Welcome to the 15th annual EstDocs Estonian Documentary Film Festival. We have an anniversary. Let’s celebrate together as we look at human relationships through the prism of music, dance, and even the aftermath of conflict in other lands. As we watch this year’s films, we also delve into a discussion about the challenges of aging and a retrospective of a generation of master Baltic filmmakers.
As part of this celebration, we are delighted to have the winner of multiple EstDocs audience awards back as moderator – filmmaker Artur Talvik last moderated in 2011.
EstDocs has come a long way since writer, filmmaker and instructor Olev Remsu introduced and educated us about Estonian film at the very first EstDocs. We continue to build a bridge between Canadian audiences and a nation that values culture highly. Recently the Estonian capital, Tallinn, was ranked eighth among the 50 most cultured cities in Europe and number one in Northern Europe by Wanderu, a travel search platform and fare aggregator. Let’s keep the cultural exchange flourishing.
It is my pleasure to share a note from our esteemed Ambassador to Canada:
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the many volunteers who have worked diligently to bring us EstDocs over the last 15 years. It is not just a festival, but a cultural phenomenon. This year’s films highlight the struggle of the human spirit to triumph in the face of challenge and change — be it the filmmakers of a past generation who created a new documentary film genre as we see in Bridges of Time or individuals staying true to their ethical principles as we see in Risti Treasures.
Considering Estonia’s population is 1.3 million, nurturing cultural heritage and maintaining the Estonian language is a formidable undertaking. The Estonian Song Festival, which celebrated 150 years this past summer in Estonia, had approximately 30,000 singers and more than 80,000 people in attendance — an impressive example of cultural continuity and of people coming together as one.
Documentary film has had an intimate role in our recent history as well, as early as in 1908 when a documentary clip was filmed of Swedish King Gustav V in Estonia on his way to St. Petersburg. Since then, Estonian filmmakers have continued to hone their craft and excel in sharing meaningful tales of Estonian life in a thriving film industry.
Estonian films reveal the enduring spirit and strength of a country which fought for freedom and independence from oppression and rose up to become a world leader in providing digital services, where access to the internet is a human right.
I am especially grateful to this year’s EstDocs team for continuing to create a showcase for Estonian culture and art here in Toronto. I wish all attendees an enjoyable and enriching film experience.
Estonian Ambassador to Canada
And a heartfelt thank you to the scores of volunteers who have been dedicated to EstDocs these many years and believe in telling a good story through the medium of film. I don’t know of a harder working group of individuals who not only “give it their all” but go beyond to kept the EstDocs dream alive. And a sincere thanks to you – the EstDocs audience member – who brings our festival to life.
So sit back and take in the 2019 line-up of films. Hope you enjoy the show!
We are pleased to provide yet another great lineup of films with pre-screening receptions on Friday and Saturday, and an after party on Saturday, too. As always, we'll be serving kringel and coffee. Don't know what kringel is? You're very welcome to join us and find out -- and, don't worry. All films are in English or have English subtitles. We welcome everyone with open arms.
Nov 9 @ 12:00 am
Nov 9 @ 1:00 am
Nov 9 @ 2:00 am
Nov 9 @ 8:30 pm
Nov 9 @ 9:00 pm
Nov 10 @ 12:00 am
Nov 10 @ 1:00 am
Nov 10 @ 1:30 am
Nov 10 @ 9:00 pm
Nov 11 @ 12:00 am
Nov 11 @ 1:00 am
Nov 11 @ 1:30 am
Nov 11 @ 2:00 am
Nov 11 @ 11:00 pm
Nov 20 @ 12:00 am
A graduate of the Drama School of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Artur Talvik established himself as a professional filmmaker in 1992. He has produced and/or directed over 30 documentaries and feature films, which have garnered him many awards at international festivals, including four Audience Awards from EstDocs. Artur has also produced more than 250 commercials. Longtime EstDocs audience members are sure to remember Artur’s cheerful Skype discussions and when he moderated for EstDocs 2011. Artur’s varied activities include serving as chairman of the Estonian Film Foundation; being a community activist on the Juminda Peninsula; being the head of the Volunteer Maritime Rescue Association, and most recently being a member of Parliament in 2015, where he headed the Special Commission on Corruption. As of this past spring, he is again a freelancer as well as the co-founder of a party with a unique approach – the Richness of Life Party.