October 27th, 2007 (Toronto, Canada)…The closing film HEADWIND HALL at the third annual estdocs Estonian Documentary Film Festival in Toronto brought Estonia and Canada one step closer together through the virtual convenience of Skype.
“We’ve had a stupendous third year in which we brought estdocs to a much higher level,” observes estdocs film festival Director Ellen Valter. “The festival offered a diverse showcase of quality films to interest discerning Canadian film enthusiasts,” she adds. “Work has already begun on exciting new elements for estdocs to impress 2008 audiences.”
The estdocs film festival screenings were held at various venues in Toronto, including the Ontario Science Centre, Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto, Tartu College and the Estonian House. estdocs, which ran from October 19-26, 2007, was home to 19 films, of which the overwhelming majority were Canadian premieres, one a world premiere. The festival even won the approval of Estonian President Toomas H. Ilves, who accepted an invitation this year to become the festival’s honorary patron.
Today, two estdocs honours were announced to the public. The winner of the 2007 estdocs Jury Award was Jim Tusty’s long-anticipated American film production THE SINGING REVOLUTION, produced by Jim Tusty and Maureen Castle. An Honorable Mention nod went to Priit Valkna’s HEADWIND HALL, produced by Artur Talvik.
“It was not an easy decision for the jury,” concedes jury chair and Canadian filmmaker Tiina Soomet. “Our final selection was based on the fact that THE SINGING REVOLUTION presents a very moving, well-focused account of the experience of the Estonians living in Estonia during the Singing Revolution and speaks eloquently to both Estonian and world audiences. Both films are a testament to the character and spirit of the Estonian people.”
The estdocs Audience Award was awarded to two films that tied for first place. HEADWIND HALL and THE SINGING REVOLUTION both received the honour this year and thereby complemented the decision made by the estdocs Jury Award judges. Twelve films were in competition for the two festival awards.
The festival turned the film-viewing experience up a notch this year with the help of Skype technology via the internet. After the screening of HEADWIND HALL, the audience was delighted to be face-to-face and dialoguing with the film’s producer Artur Talvik on the eight-foot film screen. Talvik was half-way across the world in Estonia, while an emotional audience applauded his work in Toronto, Canada.
The immediacy of the exchange between audience and producer was not lost on an equally emotional Talvik, who informed the audience about his upcoming projects.
Of the 19 films screened at estdocs 2007, 16 were produced in Estonia, one in the United States and one in Canada.
The festival Q&A sessions were moderated by respected film producer and Estonian television personality Kiur Aarma.
The festival, organized by approximately 20 key individuals, enjoyed audience numbers of approximately 1500. Next year’s estdocs festival is scheduled for October 17-24, 2008.
For further film festival information visit www.estdocs.com .
Two big winners announced at estdocs