The Baltic Film Festival, a first in Boston, will present three days of the latest awardwinning films from Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian directors. Feature films and documentaries will be available for viewing at nearby Emerson College's Paramount Theater.
Continue to check this section for updates to this exciting film event.
Director: Helga Merits
Coming home soon – the refugee children of Geislingen is a documentary film about Estonian
refugees who lived in Geislingen, as children, during the period of 1945-1950.
The film is about the flight from Estonia; what it meant for children to leave their home, friends,
often family, behind in a chaotic situation. What it meant to arrive in Germany, at the time of heavy
bombardments. What it meant later to move from one refugee camp to another, until almost half a
year after the end of the war a camp was created for Estonians in Geislingen, where they could only
stay until the refugee organisations forced them to move further away.
The children of Geislingen, who still have memories of the refugee camp, are now all around 80. They can tell what the influence of this period, the wartime years, the flight and the peaceful time in Geislingen had upon their lives, upon the formation of their identity – of feeling a refugee, an outsider, an Estonian, or being able to create, or to grow, into a new identity. Though the film is about the post-war years in Germany, it does reflect the situation of refugees in Europe now. The film will be informative, hopeful and inspiring.
Director and Screenwriter: Terje Toomistu
A wild flower power ride on the footprints of the Soviet hippie movement takes you into the
psychedelic underground of 1970s. In search of freedom and happiness under the thumb of
political regimes a colorful crowd of artists, musicians, freaks, vagabonds and other longhaired
drop-outs created their own system in the Soviet Union. Years later, a group of eccentric hippies
from Estonia take a road journey to Moscow where people still gather annually on the 1st of
June to commemorate a tragic event in 1971, when thousands of hippies were arrested by the
Director’s note: Recent rise of authoritarianism, setbacks in the struggles for social justice and the occurrence of wars – also in Ukraine – demands public discussion on the idea of nonviolence. The documentary sheds light on the history of the pacifist movement in Russia and Eastern Europe, and proposes an alternative trajectory in global cultural memory, demonstrating the vast creative potential that emerged within the totalitarian regime. The story of Soviet hippies raises important points about the workings of power and the politics of ecstasy, tackling the question of freedom and self-fulfillment.
A tremendous, old-fashioned anti-war film, by turns touching, moving and suspenseful. It’s set in 1992, in the post-Soviet Caucasus, where Georgians are fighting a war with secessionist Abkhazians, backed by Russia. Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) is an elderly ethnic Estonian who, with his friend Margus (Elmo Nüganen), is a tangerine farmer; they fear the fighting will destroy their entire crop. Disaster strikes, and Ivo finds himself having to offer tense hospitality to one wounded fighter from each side: Georgian Niko (Misha Meskhi) and Chechen mercenary Ahmed (Giorgi Nakhashidze) who has no great love for his Russian paymasters. Ivo’s house becomes their demilitarised zone, and Niko and Ahmed must suppress their hatred of each other while Ivo suppresses panic about all his unpicked tangerines going to waste. It is tremendous storytelling: engaging, intelligent, and with some lovely touches. – The Guardian
Producer and Sound Designer Ivo Felt co-founded the production company Allfilm in 1995. Ivo´s productions include Zaza Urushadze´s TANGERINES, nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2015 as well as Klaus Härö´s THE FENCER, nominated for Golden Globe in 2016. His current slate as a Producer includes four feature films in production and few projects in development.
In this tale of love and survival in 19th century Estonia, peasant girl Liina longs for village boy Hans, but Hans is inexplicably infatuated by the visiting German baroness that possesses all that he longs for. For Liina, winning Hans’ requited love proves incredibly complicated in this dark, harsh landscape where spirits, werewolves, plagues, and the devil himself converge, where thievery is rampant, and where souls are highly regarded, but come quite cheap. With alluring black and white cinematography, Rainer Sarnet vividly captures these motley lives as they toil to exist, but must ask if existence is worth anything if it lacks a soul? Read More
Director: Aigars Grauba
In the 13th century, the lands along the shores of the Baltic Sea are pagan. The most powerful – and feared – is the land of Semigallia where even the Vikings fear to tread. Semigallia is a rich trading nation, and that has not gone unnoticed in Rome where the Pope’s illegitimate son, Max, tells his father that in exchange for some good ships and some very bad men, he will wage a crusade against the pagans and become ruler. Max arrives in Semigallia amid celebrations, but the mood changes very quickly when it is found that the King and his young son have been poisoned. On his deathbed, the King appoints an unexpected successor to whom he bestows the authority to rule with the transfer of the Ring of Kings. Hardly an adult, but very much a natural strategist, Namejs quickly finds his strength as leader tested as Max launches his crusade. What Namay lacks in experience, he makes up for in courage. As he unites his people behind him and leads them into a series of battles, he forges his legend and ensures that he and his people become an enduring symbol of freedom.Read More
Director: Anna Viduleja
“Homo Novus” (translated “young man”) is a story set in late 1930ies in Latvia. A talented but poor artist Juris arrives in the capital, Riga, from the countryside. At the same time, another artist, arrogant Eizens, returns from his “painting sessions” in Paris determined to get his hands on his rich uncle's wealth. Both young men come under the influence of art critic and pathological intriguer Kurcums who hatches an elaborate plot to promote Juris at the expense of Eizens. All goes to plan until beautiful artist Ciemalda enters the picture, triggering a chain of unexpected events that will change everyone's lives for good.
