Filming for 1930s cross-channel swim movie starts in Estonia

"Rootsi torpeedo" filming in progress on Toila beach. Source: ERR

Principal photography for a movie being co-produced by four countries has started at Toila beach, Ida-Viru County, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday.

The movie's name in Estonian is "Rootsi torpeedo" ("The Swedish Torpedo"), director Frida Kempff told AK it represents the story of one woman's dream, and the fulfillment of that dream.

The woman in question was Swedish long-distance swimmer Sally Bauer (1908-2001), who became the first Scandinavian woman to swim across the English Channel, a feat accomplished in 1939.

Producer Elina Litvinova told AK that Toila, close to Jõhvi, was chosen as filming location due to its resemblance to beaches found on the South Coast of England.

Filming was supported to the tune of €4.5 million, thanks to Viru Filmifond (Viru Film Fund).

Fund coordinator Piia Tamm said that this both helped present Ida-Viru County to the wider world and permitted local people involved in the industry or related areas of business to gain experience.

"Rootsi torpeedo" should hit the cinema screens in autumn 2024.

Litvinova said the crew of 60 included actors, primarily from Denmark, Sweden and Finland, as well as Estonia.

The movie is also being filmed on 16mm film rather than on a digital camera, which, Litvinova said, gives it a more authentic feel.

One Estonian actor, Priit Orav, playing an extra, said landing the role was quite straightforward and involved sending a headshot and trying out for the period costume – in his case of a Royal Navy rating.

The Viru Filmfond site is here.

Sally Bauer first swam the English Channel in 1939, in a time of 15 hours and 22 minutes.

Bauer recreated her feat in 1951, swimming the English Channel again, in a faster time, of 14 hours and 40 minutes.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Rene Kundla.

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