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1 million Estonians make film together

It’s December and Christmastime, but outside the summer sun blazes. Something is wrong! The Mayan calendar predicts that the world will end on December 21, 2012. Every Estonian has to decide how they will spend their last days. Rait finally wants to confess his feelings to his lifelong love, the starlet Lenna Kuurmaa. His friend Mihkel, hits his head, goes bonkers, and needs to save the world by sacrificing that very same Lenna to the Sun Gods. Brenda wants to escape her dictatorial mother but insane asylum orderlies chase her. Ervin wins the world’s last lottery and is so upset by not having any way to spend it that he wants to die from misery. Confusion reigns, but hope always dies last... And, fortunately, the end finally comes...

That is the story of the world’s first film made together by a whole country.

Estonian film will have its honorable 100th anniversary in 2012 and, to celebrate, the whole country is coming together to make one truly Estonian film. The script was written in January and February by amateur filmophiles from all over the country with help from professional advisors.

The casting process was the most democratic the world has seen. The main characters – Mihkel and Brenda – were cast by a reality television show, where public votes decided who got to become film stars. Supporting roles were filled by an online casting system, where potential starlets registered themselves with photos, videos, and a description. The public voted on who they wanted to see starring in their film.

Pre-production was in June and July and shooting took place in each of Estonia’s 15 counties in August 2011. The film crew consisted of amateurs (also cast through the website) with professional advisors always at hand. Editing and post-production started in the autumn and once again amateurs were involved. Every phase of filmmaking also included intensive workshops (screenwriting, film acting, production design).

Among the film professionals involved were directors Jaak Klimi (Disco and Atomic War, Revolution of Pigs), Ilmar Raag (The Class) and René Vilbre (I was Here), screenwriter Peep Pedmanson (Made in Estonia) and Kinobuss boss and idea generator Mikk Rand and many more.

The unprecedented Estonian premiere of the film "That's IT!" took place in 111 cinemas and culture centers all over Estonia on 11.11.2011 at 20:11!

The goal of the project is to make sure the next 100 years of Estonian film are as good as the first ones! In other words, to take film education to as many Estonian people as possible. The “edutainment” project was initiated by Mikk Rand and  Kinobuss NGO, who has already spread film education to 10,000 Estonians during its 10 years of operation. Now, they’ve extended their mission to a much larger scale – as large, in fact, as the whole country.

The Filmitalgud project evokes the traditional Estonian idea of “community work” – where one person in a community needs help, all the others join together to lend a hand. Historically, this was the only way to get the harvest done. Now, it’s a way to spread filmmaking knowledge to as many people in Estonia as possible.

Production support comes from the Estonian Film Foundation, the Estonian Cultural Endowment, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Gambling Tax Council. The project is part of the program for the European Capital of Culture 2011 - Tallinn.

Additional information:

Lili Pilt
Project international relations

Buy/download the movie here