World Film Festival 2019 March 13, 2019

We are happy to bring you the 16th World Film Festival!

Dear friends of the Festival,

When we launched the World Film Festival, the mission of the festival was primarily to unite the audiences with films as well as filmmakers, you were not able to access elsewhere. The documentary film programs at the Estonian television channels were not yet well established and web-based access to documentaries was largely a dream. Real fans were able to access anthropological documentaries, but altogether anthropological and creative documentaries were still largely an exotic phenomenon: the recordings and studies of mostly independent and anthropological filmmakers about the life in faraway places of the world, which skilfully outlined the everydayness of the local ways of life, or the uniqueness of the world views and interpretations of the world of various cultural or ethnic communities.

Nowadays, the World Film Festival is essentially set in a quite different world. Audiences and festival guests are actively travelling themselves and are personally in charge of shaping their unique media repertoires. One’s experiences and impressions from thousands of kilometres away are accessible through social media applications on your phone in just a few seconds.

What is the role of creative and anthropological documentaries in this kind of society? I think, the role might be more significant than ever. Documentary filmmakers, in their ability to concentrate, in their skilful ways to tell the stories, in their courage to experiment with film language, are among the lighthouses in this complex and noisy media environment. On the one hand, these stories, opening up the invisible everyday life point out that every life and every life experience is valuable, and that the mundane lives are full of discoveries. On the other hand, also this year’s World Film Festival’s program presents stories which approach the most urgent issues in our world, whether the urgency is found at the level of one single family, political tensions or globalisation.

We also bring you the films which demonstrate deep respect towards life or delve into the always creative soul of the human beings – whether these are folklore-based stories about invisible beings in the forest or sea (program „Things which might have happened“) or the skills to cope with intricate life situations through art, which is always bigger than life (program „Art keeps us alive“).

The handwriting of many authors is rooted in visual anthropology – these are films which have not been made to please the film industry, but out of deep need to explore, understand and show.

From special programs this year’s festival brings you once again a more academic program „Contemporary approaches to visual anthropology“. A short special program is dedicated to the exhibition „DIY Estonia“ currently opened at the Estonian National Museum, which introduces the life at 1990s and this controversial decade.

Festival organisers – Estonian National Museum, Elektriteater and World Film Society are very grateful to our supporters, including the funding partners Estonian Film Institute and Tartu City government. We would also like to thank the embassies who were able to support the filmmakers from their countries to support their participation at the festival, as well as our design and advertising partner Fraktal. The biggest applause goes to the festival volunteers.

Enjoy the festival week!

Pille Runnel,

director of the festival