The team behind "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" are currently in the U.S. as part of the Estonian movie's Oscar campaign. Producer Marianne Ostrat says they have a real chance of winning and, along with director Anna Hints, believes it is their duty to introduce Estonian culture to the world.
The creators of critically-acclaimed Estonian movie "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" had just attended a networking event n Los Angeles along with representatives of other Oscar-nominated films.
"We were there for the first time and saw how the networking goes on," said producer Marianne Ostrat said, who added that there had also been a screening in LA for a select group of Motion Picture Academy members. "The hall was packed and the energy and feedback was wonderful, it was really positive," Ostrat said.
The "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" team are currently in San Francisco, where there are planned two screenings of the movie for members of the Academy. On Thursday, it will be shown at the AFI (American Film Institute) Fest, which Ostrat says is an important milestone on the road to the Oscars.
Another major breakthrough came with the nomination for Best First Documentary Feature at last week's 8th Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards. The movie has also been longlisted for the best international independent film prize at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).
Fans can also vote online for the movie to win at the Cinema Eye Audience Choice awards, something Ostrat would be delighted for people to do.
"These are the international film awards, which pave the way for the Oscars. We have not been left off the shortlists or main selections for any of the awards we have submitted our film to so far," the producer said.
Ostrat underlined why it makes sense for the team to put so much effort into "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood's" Oscars campaign.
"For 'Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,' it all started when we won the Sundance Award. The winner of that same award last year went on to be Oscar nominated," she said.
Likewise, the film that won the Best Documentary Award at the San Francisco Film Festival two years ago, which this year went to "'Smoke Sauna Sisterhood," also picked up an Oscar nomination.
"There have been a lot of coincidences. The fact that we are taking this journey at all was a very considered decision. We carefully assessed our chances and they are there," said Ostrat.
The team are now collaborating with movie distributors and sales agents, who have considerable previous experience of nominations and wins.
"I've had a lot of training from them on how to do it and what it takes to do it. I, along with Anna (Hints – the movie's director – ed.), believe that it is our duty to make the most of the opportunity we have been given to promote Estonian culture, the Estonian state and the art of movie making," Ostrat said.
Editor: Michael Cole