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Estonia's Highest-Budget Flick to Premiere in Toronto

Paula Beer, Tambet Tuisk on location
Paula Beer, Tambet Tuisk on location Source: Photo: Pärnu Postimees / Scanpix

On September 16, the Toronto Film Festival will see the premiere of Polli Päevikud (The Poll Diaries) filmed on location and co-produced in Estonia.

The Poll Diaries, directed by Chris Kraus from Germany and co-produced by the Estonian production company Amrion, will be screened as part of the Special Presentations program. Together with Kraus and the leading actress Paula Beer, the male leading actor Tambet Tuisk will present the movie in Toronto.

Unlocking a too-little known chapter of European history, Kraus recreates a Baltic community on the brink of the First World War, drawing from his own family lore. The movie is a dramatic depiction of the grimly gothic spirit prevailing in the doomed aristocratic society in 1914.

With the cold war between the Germans, Russians and Estonians at its worst, the young and passionate Oda (Paula Beer) finds and treats a badly wounded Estonian anarchist (Tuisk) in his father's surgery. As their illicit friendship deepens, family turmoil escalates and war closes in. The safe haven of the community collapses, forcing Oda’s family to make impossible choices.

Most of the movie was filmed on location near the west coast town of Pärnu, in a manor house on stilts above the sea constructed specially for the occasion.

With a budget of eight million euros, this is the most expensive movie ever co-produced by an Estonian film company. Several film funding institutions from Germany and Austria, Eurimages, Estonian Film Foundation and the Cultural Endowment supported the production.

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