I visited the Boston Baltic Film Festival and saw the movie “Kalev” earlier this year.
Every year here in Boston, there is a Baltic Film Festival, which I enjoy very much. With that comes an acquaintance with a new movie. This year’s movie was “Kalev”, an Estonian film on basketball, directed by Ove Musting. The film is set in the early 1990s, and it shows how a coach leads his team to win the Soviet Union basketball championship just as Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s basketball championship was the team’s only hope.
Every other summer, my family and I travel to Estonia to visit our family there, and by chance they happen to live close to some of the buildings that were used in the movie. Most of the buildings used are old and looked very much like they did in the 1990s, which helped portray the time period accurately.
About a month before the Boston Baltic Film Festival, my Estonian school teacher asked my classmate, Enrik, and I whether we would like to participate in the festival by handling the introduction of the movie and the Q & A session with the director. We decided that Enrik would do the introduction, and I would ask Ove a couple of questions. I came up with my questions from watching a previous interview he did and leaning on my knowledge of basketball.
I asked him about how he came up with the idea for the movie, and also how he felt when the real Estonian National team Kalev won the championship. He explained that it was a crucial part in Estonia’s national independence, so he wanted to commemorate it in film. When they won the championship, he and all of Estonia felt free and alive. I also asked him if the actors knew how to play basketball, and he explained that most of them had never played in their lives. So, it was useful that some basketball players came and helped the actors prepare for their roles.
After I asked my questions, we took a photo with him, and he surprised us with a basketball that was used in the movie. His production team tried to find the basketballs from the 1990s to make the movie feel more authentic. Though they couldn’t find any that were authentic from that time, they used old Spalding basketballs which looked similar to the originals. All-in-all, the movie showed the steps the team took to make their way to the championship and eventually win it for Estonia’s independence.
As a 14-year-old, I enjoyed learning about the perseverance of Estonians to regain freedom and independence. And as a basketball player, I enjoyed learning how teamwork works on and off the court.
Hendrik Branzetti, 14.a., Massachusettsi osariigist