Shooting began this July 28th on magical-realist tragedy 8 Views of Lake Biwa. The Estonian-Finnish co-production is led by Estonia’s most established film production company, Allfilm, partnering with Helsinki-based Bufo. Animated segments will be handled in Hungary, making the project a first fully Finno-Ugric co-operation.

The film marks writer-director Marko Raat’s fiction feature return after a decade of documentaries at a variety of international film festivals, galleries and museums, including a short film at the Venice Biennale. Raat’s previous fiction work was Snow Queen, an Estonian-Norwegian co-production.

Allfilm’s Ivo Felt is delegate producer, with Dora Nedeczky also producing. Felt’s previous work include Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines, nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe, as well as Klaus Härö’s The Fencer, nominated for the Golden Globe. Recent release Truth and Justice broke all the box office records in Estonia, while Felt also worked as a local Service Producer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Nedeczky has produced a number of acclaimed shorts with British auteur Peter Strickland, as well as a number of experimental features in her native Hungary.

Bufo’s Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari are co-producers. Their latest productions include Aki Kaurismäki’s Berlinale Silver Bear Winner The Other Side of Hope, (co-produced with Sputnik). Bufo and Allfilm have most recently worked together on Saara Saarela’s dystopian drama Memory of Water, which will be released in 2022.

Centering on the coming-of-age tale of teenage protagonist, Hanake, 8 Views features a blend of Baltic-Japanese culture and imagery, wrapped in a net of tragic love stories in the community and told through the prism of the “Eight Views” art tradition. The cast is a mix of interdisciplinary art-world talent (Estonian Gen-Z popstar) and film-focused (Finland’s Tommi Korpela)

The majority of 8 Views’ filming will take place near Estonia’s Lake Peipus, on the Russian-Estonian border. In keeping with the story, loosely based on Max Dauthendey’s eponymous 1911 novel, shooting will take place amongst an Old Believers community – religious refugees who fled Russia in the 17th century. The film integrates a wide range of poetic, literary and liturgical references.

The project was previously presented at the Baltic Event co-production market in 2020 and at Marché du Film’s Co-Production Day in 2021.

Shooting will continue until September, with a planned world premiere in 2023.