Estonias Melchior the Apothecary Passes COVID Milestone C&E Europe News in Brief
Elmo Nüganen’s historical crime thriller “Melchior the Apothecary” has become the first Estonian film to cross the 50,000 admission mark at the local box office in the two years of the pandemic. The film, which was released by Hea Film on April 11, tops the box office with 57,456 admissions, according to Film New Europe.
The pic is the initial instalment in a trilogy – the first time a movie trilogy has been produced in Estonia. All three films were shot simultaneously in 2020. The second film of the series should reach cinemas on Aug. 19, 2022, and the third on Oct. 14, 2022.
Based on a crime bestseller by Indrek Hargla, “Melchior the Apothecary” tells the story of an apothecary in medieval Tallinn, who has a knack for solving mysteries and is employed by the city to untangle a mysterious murder case.
The film, which stars young Estonian actor Märten Metsaviir, was produced by four Estonian companies: Taska Film, Nafta Film, Hansa Film and Apollo Film Productions, and coproduced by Latvia’s Film Angels Productions, Lithuania’s InScript and Germany’s Maze Pictures.
Admissions in Georgia Show Rise in 2021
Admissions to local films increased in Georgia from 2,000 in 2020 to approximately 10,000 in 2021, while total admissions increased from 230,160 in 2020 to approximately 560,000 in 2021.
A total of 119 titles were theatrically released in 2021, compared with 67 in 2020.
Gvantsa Garmelia, marketing director of Cavea Cinemas, said: “COVID-19 has severely affected cinema exhibition in Georgia. The cinemas were closed for the better part of 2020. The last film screened on March 16, 2020, and the doors did not open until April 8, 2021. It is difficult to compare 2020 with 2021, as in the former we’ve only been able to show films for two and a half months, but the box office has been steadily increasing since the opening in April 2021.
“The restrictions were in place since day one (only 50% of the seats were allowed to be sold), and they remained in place till the end of 2021, affecting the admissions. Regardless of that, people have been eager to return to cinemas. The biggest wave was around October 2021 when ‘Venom,’ ‘Dune’ and the new James Bond were released in cinemas.”
In 2021, the top three local films were “Negative Numbers,” directed by Uta Beria and produced by Magnet Films, “Brighton 4th,” directed by Levan Koguashvili and produced by Kino Iberica, and “Beginning,” directed by Dea Kulumbegashvili and produced by First Picture.
U.S. films dominated Georgian theaters in 2021: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” led, followed by “F9” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.”
Croatian Film Days Announces Program
The 31st edition of the Croatian Film Days will screen 73 films, selected from 179 applicants. The event, an overview of short and mid-length films produced in Croatia, will take place in Zagreb May 10-14.
Ten titles will compete in the animated film category, 15 in the documentary competition, 16 in the experimental film category, 16 in the fiction film category, and 16 titles in the video competition.
There will be a few feature films screening, such as the documentaries “Factory to the Workers” by Srđan Kovačević, produced by Fade In, “Windows” by Damir Radić, produced by Blank_filmski inkubator, and “Bigger Than Trauma” by Vedrana Pribačić and Marta Puhlovski, produced by Metar60.
Croatian Film Days is a national festival founded in 1991 and organized by the Croatian Film Association. The awards are given by a jury, the Croatian Society of Film Critics, and the audience.
This article is published in partnership with online news service Film New Europe, which covers film and TV industry news from across Central and Eastern Europe.
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