EstDocs short films night offers tasty morsels to film fans

EstDocs head Maimu Mölder and digital design expert Sashank Tripathi. Photo: Jaak JärveEstDocs head Maimu Mölder and digital design expert Sashank Tripathi. Photo: Jaak Järve

The appetizer that is the EstDocs short film competition screening – the prequel to the main festival – offered some tasty and creative film bites to a full house at Tartu College on Thursday, October 24.


Organizers were delighted that the 11th annual competition drew a record number of entries this year, said Keltie Thomas, EstDocs’ short films competition director. There was a total of 21 submissions; nine from amateur filmmakers and the rest from professionals.


While the overall competition will be judged by a professional jury, the screening event allowed audience members to vote on what they liked best and the results are presented as an “audience favorite” award at the gala opening of the 15th annual EstDocs on Friday, November 8.


Each short film must be under ten minutes in length, and the competition was rich and flavourful in the range of topics and creativity on the part of the filmmakers.


Jaak Visnap of Estonia submitted “Freedom in the 21st Century,” a collection of films based on an exhibit by the Estonian Lithographic Centre, assembled in Tallinn to mark Estonia’s 100th anniversary celebrations this year.


Each film featured an artist who provided a glimpse into their creative process as well as some musings on freedom, and what this means. We heard that for many of them, freedom is an intrinsic but sometimes elusive concept in the creation of art.


For some of them, the time of the Soviet occupation curtailed and shaped their view and depictions of the world. Others travel the world for inspiration, and return with a newfound appreciation for their homeland.


Toronto photographer Elias Gates-Kass submitted a beautiful, minimalist study of the wind-sculpted topography of Iceland in the “Iceland Landscape Project”, nailing the much-loved Estonian Nordic aesthetic.


“Greta Eesti kett üle maailma/Greta’s song chain around the world,” submitted by Raivo Hansen, featured a child’s original composition about her love for her country that she galvanized into a global sing-a-long.


Yet another child wonder described how she invented a “pill fairy” made out of a music box (the kind with the spinning ballerina) that reminded her grandmother to take her medication. The invention included a wrist band that would light up when it was time to take a pill.


If these charming films are any indication, I think we are in very good hands with the future generation of filmmakers, and inventors.


The best part of this appetizer course is that we still have all of the main dish – the EstDocs festival - to look forward to. The festival starts on Friday, Nov. 8 with the first screening at the Estonian House and there are films throughout the weekend with the final showings on Sunday, Nov. 10. On Sunday, filmgoers can also come early at 6 p.m. to enjoy dinner, prepared by well-known Estonian caterer Ülle Veltmann. (The arrangement is to pay for dinner on-site directly to the caterer.)


And, as is a sweet EstDocs tradition, coffee and kringel will be available at all film events.

Artur Talvik, a well-known filmmaker from Estonia, will be moderator this year. Having a moderator from the industry always provides an interesting component to the viewing of the films as he will offer his perspective and facilitate a question and answer period as well.


Come out for this annual gift of culture and be prepared to be touched, amazed, inspired and, above all, utterly entertained. Go to for the full schedule.