Estonian film director Jaak Kilmi: to me, gardening is art

Estonian film director Jaak Kilmi: to me, gardening is art
Mārtiņš Otto, Rīga 2014 . Estonian film director Jaak Kilmi
06-10-2013 A+ A-
On Saturday forenoon in Lucavsala, the sun greets every member of „Jumpravsala” garden cooperative, they have come together for the harvest celebration. Indeed, there is one more reason to celebrate. Also Estonian director Jaak Kilmi has paid a visit to the gardeners. He and social anthropologist Agnese Cimdiņa are making a story about Lucavsala community and traditions (to be more precise, it's about Jumpravsala). All seven films will be united in one project - „Force Majeure. Riga”, and screened next autumn.

During the conversation with „Rīga 2014”, Jaak tells that six or seven anthropologists sent in the potential ideas for this film, but this idea of filming Lucavsala gardens attracted him the most.


„I thought, yes, there is a potential for a film. If the idea was mine, I also would like to make a story about such an interesting, whimsical and odd place,” says Jaak adding that he's quite familiar with Riga centre and Ķīpsala, although have never heard of Lucavsala before.

„When I read the material Agnese sent me, I really wanted to look what's out there. And one more thing: if you are researching a certain location you've never heard of, as a documentary filmmaker, it's important for you to recognize the main heroes of this location. The film is only as bright as their heroes are.”

Jaak Kilmi got lucky. He met his main hero while visiting Lucavsala for the first time. Her name is Rasma, and she's the leader of „Jumpravsala” cooperative. „Of course, she agreed to be in my film,” says Kilmi with a smile on his face. He did not have to change the former idea at all, basically, all they had to do was to record what Rasma says and does. „I think, Lucavsala will change in the next three to five years. Of course, I don't know if this colony of small gardens stays the same. But, yes, some changes might come. While filming for ”Force Majeure„, I thought of making another one, a bit extensive, documentary, so that the story about Lucavsala and its inhabitants would last.”


Kilmi tells that similar garden cooperatives are located near Tallinn, but, unlike Latvia, mostly seniors are active in those garden territories. Apparently, young Estonian people don't find gardening an attractive way to spend time whereas in Latvia, they are very active. „Jānis sometimes offers some unusual refreshments, for example, a drink made of peppermint, melissa and hemp milk,” says Jaak. For him, it was interesting that various generations live friendly together in those gardens, so their relationship will be shown in film too. „To be able to finish my work, I am visiting Riga in November and next winter, but the filming started this May when apple trees were still in blossoms,” unfolds Jaak.

Kilmi himself owns a garden in the nearby country area next to Tallinn. He also has a small piece of a land in Tallinn, though Kilmi is not a very passionate gardener.

„I simply don't know how to work in a garden. I think, gardening is art. Everyone has to do things he's good at, so I'll better stick to filmmaking.”

This small fifteen-minute film has to be completed next summer, and Dāvis Sīmanis will bring in the final work by uniting those pieces in a larger project. The future work depends on what happens in Lucavsala. „My intuition tells that there will be lots of events,” sums up Kilmi promising that the new film will be screened in Riga too.




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