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FILMIST Estonian Film Festival debuts

Updated: Apr 6

Update # 212

March 15-17, 2024 marked the debut of a new Estonian film festival in the GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area), one that reflects Estonia's mature filmmaking industry and brings to audiences films made by Estonians, or related to what matters to Estonia and its diaspora.

FILMIST covered all formats: documentary short and feature length, animation, narrative live-action feature length and shorts, and from fresh student films to Oscar short-listed and award winners.

"The goal of FILMIST is to supplement, strengthen and spread Estonia's and Estonian-related film. The FILMIST Stuudio initiative just prior to the festival weekend, includes the next generation for this purpose," said Liisa Käärid, board chair of Estonian Arts Centre, FILMIST organiser.

The festival opened in Hamilton at McMaster Innovation Park, with the North American premiere of "Daughter Behind the Iron Curtain" and with a special greeting from the filmmakers in Sweden, Eric Forslund and Nicholas Parts. This special treat was taped specifically to welcome the audience at this opening night of the first FILMIST Estonian Film Festival..

Saturday and Sunday evening screenings were held at the Innis Town Hall cinema, a 5-minute walk from KESKUS with Saturday screenings wrestling with the topic of war and displacement, including the premiere of FILMIST Stuudio student films. A live-action thriller set in mediaeval Tallinn rounded out the program on Sunday.

Ann Aaviku's baked exquisite and fresh kringel each day for the evening screenings - Kristi Sau Doughty (Toronto) and Evi Pertens (Hamilton) pictured below. In addition to them, thanks to festival volunteers go to Merike Koger in Hamilton, and to Karin Ivand, Juta Kruusmäe, Beatrice Boucher, and Elin Marley.

Read about the films screened here, and about FILMIST Stuudio, the first GTHA Estonian March Break camp for high school students here. Sincere thanks to Kinomaja Filmikool in Tallinn and to Liina Särkinen and her team, and to VEMU Estonian Museum, with which the full length FILMIST Stuudio interviews and artifacts will be deposited.

Estonian Arts Centre, the charity associated with KESKUS International Estonian Centre, has promoted the arts since 1975 and develops innovative programming that speaks to both local and international audiences and artists. FILMIST Stuudio and FILMIST Estonian Film Festival are part of EAC's media arts program.

FILMIST sponsors, Northern Birch Credit Union, Estonian Foundation of Canada, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, and Tartu College are thanked for supporting EAC's vision of developing current and innovative programming that promotes the arts.

Please sign up for the KESKUS newsletter on the homepage to follow the latest on construction progress and on EAC's arts programming that will add to KESKUS once it opens in the middle of next year.

Photos: Elias Gates-Kass, Liisa Käärid, Ellen Valter


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Please join the growing list of KESKUS capital campaign donors to help bring KESKUS to completion. KESKUS leadership donors are recognized here.

There are many ways to make a contribution to KESKUS. 

  • To donate, click here, or call +1.647.250.7136 or email Donations may be made as a family gift, or in honour of an individual or family. All donations are issued a tax receipt, in Canada via Estonian Arts Centre, US tax receipts via Myriad USA and Estonian tax receipts via Eesti Rahvuskultuuri Fond. Donations by credit card may be made here.

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