Estonian Sports Biopic Kalev Ready to Score Big in Domestic Cinemas

    Kalev by Ove Musting Kalev by Ove Musting photo: Allfilm

    TALLINN: Kalev, a biopic about the legendary Estonian basketball team of the nineties, will be released domestically by Hea film on 22 September 2022, after a difficult production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kalev is the directorial debut of the renowned music video maker Ove Musting.

    The film is a biographical account of the Soviet Estonian national basketball team Kalev, who had a very difficult decision to make in 1990. The Soviet Union was teetering on the verge of collapse, while the little Baltic nations struggled to take back their lost independence. When the Soviet Union basketball championship was set to begin on the backdrop of a deeply divided society, the team had to decide whether to participate or not.

    The production schedule proved to be a nightmare. After the first shooting period on location from 14 to 19 February 2020, Estonia went into lockdown. The shooting could only move forward in June, from 2 to 29 June, when the film was shot in the studio and on location, then in Tihemetsa from 27 to 30  July, and Riga from 1 to 5 August 2020. Further restrictions delayed the shoot to 16 - 25 May 2021, in the Saku Suurhall sports hall in Tallinn, with the final game also shot there, on 5 - 6 June 2021.

    “In addition to postponing the shooting three times, we were faced with the problem of rescheduling the training sessions of the actors, i.e preparation. We couldn’t plan anything because the sports venues were closed”, producer Pille Rünk told FNE.

    “It was a serious logistics exercise for the whole team, constant preparation and also rebooting. We should have finished in August 2020, but finally managed to do that in May 2021. That was not the end of it, because all the postproduction schedules started shifting. Part of our VFX team is from Ukraine, so the Ukrainian War made it impossible for them to continue, and we were also faced with serious inflation caused by the war and also with some COVID-19 after-effects”, Pille Rünk also said.

    Estonian Allfilm and Ugri Film are producing with Latvian Ego Media providing services for the shooting in Latvia.

    The 2.5 m EUR budget was covered solely from Estonian sources, with national funds Estonian Film Institute and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia putting up the majority, and the rest covered by private investments, the Estonian Ministry of Culture COVID-19 Support, and also the Riga Film Fund and the National Film Centre of Latvia through the Latvian cash rebate schemes.

    The film is lensed by one of the most experienced Estonian cinematographers, Rein Kotov.

    Production Information:

    Allfilm (Estonia)
    Pille Rünk: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Ugri Film (Estonia)
    Maria Avdjushko: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Director: Ove Musting
    DoP: Rein Kotov E.S.C.
    Screenwriters: Mehis Pihla, Ove Musting, Martin Algus
    Production designer: Tiiu-Ann Pello
    Composer: Mihkel Zilmer
    Sound designer: Matis Rei
    Costume designer: Mare Raidma
    Make-up artist: Liisi Põllumaa
    VFX: Frost Films
    Cast: Mait Malmsten, Priit Võigemast, Reimo Sagor, Mihkel Kuusk, Howard Frier, Veiko Porkanen, Kristjan Sarv, Ott Kartau, Andris Keišs, Jekabs Reinis