“Kino @ Eesti Maja Sydney” will start screening newer Estonian films on last Friday of every month at the Estonian House, Sydney. First film night takes place on the 28th of October, where two films will be screened: Monica Bravo short feature “How to Kiss a Dead Girl” and Jaak Kilmi’s and Kiur Aarma’s documentary “Disco and Atomic War”. This event is taking place thanks to Sydney Estonian Society (SES) and Siimon and Leen Rampe who are behind the idea and execution.
Aale Kask-Ong interviews the Rampes.
Where did the idea of a movie nights come from?
Siimon: The idea to show Estonian film had been floating around in our minds for about 3 years though we weren’t sure how to approach doing it. There was no Estonian film being regularly and accessibly shown in Sydney, let alone Australia.
After visiting Eesti Päevad in Adelaide last year, we noticed the gap in their program where showing film could have sat. So with that in mind, we floated the idea to run a small film festival (the Estonian Film Festival Australia – EFFA) alongside next year’s Sydney Eesti Päevad which the organising committee really jumped at.
From there, running a film night once a month on behalf of the SES became the logical way to raise money for such a film festival and allow us to build awareness of Estonian film. Hence ‘Kino @ Eesti Maja Sydney’ will now run on the last Friday of every month.
Leen: Siimon and I are both passionate film lovers and every trip to Estonia means stocking up on Estonian film. The idea to show Estonian film for a wider audience in Australia popped up in Siimon’s head already some years ago. At this stage, I hadn’t even been to Estonian House yet! But some ideas take time and then suddenly all comes together.
Now we hope that film nights will move towards a highlight of Eesti Päevad at the end of next year and to make Estonian Film Festival Australia (EFFA) – our dream come true. The ticket money of the film nights, accordingly 10$ and 7$ for SES members goes directly into budget of organizing EFFA.
What kind of movies do you plan to show?
Siimon: To begin with, it will be English sub-titled Estonian movies that are hopefully as current as possible, with as much diversity as possible be them feature films, short films or documentaries. There’s not a great deal of film that comes out of Estonia annually, but we hope to cater for everyone’s tastes somewhere during the year.
Leen: It is early days yet, but we are negotiating with producers to get the freshest Estonian films. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all see the Estonian latest and greatest right here in Sydney
So, is it a good idea to bring your Australian friends to see the movies since the language is not an issue?
Siimon: Absoluutselt! As I mentioned, ALL films that we intend to show will be with English sub-titles. We want to appeal to as many people as possible, not just our own community per se. Part of our intention is to promote Estonian culture to the broader Australian community, be it via film in this instance.
Leen: Indeed! In my mind, film like art in general is exciting because it is both unique and universal at the same time – each Estonian film reflects directly or indirectly Estonia and Estonians being unique in that way and at the same the story of a film hero is a human journey – either quest for something, finding, loosing, loving or other universal topic in this world. That is why I believe that everyone should bring a friend – both those who are born in Estonia or know a lot about Estonia and those who perhaps don’t even know where Estonia is!
The Film Festival is an expensive project. What kind of preparation work does it require?
Siimon: EFFA is shaping up to be a formidable task, especially as we are first time Film Festival Directors! It’s a steep learning curve and proving not to be as easy as just putting out some chairs and slapping on a movie, though I wish that were the case. The financial outlay to hire a cinema to show just one film for EFFA is massive in itself, let alone to run a festival of films. For our community to have its own film festival means ‘Kino’ has to be successful every month so we have the money to run EFFA. We really hope people come to see some Estonian film so we can keep showing more of it.
Leen: We plan to show the latest of Estonian film at the Estonian Film Festival Australia – both last and same year’s films and also hope to get Estonian film industry professionals to come and introduce contemporary Estonian film, would have lectures and perhaps master classes.
Preparations are being conducted in several levels – here in Australia we are looking for people who would like to participate in this exciting project and volunteer carrying out EFFA, both professionals and enthusiastic film lovers. Also we are looking for appropriate location to show the films.
On the Estonian side we are negotiating with various production companies – what films will be completed by the end of next year, how to get them to Australia, how much is it all going to cost and where to find funds to finance the project.
The first ‘Kino @ Eesti Maja Sydney’ is on Friday the 28th of October 6PM
6.30PM “How to Kiss a Dead Girl” (2009) a short film written and directed by Monica Bravo
7.30PM “Disko& Tuumasõda” (Disco and Atomic War) (2009) a documentary by Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma
Films, where Leen Rampe has been involved in:
• PEANUT- BUTTER short film (dir. Mirina Leonti) set and costume assistant
• various TV commercials (dir. Kaimar Kukk, Caviar Productions) set design
• HOW TO KISS A DEAD GIRL short film (dir. Monica Bravo, Widescreen Productions) set design
• ON THE OTHER SIDE short film (dir. Samuel Jaquemin, La Voie Lactee, Average Monkey Prod.) set design (MA Graduate Work)
• Various TV commercials (dir. Veiko Õunpuu, Rain Tolk, Kuukulgur Film Prod.) set design
• ETV New-years-eve on-air-show (dir. Elo Selirand, Estonian National Television) set design
• MAKSUD/TAXES political TV commercial (dir. Kaido Veermäe, Rudolf Konimois Prod) storyboard and costume design
• MAGNUS full length feature film (dir. Kadri Kõusaar, Vitamin K Film Prod.) Art Director
• MALEV / MEN AT ARMS full length feature film (dir. Kaaren Kaer, Exitfilm Prod.) Set and costume design
• WHATEVER, ALEKSANDER! Full length feature film (dir. Maiju Ingman, Luxfilm Prod.) Set and costume design