TALLINN: Maria’s Paradise a new project by the acclaimed Finnish director Zaida Bergrot is currently shooting in Estonia. This Finnish/Estonian coproduction is based on the real events of Åkerblom's movement, a religious sect which became notorious in the 1920s Finland.
Its charismatic leader Maria Åkerblom is believed to have exercised complete control over her followers, some of whom were accused of various crimes including murder. Extensive research done by screenwriter Anna Viitala revealed the mysterious disappearance of a teenager, which became the starting point of the story. Jan Forsström is the co-writer.
The main characters are played by: Satu-Tuuli Karhu, Pihla Viitala, Tommi Korpela, Rein Oja, Katariina Tamm and Ott Aardam.
Maria’s Paradise is produced by Daniel Kuitunen and Kaisla Viitala through the Finnish companies Komeetta and Kaiho Republic in coproduction with Evelin Penttilä through Estonia’s Stellar. Liisa Penttilä-Asikainen is executive producer.
The budget of 1,654,023 EUR budget is supported by the Finnish Film Foundation with 805,000 EUR, the Estonian Film Institute with 100,000 EUR and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia with 35,000 EUR. Film Estonia cash rebate, the Finnish broadcasting company YLE, Finnish Church Media Foundation and the Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK) Finland are also supporting. The Estonian rebate amounts to 219,995 EUR.
Shooting kicked off in 2 July 2018 and will wrap in autumn 2018. Shooting largely takes place in Olustvere and the Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia. The release is set for autumn 2019. Nordisk Film is handling the sales for the Nordic countries, while Level K is the international sales agent.
Credits:Director: Zaida BergrothScriptwriters: Anna Viitala & Jan ForsströmDoP: Hena BlombergProduction designer: Jaagup RoometCast: Satu-Tuuli Karhu, Pihla Viitala, Tommi Korpela, Rein Oja, Katariina Tamm, Ott Aardam