Estonian cash reserve kickstarts production of historical epic


    The Estonian government has released €640,000 from its contingency reserve to finance the production of a patriotic epic, a highly unusual step in a country with well-established national film funds.

    The film tells the story of the failed communist uprising of 1924 against the newly established Republic of Estonia through the eyes of a young disillusioned soldier. The film will be released as part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Republic at the end of 2008.

    The total budget of the movie is expected to be around €1.3 million and comes almost exclusively from Estonian sources, which makes it one of the most expensive locally funded features for the last two decades. An additional €320,000 is expected from the national film agency, the Estonian Film Foundation, and the remainder from investors and sponsors.

    The unconfirmed choice for director is Asko Kase, a young professional who is still pursuing his masters degree at the Baltic Film and Media School, a brave gamble for the producer and a leap of faith for the debut helmer. The shoot is scheduled to start in December 2007.

    The last government-funded patriotic epic was "Names in Marble," which was released in 2002 and told the story of boy soldiers volunteering in the War of Freedom of 1918 against Soviet Russia. It raked in a massive 170,000 viewers domestically, making it the most successful Estonian film at the box office by far.