Worldfilm festival, taking place for the fourth time at 2007, is once again dedicated to anthropological and creative documentary film pimarily. Although not always very similar in their film language, these two directions in documentary film are similar in being close to the human beings and in the ability to show the everyday life bigger, more significant and often more poetic than we ourselves are able to notice, while in the middle of everyday bustles.

Anthropologist James Clifford has contradicted two forms of culture to each other, saying that cultures and identities are best understood through the metaphors of roots and routes. This has also formed the basis for this year’s main topic of the festival, being about the mobility and locality in culture. On the one hand, culture is about being rooted in a locality, on the other hand, culture is something that exists through routes, traveling and wandering around. Although films rooted in anthropology are quite often recording the life in local communities, in order to understand the widening and functioning of the world, one has also to take into account moving from one place to the other.

The metaphors of roots and routes refer to several questions. For sociologists and anthropologists, the concept of “roots and routes” is heavily connected to the ethnic and racial marginalization, borders, minority politics, questions of post colonialism and Diasporas, topics of economic and political refugees. It is a concept loaded with politics. Worldfilm has taken the freedom to handle this concept more widely. The film cameras have depicted self-quests of the individuals as well as their acts, originating from religious and cultural meanings, but also stories about traditional nomads, pilgrims and travelers. The program contains films about being on the road, but also more psychologically grounded narratives about how the need to be mobile can be harassing, or, on the contrary, how it is a way to escape harassment and dead ends in one’s life.

In contemporary world, the common agency of roots and routes is central in the lives of several communities or individuals. Mobility is one of the central features of contemporary life. There are people, who are very strongly connected to the places, while others found nothing significant in being connected, whereas the third ones to not even notice, they are connected. These situations can be incompatible, but a person can get used to both of them, by taking the advantage of both and seeing them supplementary to each other. Mobility can be seen both as positive and negative.

Anthropologist Ulf Hannerz is referring to the cosmopolites, who represent mobility, openness to cultural varieties and the wish to be connected to the “other”. They are very mobile, traveling constantly around in the world, while looking for new experiences. In the first world, mobility is an important signifier of personal well being, but more generally, it signifies the changing lifestyles in the global society. Whether someone is connected to the place, whether one is more local or more mobile, can also refer to one’s position on the social scale. But not always – take the example of the migrant workers, who are forced to be away from home, to be global in order to find sufficient income. There are theories, seeking to explain the social processes, which are saying that globalization brings along a general insecurity and fear to loose control over one’s situation. It is accordingly connected to the growing need to find one’s roots, and the growing importance of communities, local and regional identities in one’s life.

While thinking about these issues, it has also been asked whether connectedness to the places is one of the central human needs. Groups living in various areas of the world refer to the fact, that it is not necessarily essential. Taken, for example the nomadic groups in Africa, whose life-pattern involves being connected to certain places, but who couldn’t survive, while settling down to one or another locality, because the ground would not be able to feed them. The history of the human culture seems to refer to the fact that the existence of the groups can be both in roots and routes, mobility or being located in one particular place. And on the other hand, mobility should not be associated with rootlessness. Also the migrants are able to retain in places, being located in different places, the most different connections.

Still, the previously outlined topics do not mean that the guests of the festival are going to see a selection of political and human rights TV documentaries. In a one-week film program contains almost fifty documentaries, being rather varied in style and scope. They are similar in that instead of the voice of the newsreader, the stories speak for themselves. A Tuareg, seeking for a runaway camel (Ässhäk) leads us through the sand and pebbles to the wells, campsites and markets of this legendary people. Uma, a retired fashion model from Sweden, who has spent last 25 years in seeking for the revelation, and Vashist, a charismatic young Indian holy man, test during the trip in the mountains from one holy place to another, the British film maker’s self-confidence: is he able to replace his Western logics and rationality with belief and intuition (Holy men and fools)? Almost 3 hours long, slowly developing story from fiction film made by the Indians in Canada, lays out a disappeared mythical world for some moments, but finally the whole setting escapes again from the viewer, by disappearing behind the horizon with the Fast Runner, running on the fields of snow.  Pilgrims at Shikoku, Japan, open up their goals, wishes and hopes to the filmmakers, walking with them on the Pilgrimage route at the route of the 88 Temples at Shikoku Island. In this way, their stories are also brought to us, the anonymous viewers (Walking Pilgrims).

In cooperation with the well-known center of ethnographic film, Documentary Educational Resources, we present you a selected program of the works of one of the well-known figure in American documentary film, Robert Gardner. He is one of those documentary filmmakers, in whose work we can see both the investigative eye of on anthropologist and the aesthetic sensitivity of an artist. In his earlier works, he was a seeker, experimenting with various techniques and developing his own particular style, unmistakably recognizable also later on. Although other anthropologists have also blamed Gardner for this, he cognized the border between fact and fiction as a limiting strategy and crossed this invisible border between those two, more than once. As a result of his attempts to find a direction, several works have been born, belonging now to the classics of documentary film, including a film about the Stone Age Dani society in New Guinea and a film about the cremation grounds at the holy city Benares, at the shores of the Ganges River in India. 

The program about the documentary film in Estonia aims to introduce the films about the developments in our own society. We have invited the representatives of a more socially critical filmmakers Andres Maimik, Jaak Kilmi, ESTO TV and Urmas E. Liiv, who have all portrayed contemporary Estonian society and we will take a look, on which tools and values have guided their decisions.

