Baltic Event Co-Production Market

Dirt in Your Face

Original title
Musta pori näkku
Country
Estonia, Latvia, Finland
Language
Estonian
Genre
drama
Logline

17-year-old Mihkel and his band go on a journey full of alcohol, protest and music to impress a foreign producer from the West visiting a rock festival in 1980s Soviet Estonia. In their struggle to keep their band together, they help splitting the Soviet Union.

Synopsis

In the summer of 1987, Estonia languishes under Soviet rule, stifling free expression. 17-year-old Mihkel, a rebellious musician, and his rival Hendrik learn of a Finnish talent scout visiting Estonia. To impress him, they must journey to a distant rock festival on the other side of the country. They assemble a group, including Mihkel's secret love Liisa. Amid rivalry and chaos, they navigate challenges, discovering their true selves along the way. Through adversity, friendship, music, and love take on new meaning.
The youth film “Dirt in Your Face” with biographical elements takes place in one of the most interesting and controversial periods in the history of Estonian music. It's an inside view of the musical subcultures of Eastern Europe that were under the yoke of the Soviet Union, it's an inside view of a society that longed for freedom and finally sang itself free. The film is inspired by the best-selling novel “Musta pori näkku” written by Mihkel Raud in 2008.

More info about the project

Summer 1987. Estonia is still under Soviet rule, the blue-black-white flag is banned and the system stifles free thinking. 17-year-old Mihkel spends his time partying and playing in his heavy band. One day, his friend and rival Hendrik storms into the rehearsal room, announcing that a Finnish producer has come to look for new talent behind the Iron Curtain. For a chance to impress him, they have to go to a rock festival on the other side of Estonia.

A dream team is assembled and charged with youthful bravado and insecurity, the tour is ready to take off. Mihkel has his own conditions - he is the leader of the band. Hendrik promises to respect Mihkel's conditions. Meanwhile, Hendrik's new girlfriend Liisa, who happens to be Mihkel's secret love interest, joins the ride and makes matters more complicated.

The rivalry between Mihkel and Hendrik is accompanied by their friend Reaper’s ability to always get himself into trouble. The punk Reaper is opposed by Ingvar, a futuman brought along as a drummer, who is doing his last tour before finally diving into family life.

On a three-day journey through Estonia, they get into unexpected and crazy troubles. Mihkel, who so far had devoted himself to music, discovers that maybe the answer to his true desires lies in love instead.

Finally reaching the festival venue, it welcomes the entourage with a Woodstock atmosphere attended by the top ensembles of Soviet Estonia and, of course, the Finnish talent hunter. The friends overcome their contradictions and take the stage. But the big moment turns into a musical failure when Reaper accidentally short-circuits the sound remote. Turns out, Reaper has come to the festival with bigger plans. During the boys' performance, he hangs a forbidden blue-black-white flag on the stage. Militia begins to control the youth rebellion that breaks out. In the middle of all this, drummer Ingvar has a heart attack. Friendship, principles, music and love, it all suddenly gets a completely new meaning.

Director's note:
Our characters are at that tender age when bravado masks inner insecurities, dreams can bury reality, and love can complicate an already fragile inner constitution. Despite the confrontations between friends, they are still fighting on the same side of the frontline against the rigid Soviet system. To bring out the essence of youth and the potential fireworks hidden within a stagnant society, we aim to cast very young actors aged 17-21, who are yet to make a name for themselves. Our characters are diverse and colourful, with some being pure comic characters and others having dramatic potential. Our goal is to create a period piece filled with music, relationships, comedy, tragedy, and exciting action. The film will be loaded with hits from the time period. Music will be an integral part of the main characters’ lives, surrounding them from above, below, and all around.

Producer's note:
The late 80s, the final years of the Soviet Union, all left their mark on the world. For so many European countries, this controversial but interesting time was the breaking point for a better future and finally tangible freedom. Our story is an inside view of the youth in a society that longed for freedom and finally sang itself free.

Based on probably the most talked about and read book of last decades in Estonia, it is a true story, an honest story and a story of unlikely heroes and how youthful inconsideration got the history moving faster than all the planning and calculations of the wise.

Director
Jaak Kilmi
Screenwriter
Martin Algus
Producer
Kristian Taska
Co-producer
Adeele Tähemaa, Ilkka Matila, Janis Kalejs, Tanel Tatter, Veiko Esken
Production
Taska Film
Co-production
Apollo Film Productions, Film Angels Productions, MRP Matila Röhr Productions
Budget
2000000 €
Financed
600000 €
Looking for
co-producers, sales agent, distributors, foreign broadcasters
Contact name
Kristian Taska
Contact email
film@taska.ee
Contact web
www.taska.ee
Jaak Kilmi
Director
Jaak Kilmi

Jaak Kilmi (1973) graduated from the Tallinn University, majoring in film directing. He has (co-) directed and produced a string of successful short films; a number of documentary films and five feature films. His films have been awarded internationally and have enjoyed successful theater runs in Estonia.

Juminda: On the Burning Sea, 2023 Sleeping Beast, 2022, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11898996/ Christmas in the Jungle, 2020, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11318886/ My Father The Spy, 2019, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9889412/ The Dissidents, 2017, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6025806/

Kristian Taska
Producer
Kristian Taska

The main producer of Taska Film is the owner and founder of the company Kristian Taska. Before the establishment of Taska Film, he was the advertising manager (1992-1997) and then general manager and chairman (1998-2000) of the TV station Kanal 2. He was also the general manager and member of the board of Estonian Drama Theater (Eesti Draamateater) in 2005-2006. Kristian Taska is a member of the ACE producers' network and is an alumnus of European Film Promotion.

Adeele Tähemaa
Co-producer
Adeele Tähemaa

Adeele Tähemaa is a producer at the Estonian film production company Taska Film. Over the years, she has been involved with projects like the medieval crime thriller Melchior the Apothecary and international co-productions like The Eternal Road (2016) and TV series All the Sins (2019-2022). In 2023, she is in production with three projects: Life and Love (Helen Takkin), The Shadow (Jaak Kilmi), and a Finnish-Estonian-Swedish-Austrian-German co-production Never Alone (Klaus Härö).

Tanel Tatter
Co-producer
Tanel Tatter

Apollo Film Production is a creative team focusing on theatre and film production. The company features two producers - Tanel Tatter and Veiko Esken.

Veiko Esken
Co-producer
Veiko Esken

Apollo Film Production is a creative team focusing on theatre and film production. The company features two producers - Tanel Tatter and Veiko Esken.

Martin Algus
Screenwriter
Martin Algus

Martin Algus is an Estonian actor, writer, screenwriter, and playwright. He is most known for writing feature films and TV series. His filmography includes some of Estonia's most-watched features and TV series, including The Dissidents done in collaboration with director Jaak Kilmi and Taska Film.