It is the tenth year for EstDocs. What was the inspiration for launching the festival?
The festival started with very humble beginnings. There was an offer from Estonia to show a series of documentary films in Canada and local organizers seized on the opportunity to create something even larger – a reoccurring festival. The public loved it. In today’s very visual world, the film festival works brilliantly as an effective and fun way to educate attendees about what Estonians are doing globally. Language is no barrier to the messages of the films to those who do not speak Estonian, since the films are subtitled in English. The festival continues to grow in popularity with English-speaking Canadians.
In your view, how would you characterize the mission of EstDocs and the role that it serves within the Estonian community?
In addition to being a bridge between those in Estonia and in Canada, we try to introduce a little about who Estonians are to ordinary Canadians. The films, the commentary by our festival moderators and the Q&A sessions offer an opportunity for meaningful dialogue on a variety of subjects.
How successful has the EstDocs 7-min short film competition been?
The 7-min short film competition is our pride and joy. We are delighted that this year’s entries have come from both professional filmmakers on both sides of the ocean, as well as by novices, some in their teens. We encourage youth to “test their wings”, so to speak, in an Estonian themed context. The interest in EstDocs by professional film makers is fantastic.
Animation is big this year at EstDocs. Can you give a brief introduction to Estonia’s animation scene?
Estonia has been at the forefront of documenting life through animation. Estonia’s animation filmmakers began being noticed internationally with awards in the 1970s. We are especially excited to have the newest work of one of Estonia’s great masters – Priit Pärn, along with Olga Pärn – at EstDocs this year. We are screening their “Pilots on the Way Home”. This particular film has been created in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada.
What are some of the unique highlights that attendees will find at this year’s EstDocs?
Well, we just had our kick-off event where we showed all the 7-min short film competition entries this past Friday – a first at EstDocs. We have also introduced a new award, the Audience Favourite Award for the 7-min shorts in competition. We are also looking forward to our first ever dinner-with-a-movie event at the Estonian House, and of course, there is our movie marathon screening event, where we are showing a whole series of approximately 30-minute short films. We encourage EstDocs patrons to bring along a friend this year and help introduce Estonian culture and history through film to Canadians.
For more information about the EstDocs film schedule, please visit www.estdocs.com . Program booklets are available at various locations in the city, including the Estonian House, Tartu College and the Estonian Foundation of Canada.
Interview with EstDocs Director Kristi Doughty