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May 2, 7:30pm - come meet the filmmakers of Estonian films at Hot Docs Festival!

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Update #175 (rev'd Apr 29)

A record four Estonian films at this year's Hot Docs Festival in Toronto, come meet the filmmakers!

Flautist and ticket giveaway

Estonia has been making a name for itself in the film industry in recent years, and this year's Hot Docs line-up is a testament to that. Among the selected Estonian films are "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood," "Sundial," “LynxMan”and "Last Relic".

Come meet the filmmakers on May 2 at 7:30pm at Tartu College, jointly presented by Estonian Arts Centre, the charity associated with KESKUS, and VEMU/Estonian Museum Canada. Coffee, cake and a panel discussion with: Marianna Kaat (Viimane reliikvia/ The Last Relic), Liis Nimik ja Edina Cüllog (Päikeseaeg / Sundial), Anna Hints, Marianne Ostrat (Savvusanna sõsarad / Smoke Sauna Sisterhood).

The world premiere of Marianna Kaat's new documentary "The Last Relic" will take place in the international competition program International Spectrum. Filmed over four years in the provincial city of Yekaterinburg, the film is a stark look at the absurdity of life in Russia, where most of the people dream of restoring the glory of the imperial state. An up-to-date and important study of the roots of Russian aggression. The film has been produced by Baltic Film Production in cooperation with Norway's Ten Thousand Image. Screenings April 29, 5pm and May 2, 11:45pm.

Liis Nimik's "Päikesaeag" has been selected for the competition program of medium-length films, and the North American premiere of the film will take place at Hot Docs. In addition, the film will also be shown in the program The Changing Face of Europe in cooperation with European Film Promotion. The film raises the question of whether and how a person should learn to live in harmony with nature and its rhythms. Through colorful characters, the viewer is taken deep into the Estonian nature, looking for that liberating feeling familiar to everyone, which arises when the city is left behind. The film is produced by Klarafilms. Screenings May 1, 2:45pm and May 3, 5pm.

Klarafilms is also a co-producer of the Finnish-Estonian cooperation film "Ilvesmees" (dir. Juha Suonpää), whose North American premiere will take place in the World Showcase program. The film, which has just premiered at the prestigious CPH:DOX film festival and won a special jury prize, tells the story of Hannus, who lives alone on his farm in Western Finland. When Hannu finds a dead Eurasian lynx on the side of the road, which was almost extinct until recently, it's like meeting an old friend – he realizes that the lynxes that lived in the area when he was a child have returned. Hannu begins to observe and get to know lynxes, and the spirit of the lynx permeates Hannu's world deeper and deeper until he finds himself one of them. Screenings April 29, 8:30pm and May 5, 5:30pm.

In the HotDocs Persister program, the internationally lauded documentary film "Savvusanna sõsarad" (dir. Anna Hints) will be screened. The film is currently in cinemas all over Estonia, and Hot Docs will have its Canadian premiere. "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" is a modern and intimate film about women who come together in the protective darkness of a smoke sauna, share their deepest secrets and wash away the shame and pain accumulated in their bodies. The film also introduces the tradition of the smoke sauna of Old Võroma ("savvusannakombõ"), which is included in the representative list of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The film is produced by Alexandra Film and co-produced by Kepler22 Productions (France) and Ursus Parvus (Iceland). Screenings April 30, 8:30pm and May 5, 12:30pm.

It's an exciting time for Estonian cinema as a record number of Estonian films have been selected for this year's Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto. The festival, this year from April 27 to May 7, is one of the largest documentary film festivals in the world and attracts filmmakers and audiences from all over the globe. Tickets available here.

"Hot Docs is one of the most important documentaries-focused festivals in North America, and the inclusion of so many Estonian films in its schedule is unprecedented. Moreover, two of them are even in the competition program. The international premiere at a festival of this caliber is a mark of quality for the selected films and recognition of the high level of Estonian documentary filmmaking," commented Filipp Kruusvall, documentary film expert of the Estonian Film Institute.

To celebrate the success of Estonian cinema and the selection of these films for the Hot Docs festival, Estonian Arts Centre, the charity associated with KESKUS, sponsored a ticket giveaway, one set to each of the “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood”, “The Last Relic” and “Sundial” mentioned above. Congrats to the winners:

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