The fifth EstDocs is underway, this time with even a larger audience than before, adding venues as it goes. The fifteen volunteers run the operation with well-oiled precision. The President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves is the Honourary Patron, providing the introduction in the festival’s programme. This year’s EstDocs has been given coverage by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Toronto Star, among other media outlets.
The host and discussion moderator this year is teacher of film and director of a few of the films on this program, Jaak Kilmi.
The jury this year is chair Alan Teder, a music and film enthusiast of depth, Eda Sepp, an art and feminism theorist who has taught at both Toronto universities as well as in Estonia, and Latvian Mara Ravins, who has worked 20 years in most areas of the film industry.
But now the films:
Kihnu Wedding Prd. Erik Norkroos, dir. Meelis Muhu, 97 min. 2009.
We start with the bride and groom at the government office, both are dressed in modern wedding costume, she in a long white dress, he in a black suit, but then it all reverts to traditional practices. They head for the island, off the southern coast of Estonia, where they go to the Orthodox church, with the bride now dressed in folk costume. After that the partying starts, but there are two simultaneous festivities, one at the groom’s home and one at the bride’s. We end up as guests in the three-day joyous carry-on and the singing takes us back several hundred years. Kept one laughing.
Wolf Prd. Artur Talvik, dir. Priit Valkna, 28 min. 2003.
At the Latvian border in what used to be known as Livonia, myth implies that the area is home to the supernatural werewolf. The film explores all aspects of the legends that still exist in this area called Haanja.
Sisters Across The Gulf of Finland Prd. Pille Rünk, dir. Imbi Paju, 52 min. 2009 (world premiere).
The story of several women who survived the onslaught of the Communists in the Second World War. The film is often depressing, though realistic.
Children Of The Singing Revolution Prd. Raivo Lugima, Taago Kõrs, Katrin Lugima, dir. Arvo Iho, 55 min. 2004.
The film shows the Estonian Television Girls Choir rehearsing, performing through the intertwining of the growth of newly independent Estonia. The expert choir singing is worth the price of admission alone. The locales of the choir competitions are breathtaking.
Brave New World Prd. Erik Norkroos, dir. Jaan Tootsen, 27 min. 2006.
Three people, recycler Artur Taevere, fashion designer Reet Aus and artist Peeter Laurits show how to live a minimalist yet functional lifestyle.
Fox Season Prd. Liina Paakspuu, Arian Levin, dir. Liina Paakspuu, 12 min. 2007.
A rather unsettling film of Rauno who travels 1,000 km each year to work for 3 months a year in a fox farm. He slaughters the foxes in the winter to get the white fur. During the film several people left. The purpose of a journalistic documentary is to rouse emotions and this film did that well.
Beauty Of The Fatherland Prd. Anu Veermäe, Rudolf Konimois, dir. Jaak Kilmi, Andres Maimik, 56 min. 2001.
Another journalistic documentary that stirs emotions. This is story of two women, one the granddaughter of a former Estonian prime minister who runs a Girl Scout troop and fills their heads with tripe, the other a Soviet era supermodel who organizes beauty pageants for young and big girls. Again unsettling. Well done.
More to come.