EstDocs 2015 Short Film Competition Results
The films submitted were by professional filmmakers and film enthusiasts. The quality of the films submitted this year was good and the jury thanks each of the filmmakers for their efforts. The jury has valued the opportunity to screen the films, with diverse interpretations of Estonian stories and the jury selections reflect the broad range of styles and topics among the films.
The jury deliberations were based on three key aspects of filmmaking: technical (cinematography, audio, editing), narrative (story line flow, originality and ability to capture the viewer's attention) and production design, as well as meeting the criteria for the competition (length and fit with theme).
1st Prize: Hilda (Jaak Kilmi and Aleksandr Heifets)
Hilda is a charming portrayal of a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. It has universal appeal and is visually appealing. Hilda herself is an engaging character, whose story reflects the passing of an important Estonian generation who got us to where we are today. Her comments about "knowing each bush and each tree" bring us back to a realization of the value of rootedness in place in each Estonian's life.
2nd Prize: Seedrioru: Suvihari 60th Anniversary (Steve Zilberman)
Seedrioru is a well executed film, which provides a '"slice of life" view of some of the activities that "väliseestlased" or the Diaspora community has created in order to preserve their language and culture. It has fast tempo, quick editing and carries a valuable message of preserving our heritage for the Estonian community.
Honourable mention is given to three films this year. Each of these reflects in some way "väliseesti" or Diaspora Estonian life. Perhaps the category here could be "Välis-Eesti elu".
In these, it is the idea that matters and the films provide a means of connecting the experiences of various exile communities. Two of the films in this category were produced by amateur filmmakers and they are to be applauded for their efforts and the stories they tell.
Mis on Eesti Kool? (Stellan Särlefalk), is a coherent historical perspective on the Estonian schools in Sweden, and shows the diligence with which Estonians there have maintained their commitment to keep their exile community together.
Estonian Club (Andres Sooneste) by an amateur filmmaker provides a delightful glimpse, into how Estonian culture was shared and promoted by Estonians in Japan. Perhaps unexpectedly, we see an entire class of young Japanese students dancing "Kaera Jaan", with such seriousness, and commitment to learning this dance from a far off country.
Vabadus (Joanna Laast), is a charming amateur video, which reflects the longing of all Estonians to be connected to nature, by highlighting young Estonian girls living in "vabadus" or "freedom" at their cottage in the woods. This theme runs through the lives of many Estonians, whatever age they are and the young filmmakers are to be commended for their first effort. This film could inspire many younger Canadian Estonians to appreciate their roots, to travel to Estonia and experience this simple and raw way of life.
The Otto Rannamäe Memorial Audience Award went also to Hilda (Jaak Kilmi and Aleksandr Heifets), based on the voting results at Stephen Bulger Gallery on October 3rd.
All the 2015 short films can be seen here: