The Estonian entry at the Fourth Annual European Union Film Festival in Toronto was "Taarka".
"Taarka" is the first film made in Seto dialect, actually language, from the southeast corner of Estonia. The film was made this year and is 94 minutes in length. Ain Mäeots directed Taarka with actors Inga Salurand, Siiri Sisak, Marje Metsur and Mikko O. Nousiainen.
The festival took place at Innis College (University of Toronto) and the Royal Cinema and this particular film was screened at Innis on November 17th 2008. The point man from the Estonian community was Honorary Consul General Laas Leivat.
Hilana Taarka was a real person – an individualist known for her singing, which was very much in demand, especially at weddings. The singing was very much like "rap" sort of like "Seto Rap." We got there first… The dialogue of the songs/rap was charming, consoling, condemning, angry and happy.
Taarka ended being a single mother because her longtime boyfriend's mother wouldn't let him marry her for lack of dowry. Her father had gambled away the family fortune. That didn't slow her down any and she was a local feminist hero.
Taarka went to Finland to perform (during Estonia’s first independence), though I doubt if even the Finns could understand her either. Seto is so different a language.
The film was well done, the acting was good, the characters were interesting and the story was well written.
Taarka plays Toronto