Welcome to the ninth Worldfilm Festival!

We guide you also in this year’s through exciting series of documentaries about the cultural variety and diversity along the world. Cultural diversity is not only about different nations and peoples and their various living environments, it also manifests itself through the meaning making through creative beliefs, perceptions, patterns and symbolic languages.  Therefore it is vital not to count, to how many different countries the “worldfilms” are able to take you with, but rather, how many worlds, which are different from mine or yours, the films expose and you are able to get acquainted to.

One might wonder whether one of the main themes of this year’s festival the men still are about  men mostly, or are they just stories on general human subjects. Okay as it is, you can watch human concerns, joys, just living, but also attempts of true self-transcendence, through several men, who are protagonists of our selected films. Social scientists use a specific expression - hegemonic masculinity.  In Estonia, it would refer to the well-known gender stereotype, which sometimes prisons men themselves as a too-powerful one: a man must be a “tough guy”: physically strong, the leader, coping with everything. He must not live an average life, he may not get hurt or be weak, nor show too much sympathy or even suffer from frustrations. But, paradoxically, such a stereotype about men also does not able the “positive hero” hero to exist – a man, who would live a balanced and satisfied life, and depend on camaraderie team spirit. Not to mention the ones, who have to seek ways for living satisfying lives.

We do not introduce you to those “tough guys” (you can watch those, for example, in James Bond movies). Instead you can watch those many different ways how to live as a man. Get a comfortable, masculine camraderie at your workplace in films such as “Crests and throughs” or “Men at work”. Also, the program will give us encouragement, as we see stories about men, who struggle them free from the corner (“Stranger’s skin” and “Man from Jupiter”), ambivalent successful, jet lonely men (“Qatar, the Race”) and men, fighting for their rights (“Father’s Rights”). For example, the protagonist of “Stranger’s skin”, Arnaud, is a 20-year-old, who three years ago found solace in food after his mother passed away. His body quickly grew to 177 kilos and in proportion to the weight, his enjoyment of life declined. Reaching his limit, he had to do something about it and fast. One of the most exciting films speaking about men, probably is the documentary “Fathers Rights” from Israeli filmmaker Isri Halpern. Over six years, he followed four fathers and everything they had to go through. Israeli film contributed to re-examining the Family Law Act which formerly favoured women mostly in child-care issues.

But the program offers still a lot of other films to watch. 40 anthropological films in the main program from around the world will be screened from Tuesday to Saturday. On Monday, they are preceded by a special program about shamanism and visual anthropology with Dr. Mihály Hoppál, a well-known specialist on shamanism as a special guest. Tuesday begins with a retrospective of a visual anthropologist. Stéphane Breton (1959) is a French ethnologist and documentary filmmaker, specialised on Melanesia as an anthropologist. He has studied West Papua (Indonesian province of Papua New Guinea Islands), focusing on language and ethnography of Wodani. His research interests involve currency and trade, ethnolinguistics, body and sexuality, but also museography and documentary film. We will watch three of his films: “Them and me” (63 min, 2001), where we see a significant relationship and negotiations between the ethnologist and wodani people who live in the small hamlet lost in the mountains of New Guinea, where Breton did his fieldwork. “The Empty House” (52 min, 2008) takes us to in New Mexico (USA), among an ancient Spanish community eaten to rack and ruin by rust, beer, and dust storms. “Ascent to the Sky” (52 min, 2008) was filmed in a small valley in Nepal, worn out by so many feet, and so many centuries at the end of the path, where the Breton encounters a man with the strange hat, who collects dirt. It rains.

Thursday morning is dedicated to the hundredth anniversary of the Estonian film. We will show two short films program of Estonian historical documentaries: “Life on the shores of the Gulf of Riga” and “Peoples close and far away”. The works of the younger generation of Estonian filmmakers are included also in the main film program. The most intensive and meaningful film, related to Estonia is directed by Ulrike Koch. “Regilaul” was completed late last year and will be screened in Estonia for the first time. “Regilaul” is a film that began a few years ago in March at the Worldfilm. How exactly did it happen hopefully the film director herself will tell us.

Also the exhibitions in both the ENM and Athena Centre are part of the festival. The ENM introduces an exhibition “Pathfinders of the Estonian among the Finno-Ugric peoples, and the north”, but it also shows “Shopping Fever: Consumer Culture in 1990 and the 2000th years”, which is complemented by 3000 children’s drawings from a drawing competition “My Gift”. At Athena centre, you can see photo exhibitions “Johannes Pääsuke 120” and “Paris2”.

The festival team would like to thank all the people and institutions who have supported the festival this year. Including our major donors and partners the Estonian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Estonian Film Foundation and the Department of Culture of Tartu City Government we thank also such strategic partners as design studio Fraktal, Athena Conference and Cultural Centre, MoKS, Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory, the French Cultural Institute and many others. Worldfilm Festival is a success only thanks to the wonderful team of volunteers, coordinators and moderators and all the festival guests.