International Gala Premiere of Estonian action-drama film at estdocs.08
Archived Articles 01 Oct 2008  EWR
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On Sunday October 19, starting with a 5:30pm reception and screening at 6:30pm at the beautiful Isabel Bader Theatre at University of Toronto’s Victoria College, 93 Charles St. W., “December Heat” will receive its international premiere. The national premiere in Estonia will be held on October 16, 2008, in Tallinn.

The gala screening will continue the festival organizers’ desire to focus the spotlight on a meaningful film, as with last year’s “Singing Revolution”.

This year, “December Heat” is the film chosen to celebrate Estonia’s 90th anniversary of independence, as it speaks to yet another important moment in Estonia’s history, when its menacing eastern neighbour tried to flex its muscle to change the course of history. On December 1, 1924, Bolsheviks put their coup d’état plans into action and found themselves up against the formidable Estonian solidarity. This is not an isolated historic event, as last spring’s “Bronze Night” will attest - Russia is a threat that remains as real as it did in 1924.

The main characters in this dramatic retelling of historic events are newlyweds Tanel and Anna Rõuk who have decided to emigrate from Estonia. On the morning of their departure, the rebellion hits. Tanel, having just resigned from the military’s officer corps, must swing back into action to save his wife and his own life. The build-up to the bloody night reveals itself through the action or inaction of generals and government leaders, culminating with the secret communiqué that only Tanel can interrupt and save the nation. Among others, we meet historic characters of generals Ernst Põdder and Johan Unt, State Elder Karl Akel.

The screenplay for this thrilling film was authored by Mihkel Ullman and Lauri Vahtre and translated into the action-drama genre by producer Artur Talvik (producer of the estdocs.07 Audience Award co-winner film “Headwind Hall”), director Asko Kase in his feature film debut and Finnish D.O.P. Kjell Lagerroos leading the crew.

The stellar cast includes Liisi Koikson and Sergo Vares and many other A-list actors that are familiar to Toronto Estonians: Tõnu Kark, Ain Lutsepp, Mait Malmsten, and Piret Kalda. The film was shot on location in Tallinn’s Old Town with the production design, including costumes, props, and transport, faithfully evocative of the 20’s era.

While “December Heat” hopes to hold meaning for all ages, the war scenes make the film unsuitable for younger viewers.

Thanks to the estdocs organizers efforts and the graciousness of the film’s producer Artur Talvik, Toronto will be able to experience this new film almost concurrently with its World Premiere in Estonia. In order to ensure as wide an audience as possible, the film is subtitled into English.

Estonians may be but a small population in the world’s most multi-cultural city, but are nevertheless known for their love of the arts, including film – welcome, to the Gala Premiere of “December Heat”, at ESTDOCS.08 ! For ticket information please visit

Pastor Kalle Kadakas, programmer for ESTDOCS.08
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