Before coming to the United Kingdom to study at Screen Academy Scotland, Lauri had worked in his native Estonia’s film and TV industry for a decade, mostly as a content editor but also as a writer. The early days of his career saw him writing mostly montypythonesque absurdist comedy with fellow political scientist friends. It wasn’t until a stint at an acclaimed Estonian TV-drama series in 2009 that Lauri was inspired to further his craft and expand his horizons into more serious fields, such as drama. This journey eventually led to the MA Screenwriting at Screen Academy Scotland where programme leaders James Mavor, Nigel R Smith and others provided the support that helped Edinburgh and Screen Academy Scotland become Lauri’s home away from home almost immediately.
After graduating from Screen Academy Scotland, Lauri returned to Estonia where he has continued to work in Estonian film and TV in a range of roles, including writer, script consultant, script editor, content editor and translator. In 2018 he was one of the founding members of the Estonian Screenwriters’ Guild which has so far proved to be an important professional body which supports the rights and working conditions of writers. He is rightly proud of this achievement which has helped further strengthen the voice of screenwriters in Estonia.
Several of Lauri’s current projects which have seen interest from producers, grew from ideas generated during his time at Screen Academy. The most notable of these is The Deep the hi-tech crime/political thriller TV series which was developed from Lauri’s major project on the MA Screenwriting. Working with former classmates Alexia Fernandez Frasquet from Spain, Paul Cahill from Ireland and with MA Screenwriting Programme Leader Nigel Smith as script editor, the project is an excellent example of the kind of post-graduation collaboration that we hope to foster at Screen Academy Scotland. With Estonian, German and Swedish producers The Deep is a truly international project which is currently doing the rounds in search of finance.
Another notable success, the full length feature documentary Shusha about the first head of state of Belarus, which Lauri co-wrote and co-directed, was nominated in 2017 for an Estonian Film and Television Award.
“SAS was a sanctuary where I could delve really deep into my innermost self and explore the storyteller DNA in me. Thanks to James Mavor and Nigel R Smith but also to David Griggs and Brian Baglow I truly found myself as a storyteller and screenwriter. The nurturing atmosphere was the perfect environment to come up with many, many ideas, some of which were developed into proposal documents, outlines or even first drafts. I managed to make the most of the many opportunities at SAS; I volunteered for Cromarty Film Festival, was accepted to the Europe-wide ENGAGE Programme where I developed one of my full feature ideas, also as the student representative, I was able to create strong personal ties with tutors, staff and classmates. The mentoring I received after graduating from SAS from esteemed UK producer Iain Smith was hugely helpful. So, to sum it up, my time at Screen Academy Scotland was formative to my development as a screenwriter. SAS will always stay with me in my heart.”