvik of Ruut (www.ruut.com), and directed by first time director Asko Kase, a surprise pick directly from the schoolbench of the Baltic Film and Media School.


    Director: Asko Kase

    Script: Mihkel Ulman, Lauri Vahtre

    Camera: Kjell Lagerroos

    Art design: Silver Vahtre

    Costume: Reet Aus

    Original score: Sven Gruenberg

    Sound: Mart Otsa

    Editor: Tambet Tasuja

    Make-up: Tiina Leesik, Kairit Nielaender

    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 Maehar.