The exhibition program of the festival may seem looking into various directions in the first sight, but in fact they are also approaching all the questions of mobility and locality. Norwegian anthropologists Eva and Tore Saeterstal have brought along an exhibition that gives an overview about the thousands of years behind the rock art in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The exhibition tells about these places from where the rock art has been found. In these special places the locals could meet the spirits of their ancestors. This connected the Shona-speaking tribes, inhabiting the area, strongly with these particular localities and marking in this way their territories. About two thousand years ago, a new migrating tribes from the north arrived, by melting the locals into themselves. In order to obtain the control over the territory, they also took over these sacred places, by covering them with their own paintings as a sign of symbolic power. By obtaining the local rituals, strengthened the control even more and certified the cooperation with the spirits of the land.

An exhibition about the eating habits in various places of Europe brings us to the contemporary world. Between 1991-1994, a travel through the 15 countries of the old European Union, people eating alone or in groups, ways of being together in those places. This altogether enables to describe the authentic locality, by doing it through the mundane, by recording the central activities during one very ordinary day with the photo camera.

As part of the festival we also introduce the exhibition of silkscreen prints from the Arctic people at the Northwest coast of Northern America, which confirms the strength of the local identity and its creative power. The exhibition is connected to the fiction film program by the arctic indigenous peoples. Both the art from the Northwest Coast of Northern America and the fiction films, varied in style and the origin, both represent and create the Arctic world, by bringing the ethnographic elements in the middle of it.

Worldfilm festival enables to bring together those organizations and people, which see the significance of bringing the cultural variety of the world to Estonia in the form of films and exhibitions, by recognizing both the importance of mobility and locality. We would like to kindly thank the supporters and cooperation partners, among whose, there are various embassies and cultural institutions, for example, French Cultural center, French Embassy, Portuguese Embassy and ministry of foreign affairs, Embassy of Canada, Finnish Film Institute, Norwegian Film Institute, but also various institutions in Estonia: the City of Tartu, Estonian Ministry of Culture, Estonian Cultural Endowment, Estonian Film Foundation.

Pille Runnel,

Director of the festival

Film program 2007

Map With Gaps, dir Alice Nelson, Scotland
Walking Pilgrims, dir Tommi Mendel, Switzerland/Japan
Musafir, dir Cedric Dupire, Pierre-Yves Perez, France/India
The Last Phantoms, dir Marianna Kaat, Estonia/Russia
Estonians in Siberia, dir Andres Korjus, Estonia/Russia
B. A.T.A.M, dir Liam Dalzell, Per Erik Eriksson, Johan Lindquist, USA, Sweden/Indonesia
Final Days, dir Kullar Viimne, Estonia/Indonesia
Ässhäk, dir Ulrike Koch, Germany/Algeria
The Prilep Bear-men, dir Sonja Rizoska Jovanovska, MacedoniaThe Turčiče Carneval, dir Ivo Kuzmanič, Croatia
Not If You Can But You Must, dir Maša Hilčišin Dervišević, Ćazim Dervišević, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lost in Bremerhaven, dir Knud Vetten, Germany/Iraq
The Seawall, dir Frèderic Touchard, France
Monte Gordo’s Beach, dir Oscar Clemente, Sofia Trincão, Portugal/Spain
Cricket Cup, dir Massimiliano Pacifico, Diego Ligouri, Italy
In Between Walls, dir João Ribeiro and José Filipe Costa, Portugal/Ukraine
Pavlov’s Dogs, Arto Halonen, Finland/Russia
Furriadroxus, dir Michele Trentini, Michele Mossa
Tameksaout, the Shepherdess, dir Ivan Boccara, France/Morocco
Our Courtyard – Bai People of South-West China, dir Frode Storaas, Norway/China
Restless, dir Catarina Mourão, Portugal
The Clinic, dir Tomasz Wolski, Poland
Arcana, dir Cristobál Vicente, Chile
Everyday Life of Roma Children from Block 71, dir Ivana Todorović, Serbia
The Pied Piper of Hutzovina, dir Pavla Fleischer, United Kingdom/Ukraine/Russia
The Liturgy of the Fruit and Vegetable Stall, dir Simone Salvemini, Italy
July boys. Coding Culture. Bangalore’s Software Industry, dir Gautam Sonti, India
Giovanni and the Impossible Myth of Visual Arts, dir Gabriele Gismondi, Ruggero di Maggio, Italy
Klint-Olle, dir Åsa M. Eriksson, Erik Strömdahl, Sweden
Even if She Had Been a Criminal, dir Jean-Gabriel Périot, France
After the War, dir Srđan Keča, Serbia
Enter the Dragon, dir Orzen Milharčič, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Holy Men and Fools, dir Michael Yorke, Great Britain/India
Making Rain, dir Liivo Niglas and Frode Storaas, Estonia/Norway/Mozambique

Special programs

The Future of Visual Anthropology, dir Martin Gruber, Germany
Schoolscapes, dir David MacDougall, Australia/India
The Veil Unveiled, dir Vanessa Langer, Switzerland/Yemen

Retrospective of Robert Gardner:

Dead Birds
The Nuer
Forest of Bliss

Estonian documentary film program, round table:

Andres Maimik, Jaak Kilmi, ESTO TV, Urmas E. Liiv

Fiction films by Arctic peoples

Fiction films from arctic peoples
Bride of the Seventh Heaven, dir Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio, Finland/Nenets
Bazo, dir Lars Göran Petterson, Norway/Sami
Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner, dir Zacharias Kunuk, Canada/Inuit


Rock art in Southern Africa, Eva Walderhaug Saetersdal & Tore Saetersdal, Norway/Mozambique/Zimbabwe
Europeans at the Table, Anne Testut, France
Ravens, Wolves, Seven Frogs and A Cow Silk Screen Prints by First Nations Artists  of the Canadian Northwest Coast