Estonian movie "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" begins its Oscar campaign in the US this week. The movie is Estonia's official entry for Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards (Oscars) and is also in the running for Best Documentary.
Special screenings for members and critics of the academy are set to take place in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
"The team that the American distributor got on board is the best there is," said the movie's producer Marianne Ostrat. "This team has won in the best documentary category eight times in the last ten years. They have two or three nominees every year. It was made clear to me that these people are unbeatable."
However, Ostrat also said that she did not want to make too many predictions at this stage. "But somehow it has proved possible to get these top performers to represent us."
The movie's makers hope that the campaign will be partly funded by the Estonian Film Institute, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia and the Estonian Ministry of Culture, while there will also be support from the private sector.
"The general idea is that the American distributor will cover the costs of the campaign, but our American distributor is not Netflix or National Geographic, but it's still a small country distributor. The only way to run a proper campaign and really take advantage of this opportunity was to find the money in Estonia. It's really been very much mine and Anna's (Hints – the movie's director – ed.) initiative to be able to do a proper campaign and really take advantage of this opportunity, in order to say that we played our full part and did everything we could," Ostrat said.
Editor: Michael Cole