Eesti Elu
The Singing Revolution: A story of hope and inspiration
Archived Articles 12 Dec 2008  Eesti Elu
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NEW YORK, November 24, 2008 – In a time when seemingly never-ending wars and horrific terrorist attacks dominate the news, one film continues to inspire audiences with its stirring songs of freedom and powerful message of peaceful opposition. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Linda Hunt, The Singing Revolution chronicles Estonia’s nonviolent path to reclaiming its independence after nearly 60 years of oppressive Soviet occupation, illustrating how “revolution” doesn’t need to mean “war,” and why the price of freedom is not always measured by the number of lives lost.

After spending nearly a year and a half touring theatrically in the United States, Canada and Europe, The Singing Revolution now has been released on DVD with a Collector’s Edition and an Educational version, both available at The three-disc set features the English-language movie with more than four hours of additional interview segments, full-color instructor’s manual, newsreels, 15 historical maps of Europe (courtesy Times of London), and 30 printable historical documents and letters.

The DVD release was launched in October with a sold-out, standing-room-only screening and panel discussion at New York City’s Village East Theater, the site of the film’s 2007 theatrical premiere and record-breaking extended run. In addition to Estonian Consul General Jaanus Kirikmäe and his wife, Merle, the event was attended by an impressive number of journalists and nearly 200 fans who continue to be captivated by this little-known story of victory over tyranny, which brings to light one of the Soviet Union’s great defeats. Following the screening, a riveted audience listened as four Estonian-American panelists shared their harrowing experiences of living through, and eventually escaping from, the horrors of the Soviet onslaught.

The tenacity of award-winning filmmakers Jim and Maureen Tusty in creating The Singing Revolution is almost as gripping as the Estonian story itself. Captivated by the experiences of those who lived through the Soviet occupation, Jim realized he had “never seen a film where the hero is -- an entire nation. It’s a testament to the Estonian people and how they handled themselves.” Telling the story was itself an enormous undertaking. To illustrate the peaceful demonstrations that openly defied Estonia’s Soviet occupiers, Jim and Maureen spent years collecting footage from news programs, home movies and true-life survivor accounts to authentically document historical events. The results speak for themselves. After years of devoted labor, Jim and Maureen now have been acclaimed as innovative, maverick, Do-It-Yourself film distributors by The New York Times for “walking” the film around the U.S., personally appearing at scores of screenings nationwide.

In fact, The Singing Revolution has screened at nearly 200 theaters and been seen by over a hundred thousand people, making it one of only a handful of 2008 independent movies that was seen at more than a few cinemas. Defying all expectations, this independent documentary that has no Hollywood hype budget behind it continues to astound both audiences and industry insiders alike.

The Singing Revolution demonstrates in one gorgeous epic how Estonia drove itself to independence through unity, determination, and the irrepressible desire for freedom, proving that there truly is another way. The story of Estonia’s inspirational rebirth as a sovereign nation now has been wholeheartedly embraced by American audiences, thanks to a pair of extremely determined filmmakers who knew, somehow, that Estonia’s is a universal tale, which would inspire millions.
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