Estonian film makers take to sea

  • 2000-07-06
  • By Jaclyn M. Sindrich
TALLINN - The Estonian film industry may not be thriving, but one
company has found a way to spread their work across Europe: team up
with British film makers and go sailing.

On July 22, two men from one of Estonia's largest TV and film
production companies, Allfilm, will set sail on a giant ship called
Aurora, for a three-week cruise around the Caribbean.

Now, cameraman Rein Kotov and sound recorder Ivo Felt will join
British director Ken Craig and other members of the London-based
production company First Freedom, to film the fourth and final
episode in a series called "21st Century Liner," which tracks the
design and construction of Aurora, a 76 thousand tonne,
2,600-passenger cruiseliner.

The filming began two years ago, when First Freedom went to Germany
to begin documenting the 18-month-long building of the ship for the
first three episodes in the series.

The Estonians and Brits will produce the one-hour documentary, "The
Journey," for the Discovery Channel Europe. They will record the
Aurora's maiden voyage, interview many passengers and crew along the
way, and stop at tropical paradises such as St. Kitts, Barbados,
Grenada, St. Lucia and Madeira.

"The Journey" will mark the fourth documentary the British and Baltic
companies have worked on together. It all began, explained First
Freedom producer Graham Addicott, when a member of the Danish-based
Baltic Media Center introduced them to the Estonian production

From there, they decided to make a documentary together for the
Discovery Channel Europe about Tallinn's so-called "Bomb Squad," a
group which investigates explosives, bombing incidents and disables
bombs left on ships that were sunk off the Estonian coast during
World War II.

The following year, Allfilm and First Freedom were partners yet
again, this time on an hour-long documentary called "Tall Ship,"
about the Russia-based ship, Kruzenshtern. It was shown on Discovery
Europe and is sold worldwide by Beckman International, a UK-based
distribution company.

Their most recent effort took place last year, when the film makers
co-produced "Around the World in 90 Days," a 13-part television
travel series for Discovery's Travel Channel and the UK Style Channel
in Britain. The crews spent 90 days at sea and visited places like
Sydney, Singapore, Hawaii, Vancouver and San Francisco.

For Addicott, the experience has been a rewarding one.

"The parnership has been excellent. Allfilm are a group of very
talented individuals," he said. "Many documentary makers in
'continental' Europe tend to want to make films for themselves, the
critics and other film makers. Allfilm recognizes that in Britain and
the United States, in fact most of the English-speaking world,
programs are made for the audience."

Allfilm, one of 11 independent production companies in Estonia, was
established in 1995. The company's producer, Pille Runk, explained
that while working in the Tallinn Film Animation Studio and studying
at the Estonian Art Academy, she met four other Estonian film makers
who were running their own individual companies, who eventually
decided to combine their efforts and form Allfilm. Now, it is
financed mainly through the Estonian Film Foundation and the Estonian
Cultural Endowment.

The maritime film makers don't know yet when "The Journey" will air
on the Discovery Channel, but it will most likely be after this year.