Director: Madara Dišlere
Sisters Paula and Laura, girls from the capital of Riga, arrive in an idyllic small town to spend the summer holidays with their cousins, Maija and Linda. Unattended by adults, the team of four girls enjoys freedom, imitating the life of adults. Maija, idealising her mother Ieva, who is hardly ever at home, takes on the mother-role and assumes responsibility for the daily life of the girls. After a phone conversation with her mother, Paula is confused – she suspects that her parents are getting divorced. As TV news coverage of alarming events increases the tension in the air, the relationship among the girls also becomes strained. Paula discovers a fighting spirit and decides to take action, hoping that if Latvia regains its freedom, the new situation will benefit everyone – Ieva, the mother of her cousins, will return to her daughters, Jonas, a Lithuanian she has met by chance, will not have to hide from the draft into the Soviet Army, and she and her sister Laura will go home and save their family from breaking apart. A state of emergency in is announced on TV. Full of hope, Paula alone heads to the Baltic Way demonstration to join hands with two million people in a human chain spanning across the three Baltic states.
Director: Donatas Ulvydas
Emilia is a suspense drama based on actual events that tell about freedom during a time when even freedom of speech was prohibited. Destroyed destinies are the smallest price the movie heroes pay for their unconditional love for their country and their unforeseen love for one another. Director’s statement: While working on Emilia, I made a conscious decision not to follow the path of a biographical drama, but rather to dissect all of the events and their participants into dramatic functions and situations and then bring them back together in a fictional story. Fiction gives you the freedom to interpret historical facts (however true) for maximum dramatic impact, and to combine different personalities to produce more interesting characters with more powerful motives. In a world where speaking out is punishable by death, metaphor is your best friend, poetry becomes more powerful than a “penal squad”, and the theatre can be the ultimate weapon for striking right at the roots of the regime. The theatre provides the perfect stage for visual symbolism and serves as a scale model of society as a whole - torn between loyalty to the system and dreams of freedom. In this surreal plane of existence, you must kill yourself as a human in order to survive as a person.
Director: Mindaugas Kavaliauskas
A documentary by Mindaugas Kavaliauskas tells a story of changing Lithuania after the fight for and regaining of its freedom through iconic shots and interviews with the photographers whose art became a part of Lithuanian history. Original music score has been composed for this documentary by a notable contemporary composer Giedrius Kurpevicius. Director’s note: Since 1960’s Lithuanian photography has been the chronicler of Lithuanian culture as well as the medium for preserving cultural imprints. Photography was to bear witness to birth and fruitful culmination of Lithuanian freedom movement Sajudis. After Lithuania regained its independence, photography continues to witness pivotal changes affecting the country and society. “Proudly Shy” is a desire to peek deeper into Lithuania’s character and its people through charismatic inspirational lenses of photo artists themselves.
It is 1992 and Lithuania has shifted from communism to capitalism, leaving the small collective pig farm
managed by Irena in dire straits. Irena struggles to keep the farm and her work afloat when a handsome
American, Bernardas, arrives, pledging to save the struggling enterprise and turns Irena’s family life and
village’s routine upside down. As Irena begins to fall for his charms, she realizes that his intentions may
not be entirely innocent.
Director’s note: MIRACLE looks at a very important moment of the development for the Lithuanian state and other post-soviet countries in Europe when communism system began transforming into capitalism. By using a story of the pig farm (which by the end of the screenplay gets completely destroyed by the American Bernardas), I wanted to tell my own version of that period of Lithuanian history. This period, marked by chaos and contrasts (poverty and richness, spirituality and materialism, old Soviet values and new “sexy” Western promises), still has a huge impact on our country and our society, which remains divided and polarized since then. In my film I wanted to tell a story of a strong woman in Lithuanian countryside. I grew up around very strong women, well educated, doing the best they can, and carrying the entire household on their shoulders. And at the same time, I saw and still see lots of men in our country being locked into a macho image, drinking, getting depressed. I do think that our mothers and grandmothers were and still are people who make things in our country work. And the main character Irena is a woman like this.