8 Views of Lake Biwa
A devastating accident pushes the inhabitants of a small fishing village into a cascade of tragic consequences, unravelling episodically as focus skips between households and forays out across the lake. Magic, art and belief are fading in the community, as their connection to traditions is lost or harnessed for selfish purposes. We hear whispers of longings, exploring sexuality and playfulness across generations, but it is grief, ambition and fatalism that drive events to a final reckoning with nature itself. BIWA mirrors eight stories from the Japanese art tradition. Archetypes of our twelve characters unfold, as each view is interrupted, only to flow into the next, with characters fluidly exchanging places. Hanake, our teenage narrator, is present throughout. Her mindspace, shaped by children’s play but shifting toward adult needs, brings the archaic community into focus and casts it in conflict with modernity. Innocence is lost and much more is abandoned along with it.
We need poetry to step out of the constraints of the dominant, pragmatic mindset and to describe the indescribable, in much the same way exploring a distant culture enables us to look at our own culture with fresh eyes. The traditional Japanese animistic Shinto belief system, upholding the spirituality of all living things, the soulfulness of the whole world, encompasses exactly what we here in the West have lost now.
Japanese culture as a whole exemplifies a certain type of organic and apolitical spirituality. The Eight Views is an Eastern artistic tradition that describes a place through eight poetic motives, such as evening glow, sails returning in the evening, autumn moon, temple bells, wild geese departing. Through these views, we’re seeking the intersection of this animistic sense of nature and the islets of magical thought at Estonia’s eastern borders. We aim to create expectations, deceive them, and distance the viewer from everyday realism.
Marko Raat is an award-winning Estonian writer-director, curator and academic, active in the fields of both arthouse fiction film and documentaries since 1999. He has a vast background in theatre directing, TV productions and in fine art. His latest feature-length documentary Funeral Diaries (2019) is still travelling the festival circuit after premiering at Dok.Fest Munich and opening DocPoint Tallinn. His most recent short film A Chairman’s Tale (2015) had its debut at the International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. His last feature-length fiction film The Snow Queen (2010) had been developed at SOURCES2 and premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival, then was screened at Cairo and Mumbai among many acclaimed festivals.
Producer and Sound Designer Ivo Felt co-founded the production company Allfilm in 1995. Currently, Ivo is focusing more on producing but has created sound design for more than 50 feature and documentary films in the past. Ivo’s productions include Zaza Urushadze's Tangerines (2013) nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe as well as Klaus Härö's The Fencer (2015) nominated for a Golden Globe. Ivo’s latest feature Truth and Justice (2019) directed by Tanel Toom broke box office records locally, won a Satellite Award and was shortlisted for an Academy Award. He has also produced a number of creative documentaries and works with director Marko Raat for twelve years now. Their latest collaboration, Funeral Diaries (2019) opened at DOK.fest Munich and screened at many festivals later.
Dora Nedeczky is a Hungarian producer working between Budapest and Tallinn. With a background in aesthetics and film theory her recent projects include analog experimental works from Peter Strickland (a long-term, short-form collaborator) and found-footage auteur Péter Lichter. Strickland’s GUO4 (2019, Venice) and Cold Meridian (2020, San Sebastian) were both selected to PÖFF and their segment in horror anthology The Field Guide to Evil (2018) premiered at SXSW. Lichter’s Empty Horses (2019) was at IFFR and Jihlava, and his latest (co-directed with Bori Máté), The Philosophy of Horror (2020), has its international premiere shared between Torino and Cottbus. She has several projects in pre-production including an adaptation of The Island of Dr Moreau and a fresh Strickland short.
Allfilm is an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated production house operating since 1995. The company’s scope of activity varies from developing and producing quality features, documentaries and TV series to developing transmedia concepts and producing highly finished commercials. The company also provides production services for international films and commercials. Over the years, Allfilm has produced more than 80 films, including international co-productions, and more than 400 commercial films. We have had the honour of working with directors such as Klaus Harö, Zaza Urushadze, Marius Holst, Yoon-Ki Lee, Martti Helde, Tanel Toom, and more. Today, with a permanent staff of twelve, Allfilm is the largest production company in Estonia with partners from all over the world.