Pathfinders of the Estonian film

Curator Kristjan Raba, consultant Enn Säde, management Tiit Sibul, Lauri tamm 

2012 was the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Film and the Estonian National Museum opened here the part of this exhibition “Pathfinders of Estonian film Pathfinders at the Finno-Ugric and the Northern Peoples” dedicated to those courageous filmmakers who have been on field trips to kindred peoples, in the countryside and villages in Finland, Siberia, and Setumaa, transferring sometimes between two cameras simultaneously.

Foto: J.Vella „Armastuse maa“

Diaries from the field trips luckily are transferred to museums and archives, longer and more detailed overviews provide input to more literary memory books, restored films are published as well composed dramatic narratives in digitized form on DVD. Informative cover of the latter give a short overview about the films themselves, but rarely there is a chance to see unique film footage from the shooting sites themselves and about filmmakers themselves on the move.

Materials, brought from the Finno-Ugric field trips provide researchers with exciting possibilities for comparison, moments of “behind the scenes” show people, hitting those moments when the filming equipment is set ready or necessary equipment is being packed to go back to discover new places for shooting.

Pathfinders of the Estonian film are all these camera men, writers, ethnologists, sound men, linguists, anthropologists and artists – all these talented creators who took part of the film expeditions, which took place at 1970s and 1980s and made Estonian film history, by discovering and documenting an exciting world.

The displayed photos show also a “man with two cameras” Lennart Meri, who became a filmmaker in these same field trips, the man who tried in addition to the regie, also the recording button of the modern video camera. Also filmmaker Rein Maran, cinematographers Ago Ruus, Enn Putnik, editor R. Sokman, official photographer of the Estonian Television Raivo Tiikma, top professional of the film sound Enn Säde, ethnography experts Aado Lintrop and Tõnu Seilenthal, young Mart Meri etc all can be seen travelling on those photos. “Helpers” of the technological century – Smena, Zenit, Nikon, H8, famous Arriflex contributed technically to the success of these expeditions.

Today Liivo Niglas, Indrek Jääts, Maido Selgmäe, Janno Simm, Riho Västrik, Madis Arukask, Art Leete, Anzori Barkalaja, Laur Vallikivi and others go to field trips with cameras, being collectors of the unique materials, being contemporary pathfinders in the ethnographic environment. Filmmakers Peeter Tooming, Valentin Kuik and Mark Soosaar are allready known in a wider context. Will the new generation prepare a new “Finno-Ugric Peoples Film Encyclopedia Vol. 2”?

The 14th World Film Festival offers audiences also the best pieces from Arvo Iho exhibition “Following in the footsteps of Johannes Pääsuke. 100 year later”. (B-area)