Sundance Institute chooses Estonian director's film for support

A scene from the movie
A scene from the movie "Savvusanna sõsarad" Source: pressimaterjalid

The first full-length film, 'Smoke Sauna Sisterhood', by Anna Hints, an Estonian-French-Icelandic collaboration, has received a $40,000 production grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund. 1,100 projects from all over the world applied for support, while 18 were shortlisted.

The producer Marianne Ostrat said that the competition for support from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund is very intense.

"It is one of America's most important independent filmmaking organizations. There were 1,100 applications by filmmakers around the world. Of the 18 projects selected, only three have both film directors and producers from Europe," Ostrat said.

She added that going through such a tight selection is a huge recognition and feedback that the film is touching and its completion is considered important. "A large number of documentaries supported by the Sundance Institute will be screened at the world's most important film festivals and nominated for an Oscar."

The support of the Sundance Institute also includes membership in the creative community - the so-called Sundance family - international seminars and panel discussions, contacts with other filmmakers around the world and feedback on the film's work version.

"Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" is Anna Hints' first full-length documentary, and focuses on smoke saunas, women and their personal confessions.

"The smoke sauna is such an important part of my being and it has been a place of physical and mental purification of our ancestors, where wisdom and feelings have been shared between generations. People have given birth and washed the dead in the smoke saunas. I hope to publish something that hasn't been documented in that way," Hints said.

The custom of the Southeast Estonian smoke sauna appears on the UNESCO list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind. "I am extremely pleased that something at home and my own has been able to be addressed by the Sundance Institute, which has extremely high artistic standards for films," Hints added.

The film is made in Estonian-French-Icelandic cooperation. French editor Qutaiba Barhamji has also edited the film "Little Palestine. Diary of A Siege" (director: Abdallah Al-Khatib), which will be screened at the CID Film Festival in July at ACID. The film is created by the music ensemble Eeter in collaboration with the Icelandic composer Edvard Egilsson.

"Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" is produced by Marianne Ostrat (Alexandra Film, Estonia) and co-produced by Juliette Cazanave, Pierre Jestaz (Kepler22 Productions, France) and Hlín Jóhannesdóttir (URSUS Parvus, Iceland). The cinematographer of the film is Ants Tammik, editor Qutaiba Barhamji (France). The soundtrack of the film was recorded by Tanel Kadalipp.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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