Jaak Kilmi’s Witty Activism
Published: October 2, 2013 (Issue # 1780)
Jaak Kilmi is an Estonian filmmaker who is always on the lookout for activists. Best known for such award-winning films as “Disco and Atomic War,” “The Art of Selling” and “Revolution of Pigs,” his works are often critical of society while also, perhaps, showing ways in which it can be changed. That is where the activists come in.
“Films about activists are always more interesting than films about passive people,” the 39-year-old Kilmi told The St. Petersburg Times.
“’Passivists’ just sit still, and that’s okay with them. They’re too comfortable to be good, interesting characters in a film. So activists are my topic, they are my people because they want to change something, and it’s not easy. There’s natural drama in a character that wants to change something and has to overcome obstacles. And for a film it’s a very good situation to follow what happens.”
In St. Petersburg, Kilmi was looking for environmental activists for his upcoming multimedia project about people in different Baltic countries struggling to save the Baltic Sea from pollution.
“It’s interesting also in the sense that we don’t know anything about St. Petersburg, except for the activists from the art group Voina, because their voice was heard loudest in the West,” Kilmi says.
“Their provocations were funny and witty. Now they are real members of this ‘anti’ anti-movement because they are all in hiding. Personally, I don’t know the guys, but I’ve seen documentaries about them and I’ve seen the documentation of their performances. I really like them. But for our project, we are not looking for artists. We need environmental activists.”
Called “Baltic Warriors,” the project, to be launched next summer, will involve an Internet simulation game, real-life actions that will be documented and posted on the Web, and a resulting documentary film. The project is intended to function as a public campaign to save the Baltic Sea.
The people behind the project believe the Baltic is in such a poor state that it could be completely bereft of marine life by 2050.
St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region are huge sources of pollution and cause much concern, Kilmi says. Yet, he points out, Poland and Sweden (with its agriculture) are also responsible for the pollution, along with nearly every other country on the Baltic Sea.
“There are so many reasons given for not stopping the pollution, for not changing the situation,” Kilmi says.
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