This year's Estdocs festival was only a half of that held last year. Last year tired out the staff and ended with a fascinating lecture by John Ralston Saul. This one had interesting content that filled the auditoriums consistently with interesting documentaries.
The moderator was Artur Talvik, born in 1964, graduated from the Drama School of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in 1988. He has made 30 or more documentary and feature films plus over 100 commercials. He has won four EstDocs Audience Awards. Talvik was a delight this festival.
The jury this year was Jaak Jarve, illustrator, Alex Anderson, Chair of the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University and Tanel Toom, Estonian filmmaker and Academy Awards nominee.
First one was "City of Song" directed by Mikk Rand. "City" was a delightful story about a mixed choir that went on trip to Shanghai, China to compete, for the 2011 Youth Song Festival under Director Veronika Portsmuth, and won the world position.
"Descendantsof Jakob Hurt", directed by Jaak Lõhmus, was the history of a student federation that wears the hats and customs of fraternities, how they went underground during the Communist days and how they emerged again after in Estonia. Even though the production received information from Canada, there was no mention of it, the largest group of members in exile during the dark ages.
The official opening was held at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in a formal occasion at a showing of "Roots-One Hundred Years Of War And Music", a bio of Olav Roots, a music conductor/composer who after escaping Communist Estonia to Sweden went to Bogota, Colombia to found and conduct the state symphony orchestra. His son lived in Miami, Florida and his grandsons had never seen him. This is the mystery, why the estrangement of his son and grandchildren (who have gone to Estonia to find their roots). By jury selection this was the best film of the year.
A short/short film competition produced by children at the Estonian School showed incredible creativity.
"Pastacas", ball-point pen, in Finnish is a delightful piece about a free spirit living with his wife and seven year daughter, directed by Rein Kotov.
"The Year Of The Dragon" directed by Andres Soot is a classic piece shot in 1988 in Soviet black and white about the renaissance of Estonian re-independence. Having remembered this I felt every Estonian schoolchild should see this as a memento. Then I realized that there was a lack of background that has to be explained.
"Gross National Happiness" directed by Ann-Mari Neider, is a concept originated in Bhutan and in 2009. When measured around the world Estonia ranked 131 out of 143 countries. Artist Miina Hint thinks of starting a Happiness Bank. Maybe simply being involved as a volunteer with Estdocs would be a solution, I've never seen a unhappy face among them.
"A Monument To Please Everyone" directed by Kristina Norman, showed how two youg engineers designed the countries flagship monument commemorating the War of Independence. It is a sad debacle which finally gets resolved.
The Estdocs Cast
Festival Director Ellen Valter
Programming Director Killi Mirka
Programming Group Robert Hiis, Kalle Kadakas, Mart Pikov, Onnela Pukk
Technical Director Rein Ende
Technical Group Tauno Molder,Peeter Piil, Andre Vare
Communications Kaili Lupp, Maimu Molder
Facilities/Front Of House Taimi Marley, Viive Tork, Liis Truuvert
Design Virve Aljas, Tiina Aleman
Jury Consultants Ingrid Randoja, Tiina Soomet, Reet Mae
Short Film Competition Merike Kalm, Kaja Wichman
The festival was short but of good quality, looking forward to next year.
Estdocs 11 - The seventh annual documentaries festival