A committee put together by the Estonian Film Institute (EFI) has decided to put forward "Vee peal" ("On the Water") as Estonia's nomination for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film (previously known as Best Foreign Language Film).
"The decision process can be characterized by a distribution between many films and the choice came as a slight majority," said EFI manager Edith Sepp, who led the committee, which made its selection from seven films. "The committee's choice shows that 'our own Estonian stories' are extremely important today."
The committee assessed that Simm was able to give watchers an emotional story of growing up and feels human warmth toward his characters despite their rough environment. As an additional value, the committee said the film was able to capture the essence of the time.
"The characters are real and feel natural, the actors are gripping and enjoyable," Sepp noted.
Simm joked that he has already clinched an Oscar for the best Võru-language film.
Producer Marju Lepp said it is always great if a story comes together along with a well-working team. "We hope the Academy enjoys our bright and lovable film," she said.
The film takes place in Estonia in the early 1980s.
On the Water, based on Olavi Ruitlane's book of the same title, focuses on the life of a preadolescent boy Andres (played by Rasmus Ermel). He lives in a small Soviet Estonian town with his loving but strict grandparents. The boy's only escape from his everyday life is to go fishing. His main fishing companions are different local fellows, who, although messed up in their own lives, have wisdom and life experiences to share.
"Simm was able to create a fresh picture of Ruitlane's initial text, while also avoiding dropping into the nostalgia of the Soviet times and taking a position on people caught in the gears of life," the committee noted.
"Peeter Simm's movie deserves more attention, it would be interesting to see what kind of feedback it gets on the international market," Sepp said. The film is considered to be one of Simm's best productions.
"On the Water" premiered in November 2020.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste