Sunday, February 27, 2005

Revolution of Pigs - the most popular Estonian film in local cinemas in year 2004.

A few days ago, Estonian Film Foundation established statistics about the most popular films in Estonian cinemas last year. 141 films was rated according to the number of cinema visitors. Quite a few domestic films made it to the list. The top of all films was the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (surprise-surprise!) that was viewed by 73, 100 people, followed by some other American 'blockbuster' films. The highest position for Estonian film was 7th place, as ’Revolution of Pigs’ , the debut film by Jaak Kilmi and Rene Reinumägi gathered 26,345 viewers. This film also received a Jury Special Prize at the Moscow International Film Festival last year. Another local film ’We Will Not Sleep Tonight’ ( 'Set Point' in some of the records - too bad two different titles can't make it a better film, coz sorry to admit but one of the biggest failures in years in Estonian film-making!) was mentioned in 10th position with 22,532 viewers. Altogether, 13 Estonian films made it to the list of 141 films.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

New Estonian children's feature film released

On 24th of February, new Estonian children’s feature film ’Röövlirahnu Martin’ was released in cinemas across the country. It’s about a boy (Madis Ollikainen) who always ends up being the guilty one when something goes wrong in school. Everything changes, when he comes across the Magic cat ( Ott Sepp), who becomes his friend.
Film was directed by Rene Vilbre, and scripted by Mihkel Ulman ja Kristian Taska. Some of the young and talented new actors act in this film, accompanied by other well-known Estonians Juhan ja Lembit Ulfsak, Piret Kalda and Maria Avdjushko. The film is suitable for kids all ages.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Raag made a film on August 1991.

Today, on Estonian Independence day at 10.45 a.m ETV screened a film on the events of August 1991, when Estonia gained it’s independence. The film was scripted and directed by Ilmar Raag. I was strongly recommended to watch it by several Estonian media and film-related people . So I did, not being sure what to expect from it. I was afraid that I would not feel so strong relation with the events that took place when I was only 8 years old. I thought I wouldn’t remember it all that well to be able to connect to the film. But the best part of that film was that it wasn’t necessary to remember things as they actually happened. It tells a good story in a masterful way. It shows events from an interesting point of view, from the perspective of a group of Estonian Television workers. Some of the most well-known TV personalities of that time are in present and it’s due to some good actors that these persons come alive and feel so real. I consider the authentic look and sense of that time to be one of the strongest points of that film. Raag has managed to capture the aura and tension of that period very well.
Yet, I can’t see it as a documentary as it was first introduced in a program guide and media. Raag himself has admitted that some of the sequences were made up, therefore you can’t categorise it under documentary film. Although I give this film a big credit for being one of the few good surprises in Estonian film-making in years, it still carries a message for only Estonians. And that , similarly to all the recent domestically produced films can be considered as the biggest weakness of this film- it’s a film made about Estonians to the audience of Estonian people. And there have been too many examples like that in past decade or so. Hence I hope to see something different in the future. I believe Estonian film-makers have the will and talent to make good films. So I anxiously look forward to the time, when Estonian film-makers can finally make a film that would appeal to foreigners, that would be understandable and praised everywhere you showed it. Not only here in Estonia.

Monday, February 21, 2005

It doesn't exist, does it?!

It has become apparent that in a small country like Estonia, the film industry can only exist as a prestigious cultural sector. Not many Estonians, let alone foreigners know, what's going on in Estonian film-market. As people are not aware of what's happening in this field, many may think that the market is simply non-existant. This belief, of course is very untrue. I am not sure whether we can call our small film industry a "film market", because only 4-5 major feature films are produced yearly, along with approximately 70 films in total (incl. documentaries, cartoons). Yet, there has been a significant raise in the number of films made since 1995 (when only 29 films were produced). And this may come as a surprise for many Estonians! When there's so many as 70 domestic films being produced every year, how come we hear, or more precise happen to see so few of them? The answer is - because these 70 simply "disappear" in the middle of thousands of foreign-made and imported films. Not to mention the little media coverage Estonian films get...
But I do believe that Estonian film (and Estonian film market along with it) is developing; true - slowly, yet developing. The object of this blog is to reflect the development and changes in Estonian film market. To let people know what's going on, because things are happening. Every day somebody works on their film idea, every week somebody tries to start a new project, every month some documentaries are released, and every year at least 3 big features come out...So the numbers might not be at the level of Hollywood, but enough is happening, it just needs to be pointed out and taken notice of...

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