The main programme is in English, the side programme is in Estonian.
Sõprus and Kumu are the main two places, Artis is specially reserved for the Soviet programme. There is a sub programme of soviet films (with Estonian subtitles).
What is the big film this year following from last years amazing Videocracy?
This year we have very many award winning films from Amsterdam, Leipzig etc.. all the main festival winners are represented. The Amsterdam winner Planet of Snail, Amsterdam is the most important documentary film festival right now.
Why do you rate Amsterdam so highly?
They have some bold choices, good programming and logistically good. It feels loose but is never loose, it’s not too strict either. This festival happens in November.
This is the 3rd time you have organised this festival and you were instrumental in starting it? Where do you get the energy from for such a venture, what motivates you still?
We felt there was a need for this type of event and the opportunity presented itself, i.e. we didn’t actually have to start from scratch, but could build on a model that was already established by the Finns. And it is frankly quite pleasing, if the public loves a film that we have chosen and brought here. It makes everything worth while.
When a doc. is made and screened and we learn more about something happening we previously were unaware of, how does this then impact on the subjects, do you have any stories of how a doc has led to some big changes in the protaganists lives?
Well, the classic example always is Errol Morris’ “Thin Blue Line”, a reenactment of a crime, that lead to the authorities reopening the case and freeing an innocent man from prison. I think docs are instrumental in changing the overall discourse on certain subjects, influencing public opinion. From newer times, Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” springs to mind. But, of course the threapeutic effect on single individuals, who can get their stories told, is just as valuable.
Which of the docs will there be a chance to see on TV if anyone misses the festival, do you push ETV to take documentaries too?
With most of these, this is the only chance to see the films. Unless ETV will pick them up later, but that is a longshot. I don’t push ETV in any way, they have a very competent person taling care of the doc program, Marje Jurthsenko.
So, in that sense you should definitely grab the chance and come to the movies.
Any local documentaries coming up which you can talk about with some excitement?
There are three or four docs every year coming out in Estonia, that are more exciting than average. We already have a good score with the first one called “Another Dimension” – a 30 minute documentary abut the Estonian christian pop quartet Sõnajalg, with a metaphysical twist.
Any guests this year or special workshops/screenings/discussions?
Quite a few of the foreign films and also Estonian retro screenings have authors or main characters present, who are very much ready to answer your questions after the film!
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Is life too serious to be taken seriously? Favourite animal is a dog, called Harry the Lurcher. Now somewhere in space.