Ove Musting’s movie “Kalev”, inspired by the true story of when Estonia’s national basketball team won the last Soviet Union Cup in 1991, will screen at the 2023 Palm Springs International Film Festival in January.
“Kalev” will screen at the festival in Palm Springs, California, on 7, 10 and 12 January.
The movie is the story of a legendary basketball team’s tense journey through the last championships of the crumbling Soviet Union, as merciless opponents and turbulent times intertwine with fierce battles on the court. The Estonian basketball team won the last Soviet Union Cup on 6 May 1991. Less than four months later, the Soviet Union collapsed – following a failed coup in Moscow – and Estonia regained its independence.
“Kalev” had its premiere in Estonia on 22 September and so far, has been watched domestically by over 115,000 people.
Estonia’s Oscar candidate
The Estonian Film Institute has submitted “Kalev” for Oscar consideration in the Best International Feature Film category. The shortlist of 15 films that will advance to the nomination voting stage will be announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on 21 December.
According to the Estonian Film Institute, “Kalev” conveys the most important events in the recent history of Estonia – the restoration of independence, the movement towards it, and the problems and solutions that accompany it.
“Despite knowing the film’s denouement, the tension remains until the very last moment. The director and the editing work well together, which makes the scenes aptly resolved and the story extremely interesting to follow. This is complemented by exciting lighting and cinematography. Mait Malmsten’s – who plays the team’s demanding head coach, Jaak Salumets – acting also stood out,” the Estonian Film Institute’s jury, which chooses the country’s Oscar candidate each year, said in a statement.
According to the jury, the film’s director addresses themes that resonate today: the right to national self-determination, national pride, resistance to an imperialist world view and, finally, sport as a universal ideal that transcends political clichés. “The strength of ‘Kalev’ is that it is also a team film that looks at the formation of a team and the role of the individual in this process.”
A spotlight on international cinema
“Kalev” was produced by Allfilm and Ugri Film and is distributed by Hea Film.
The Palm Springs International Film Festival was started in the namesake resort city in 1989 and originally promoted by the city’s then mayor, Sonny Bono – a former actor and singer, who became famous in partnership with his second wife Cher as the popular singing duo Sonny & Cher.
Although the festival does feature American independent films, the focus from its inception was to shine a spotlight on international cinema.