Imbi Paju documentary (26)
Archived Articles 15 Feb 2007 JBANCEWR
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Washington, DC (JBANC) — Estonian journalist and film director Imbi Paju is in the United States this week showing her documentary film about the brutality of the Soviet occupation of Estonia to audiences in seven locations in Washington DC and Maryland.

"Memories Denied" ("Torjutut muistot" in Finnish) documents the story of Imbi Paju's mother and aunt as they relive their ordeal, nearly sixty years later. The documentary, which has just been published in book form by the same name in Finland, chronicles their wartime experience through Soviet and Nazi occupations, and the day the sisters were jailed by the Soviet regime as "bandits" in 1948, leading to six years of imprisonment in the Gulag. The 2005 Finnish-Estonian co production, which has garnered international praise, was the feature film to kick off the recent seventh Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) conference in Washington, DC (

The JBANC February 9-10 conference, entitled "Oil and Blood: Baltic Energy and the Legacy of Communism" brought together more than 200 Baltic-Americans, foreign policy specialists, government officials, and members of the diplomatic community, to discuss two primary topics - the current energy security situation in the Baltic region, and also the legacy of communism and remembrance projects.

Featured speakers were Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, and United States Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, who recently spoke at the NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia on energy security threats.

In addition to Imbi Paju and other documentary film projects, the conference lineup included Cannes Film Festival award winning Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. Nekrasov, involved in projects recording communism's fallout, showed his documentary "My Friend Sasha: A Very Russian Murder" about poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, a close friend of Nekrasov's. The film recently premiered on BBC television.

Besides the conference kickoff screening at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a prestigious foreign policy think tank, "Memories Denied" is being shown in five locations in the State of Maryland that have developed close ties with Estonia. The films are being shown at the University of Baltimore, St. John's College in Annapolis (the third oldest college in the United States), Salisbury University, Frostburg State University, and Garrett College. Imbi Paju's United States tour ends with a screening at the Goethe Institute in Washington DC on Saturday February 17. That event is being co-sponsored by the Embassy of Estonia.
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