"Estonia," a television drama portraying the tragic events of the small hours of September 28, 1994, when the MS Estonia ferry sank in heavy seas in the Baltic and with a loss of 852 lives, premieres on domestic TV later this month.
"Estonia" was filmed last year and, with a total budget of €15.4 million, it is one of the costliest Scandinavian-made TV dramas ever.
Directed by Måns Månsson (Sweden) and Juuso Syrjö (Finland), with creative director Miikko Oikkonen, Estonian screenwriters Livia Ulman and Andris Feldmanis, who are also a couple, talked to weekly Maaleht ahead of the release.
While "Estonia" screens with Telia Inspira on October 15, the first two parts (of eight) were given a preview showing to invited guests at the Solaris Apollo cinema in Tallinn last week.
Andris Feldmanis told Maaleht that the presentation is both a convincing recreation, sensitively done, yet which also depicts the events of that fateful night in a way that will give viewers a new perspective.
While their was plenty to discuss, the project fortunately did not lead to any tension or arguments at home, between Ulman and Feldmanis, the latter said.
"In the outset, you don't immediately discuss the story or chain of events or specific scenes; instead, you look for what areas could be interesting whatsoever, and why," Feldmanis explained.
"Neither of us has a formal film education. We have both attended workshops, but in general we are pretty free and self-taught," Ulman added.
What is unusual about "Estonia", Maaleht reports, was its unresolved nature, in that question marks over the official version of events regarding the sinking remain; Ulman cited "Zodiac" (2007) as a precedent – albeit not about a maritime disaster, but rather a San Francisco Bay area-based serial killer from the late 1960s through to the 1970s (though the movie does imply a culprit – ed.).
Other Estonians involved in the production include Matis Mäesalu and Eva Gramakovski, costume designer Jaanus Vahtra, make-up artist Kaire Hendrikson, casting director Piret Toomvap -Schönberg, and VFX supervisor Heiki Luts, while actors Kaspar Velberg, Rain Simmul, Doris Tislar, Gert Raudsepp, Egon Nuter, Juhan Ulfsak and others appear in the production.
The Estonian producers are Riina Sildos and Elina Litvinova.
Notwithstanding the ongoing doubts about the chain of events with the MS Estonia's sinking, an official investigation dive using robots earlier this year concluded that there was no reason to refute the official explanation.
Editor: Andrew Whyte