If you know me at all, you know that I have a special place in my heart for small countries. But opportunities to see cinema from the smaller nations can be rare. Not so with tiny Estonia. This nation of just over a million inhabitants has been fortunate to screen its cinema at local festivals such as the European Union Film Festival. What you might not know is that Estonia has a dedicated documentary film festival as well that is now in its fifth year. Estdocs takes place from October 15-22 at several venues around town. While Estonia remains near the top of my to-visit list, I might not be able to make it for a few years, so learning about Estonian culture through film is great preparation.
The opening film is the charming World Champion (Maailmameister), about 83-year-old pole vaulter Herbert Sepp. If you enjoyed Autumn Gold (Herbstgold) (review) at this year’s Hot Docs, you’re bound to enjoy this one, too.
And the festival closes next Friday night with a special presentation by John Ralston Saul on the disappearance of languages. Finno-Ugaric languages, of which Estonian is one, are disappearing rapidly. What does this mean for the culture of a small and proud country like Estonia? Come and find out.
Tickets and more information are available through the EstDocs site as well as from the Estonian Foundation of Canada.