Our last day in Tallinn was the premiere of our first completely finished films. We dressed up, went to the cinema, and saw our own names on the big screen – it was a great evening. Afterward, our whole group of Cologne and Munich students went to the same bar we’ve been on our first night out together. In some way, everything wrapped up there.
Over the last five months, we did not only produce and shoot four movies, we also traveled a little bit and got to know Estonia even more. The most memorable trip we took was to Tartu, which is a very beautiful city, even when it rains. We visited the national museum, got to see the university and some cafés in Tartu itself, and lastly even got a tour around a brewery, which was definitely fun for all the beer fans. Another quite remarkable day was when we went location scouting on Prangli, and in addition to that, shot our campaign spot for Kickstarter. It was such a cold day, that some locals even offered their sauna to us, so we would be able to warm up a little. That’s such a nice example for Estonian people – they might appear closed off, but really they are such nice people (and their homes often include saunas, which is amazing!). It definitely pays off to get to know them.
Aside from going on trips, we also got to experience a cold and darker Tallinn than in the first few weeks we’ve been there. It was strange to have less light during the day, and more and more darkness. It definitely robs energy, sometimes we just wanted to stay in and watch movies. The cold sea winds didn’t really motivate us more to go outside. The big upside to „Winter-Tallinn“ was the amazing Christmas decoration. Every historical building was decorated with lovely colorful lights, so the nights didn’t seem as dark anymore. The Christmas market is also simply beautiful, with a big tree in the middle of the town square, which can be seen until the end of January. The „Glögg“, which is essentially hot apple cider with a little cinnamon in it, was very tasty and warmed us up quite nicely. The early night, which started around half past three, made the cafés and restaurants seem even more comforting and warm, so we had some options to spend our time, even if it was too cold to walk around. When it was still light outside, one activity, which is definitely worth trying out is ice skating, just around the corner of the Christmas market – very affordable and a lot of fun, even if you are not very good at ice skating.
Nevertheless, the highlight of our stay in Estonia was without question shooting the movies. For us, film students, filming in English was a challenge, but also a big enrichment to our studies. The team was pretty international, ranging from Estonian to Italian people. Even though Germans were doubtlessly the majority, we still managed to make the sets feel diverse. Production and casting were quite stressful tasks because we had to work completely independently for the first time. The teams still managed to organize amazing sets with great detail, fun and talented actors and of course a crew, which was always eager to do their best work. We had to work in sometimes crazy conditions – cold winds, rain, snow, a prison without any heating whatsoever, once an actor didn’t even show up to the set – but in the end, that made the experience even more special. Although it wasn’t always just fun for the team, we still worked very hard and supported each other, which definitely brought us closer together. The film might not be everyone’s passion, but for us, Estonia provided the perfect opportunity to improve this passion and give us much needed perspective, as to what we can endure and achieve. All the work finally paid off, when the postproduction phase ended and we were able to see the finished project. One of our professors said that whatever feeling we have when first watching the film on the big screen, this would be the feeling we have of the overall project. I can’t speak for the whole group, but I was proud of everyone for what we’ve created.
Looking back on this last evening, I can say that I will miss Tallinn, for all its coldness and simple charm. Even though it might have seemed small at times, like you already knew every corner, it was somehow comforting to know a town so well. It was also great to have a good excuse to stay inside, drink tea, and watch movies the whole day – because it was just too cold to go outside. But when I come back next time, it will surely be in the summer. Even if you’ll find nothing positive about the Winter in Tallinn, you will definitely learn to appreciate the sun.
Photographs were taken by Christian Eberwein.