Awards fete burgeoning talent from tiny Baltic nation

Not many films are made in Estonia (about half a dozen a year), but the small Baltic country is noted for its outsized success.

For example, director Veiko Ounpuu’s “The Temptation of St. Tony” sparked attention on the international festival circuit and is the country’s Oscar pick. The film is nominated for best production design in the European Film Awards, being held Dec. 4 in Tallinn’s Solaris Center.

Tallinn was chosen for the EFA because next year it will be the European City of Culture, but locals see it as a major opportunity to showcase a small but talented film industry.

“Estonia is a very small country and its film output is not immense,” says EFA spokesman Pascal Edelmann. “We have one Estonian film in our selection this year. It is an exceptional year when any films from the Baltics are in our selection, although the same is true of other small film nations, like Luxembourg, Macedonia or Portugal.”

Other Estonian helmers include Jaak Kilmi, whose mockumentary “Disco and Atomic War” details futile attempts by the KGB to block television signals from Finland during the 1980s, and Kadri Koussaar, who made headlines earlier this year for her film “Magnus,” about a suicidal teenager.

Made in 2007 and screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes that year, “Magnus” was banned worldwide earlier this year by a Tallinn court after a privacy violation complaint. Koussaar is now looking for a minority co-producer for her new project, “European Psycho,” which she describes as “a disturbing story about a Cambridge scientist flirting with eugenics and vigilante justice.”

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