MS Estonia ferry disaster to be made into drama series in intl cooperation

  • 2022-02-01
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - This spring, Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Belgium will start shooting an eight-part TV drama series about the sinking of the passenger ferry MS Estonia and the work of the subsequently formed Estonian-Finnish-Swedish joint committee of inquiry. 

The shooting of the series, which is set to premier in fall 2022, will be conducted in cooperation between the Finnish company Fisher King, Estonian Amrion, Swedish Karnfilm and Belgian Panache Productions. The series will examine the circumstances of the ferry disaster through the eyes of various characters, such as rescuers at sea, crew members and passengers. The survivors, next of kin, politicians and journalists will all have a story to tell in the production. The final episodes of the series will present the final report of the inquiry committee and reactions thereto.

"The sinking of MS Estonia was a terrible tragedy, in which a terrifying number of lives were lost. We aimed to show what extreme circumstances can tell about the human nature, but also that if people no longer have hope, they can still show humanity," Riina Sildos, producer of the TV series from the Estonian side, said. 

The MS Estonia disaster particularly affected three states -- Estonia, Finland, and Sweden -- and thus, the production crew consists of screenwriters and experts from these countries.

"Addressing such a sensitive topic must be done in a balanced, respectful and artistically engaging way, but at the same time keeping in mind the international audience," Sildos said. "We believe that this is possible only through a common vision of people from all three countries. It is also important to mention that Estonia alone would not be able to develop such a large-scale project and it could only take place in the form of co-production, as in this case with Finland.” 

From Estonia's side, the project includes screenwriters Livia Ulman and Andris Feldmanis, production designer Matis Maesalu, costume designer Jaanus Vahtra, makeup artists Kaire Hendrikson, casting director Piret Toomvap-Schanberg, assistant director Ralf Siig and many others.

The development of the TV series is also being supported by the Estonian Film Institute.