In the Crosswind


A heart-wrenching tale of the fate of thousands of Estonians exiled by the Soviets in 1941, told through a woman’s hope-filled letters to her husband. A true story is brought to life using extraordinary visual techniques and distinct cinematic language.


14 June 1941. Without warning tens of thousands of people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were removed from their homes. Without any sort of trial men faced being sent to prison camps and women and children were deported to Siberia. The aim of this extraordinary operation – carried out on the orders of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin – was to purge the Baltic countries of their native inhabitants.

Erna, happily married and the mother of a young daughter, is sent to Siberia. For her, time takes on another dimension. Fighting starvation and humiliation in inhuman conditions, her soul seeks and finds freedom in the letters she sends to her husband who has been sentenced to prison camp. Even so, the years in Siberia rob Erna of something much more precious than just her youth.

This film is based on a true story and uses extraordinary visual techniques and language to tell the heart-wrenching tale of the fate of thousands of Estonians.

Film gallery


Film presentation
.pdf 59.13 kB


Director: Martti Helde
Original title: Risttuules
English title: In the Crosswind
Country of production: Estonia
Year of production: 2014
Length: 87 minutes
Color: Black & White
Shooting format: HD
Screening format: DCP CRU (1:2.39, Dolby 5.1, 2K, 2048x858, 25fps, not encrypted)
Original language: Estonian

Subtitles: English
Cast: Laura Peterson, Tarmo Song, Mirt Preegel, Ingrid Isotamm, Einar Hillep
Scriptwriter: Martti Helde
Director of photography: Erik Põllumaa
Editor: Liis Nimik
Sound design: Janne Laine
Music: Pärt Uusberg
Producers: Pille Rünk & Piret Tibbo-Hudgins
Production company: Allfilm
Supported by: Estonian Film Institute, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Estonian Ministry of Defence, Estonian Ministr

Film poster

Festivals / Awards

Toronto IFF 2014, Canada
Warsaw IFF 2014, Poland - Ecumenical Jury Award
Thessaloniki IFF 2014, Greece - Artistic Achievement Award
Mannheim Heidelberg IFF 2014, Germany - Auszeichnungen der Empfehlungsjury der Kinobetreiber
Black Nights FF Tallinn 2014, Estonia - Prize for the Best Cinematographer, the Estonian Film Award, the FICC [International Film Clubs] Don Quixote Award for Best Film
Camerimage IFF 2014, Poland
Palm Springs IFF 2015, USA
Alpe Adria Cinema Trieste 2015, Italy
Premieres Plans FF Angers, France
Scandinavian FF Los Angeles, USA
Göteborg IFF 2015, Sweden - Public Choice Award
If! Istanbul Int'l Independent FF 2015, Turkey
Chicago European Union FF 2015, USA
Estnische Filmtage München 2015, Germany
Febiofest - Prague IFF 2015, Czech Republic
Vilnius Int'l FF 2015, Lithuania
Beijing IFF 2015, China - Best Director Award
Trenton FF 2015, USA
Fajr Int'l Film Festival 2015, Iran
Jeonju IFF 2015, South Korea
Panorama Europe Film Festival NYC 2015, USA
Shanghai IFF 2015, China
Maine FF 2015, USA
Odessa IFF 2015, Ukraine
Fünf Seen Filmfestival 2015, Germany
European FF Palic 2015, Serbia
Melbourne IFF 2015, Australia - People's Choice - 3. Best Film
Sarajevo IFF 2015, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Festival "Der neue Heimatfilm" Freistadt 2015, Austria - Special Mention
Indie Film Festival 2015, Brazil
Helsinki IFF - Love & Anarchy 2015, Finnland
Waterloo Historical FF 2015, Belgium
Festival International de Cinema de Tarragona 2015, Spain - Audience Award, Special Mention
2morrow IFF, Russia 
FICAR Rabat, Morocco
Tripoli Film Festival, Lebanon -  Special Mention
NOVOS CINEMAS Pontevedra International Film Festival
Blue See Film Festival, Finland
Listapad - Minsk IFF, Belorussia
The European Union Film Festival (EUFF), Canada
Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia




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