Sauna Day by Baltic Pitching Forum alumni Anna Hints and Tushar Prakash will premiere in Critics’ Week programme at Cannes Film Festival


The new short film Sauna Day, directed by Anna Hints and Tushar Prakash, was selected to premiere as the first Estonian film in the special programme of La Semaine de la Critique (Critics’ Week) at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. This film project was presented at the Baltic Pitching Forum in 2022 and won one of the main awards.

According to director Anna Hints, the smoke sauna continues to be an inspiring environment to observe relationships between people: “When Smoke Sauna Sisterhood took us to the realm of women, then Sauna Day takes us to the male world and touches upon the intimacy between men. Critics’ Week is a fantastic opportunity. The fact that the programmers see freshness and originality in this short poetic film brings happiness and gives me the courage to continue my path.”

For Tushar Prakash, Sauna Day is a very personal film: “Sauna Day continues to explore themes of masculinity and the secrets that lie behind the veil of strength – a continuation of themes from our film “Eesti mees”. These themes are very personal to me, as I have struggled with the traditional constraints of what it means to be a strong man since childhood. I am honoured to premiere our film at Cannes. It is deeply touching for me that something so local and personal resonates on such a global level.“

Producer Johanna Maria Paulson says: “We are honoured to premiere our film at a festival where many of the biggest names in art house cinema started from. Sauna Day was shot last summer in Võrumaa, where our small film crew and cast intertwined with the local community, making the whole process a special and different experience. Most of the crew has a close connection to Southern Estonia, and both the Estonian and Võro language can be heard in the film. Anna and Tushar have co-created a gentle and universal film that transcends borders and is enriched by elements that are specific to Estonia.”

Edith Sepp, CEO of the Estonian Film Institute, comments: “The Cannes Film Festival is a great opportunity for Estonian filmmakers Anna and Tushar to gain international visibility and thereby draw attention to our entire film industry. Pure joy at the continued success of Estonian films!”

Sauna Day invites you into the world of Southern Estonian men who go to the dark-intimate space of a smoke sauna after a hard day’s work. Beneath their tough exteriors lies a desire for connection, veiled in secrecy.

Written and directed by Anna Hints and Tushar Prakash. Producers Johanna Maria Paulson and Evelin Penttilä (Stellar Film), cinematographer Ants Tammik, artist Inga Vares, editor Emeri Abel and sound designer Tanel Kadalipp. Agur Seim and Rasmus Kaljujärv play the leading roles, with supporting roles by Olev Pant, Karep Rutov, Tarmo Lõiv, Priit Bulin, Marianne Kütt, Marin Mägi-Efert, Kaja Solom and Liina Prii.

Sauna Day is supported by Estonian Film Institute, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Tartu Film Fund and Creative Europe MEDIA.