Finnish production outfit, MR Matila Rohr Productions, will co-produce Georg, a $2.76m (Euros 2.1m) biopic of Estonian singer Georg Ots, who in the 1960s was as popular as The Beatles behind the Iron Curtain - 'and in Finland, too,' added Finnish producer Ilkka Matila.

Starring Marko Matvere and Anastasia Makejeva, the film is staged by Estonia 's Lege Artis Film, Allfilm and Russia 's Central National Film.

Scripted by Mati Poldre and Aleksander Borodjanski, it is directed by Peeter Simm, whose Good Hands won several international awards in 2002.

A young navy officer, Ots escaped a sinking ship and was taken prisoner in Russia. Upon his return to Tallin, he auditioned for the conservatory and was accepted. Between 1951-1975 he was one of the most revered performers in the major opera houses of the then-Soviet Union.

Fluent in six languages, Ots also interpreted popular songs; his voice was heard on radio and television all over the Eastern Bloc, and his records were sold by the thousands. After his death in 1975 the Estonian Music High School was named after him, as well as a plant, a ferry, a street and a minor planet.

'The film is about his career, and his complicated life during a period of change. He married a former child star, and while he rose to fame, she lost it, and their relationsip deteriorated,' Matila explained.

Georg will be launched in Estonia, Russia and Finland (by Nordisk Film) later this year.