This evening the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days will be opened in Los Angeles. The event, lasting until September 4th brings together Estonians from home and abroad, their friends and supporters. The multi-faceted festival is the largest event in North America devoted to the 100th jubilee year of independence of the Republic of Estonia. Many cultural groups and performers from Estonia have come to perform at different concerts. Traditionally there is a song festival, Estonian movies will be screened and many thematic seminars will take place. The Ministry of Culture has supported cultural group participation at the festival in the amount of 52 526 Euros.
Piret Hartman, Undersecretary for Cultural Diversity at the Ministry of Culture is participating in the West Coast Days and is very pleased that so far away from Estonia the Estonian mind-set and language has been so well preserved. „Estonia is great when our language and culture has been preserved and is enduring within Estonia as well as outside the country borders. The state can further the preservation of Estonianism outside the country borders through various supporting roles – offering language courses, training and aiding the carrying out of cultural events. From the perspective of cultural vitality an important aim is increased efficiency in creating and maintaining contacts between Estonians and friends of Estonia which supports Estonia’s creative industry and cultural export. A stronger creative industry and cultural export aids worldwide awareness of our culture.“
The undersecretary Piret Hartman will make a presentation on developments in Estonia’s society in the integration field, based on the recent integration monitoring results. She will also participate in the panel discussion „Estonian culture and Estonian language in Estonian exile communities“.
The West Coast Estonian Days Organization Committee Chairman Uve Sillat says that it is remarkable that the West Coast Estonian Organizations Association which has as a principle aim the organization of Estonian nationalistic cultural events has since 1953 dutifully carried out the aim of organizing West Coast days. „As organizers we are proud that the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days are part of the jubilee year festivity program in Los Angeles”, explained Sillat.
The organizing committee vice chairman Renee Meriste added that this year’s West Coast Estonian Days in Los Angeles are significant as the Republic of Estonia is one hundred years old and already as of 26 years ago again independent as well as for the first time in the history of West Coast Days they will be visited by the Estonian Republic’s Prime Minister. „An important aim of the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days is to introduce to Estonia the great potential of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is the worldwide capital of creative industry and a growing technological center where the head offices of many leading technology companies are found. We hope that the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days and the Prime Minister’s visit will strengthen the relationship between Los Angeles and Estonia”, added Meriste.
The cultural program from Estonia to the US is varied and respectable. Among the participants are Ivo Linna with the band Boogie Company, mezzo-soprano Monika-Evelin Liiv, the pianist Marje Lohuaru, Pärnu mixed choir Endla, Ivar Lett with the dance group Sõna ja Tants (Word and Dance) as well as the Tartu Folk High School Jazz choir. In total 78 persons from Estonia have traveled to Los Angeles as cultural personalities or cultural group members.
The multi-faceted seminar program in the framework of the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days permits becoming acquainted with subjects in the cultural, economic and political fields. The activities and possibilities of the Estonian Foundation of Musical Instruments will be introduced by the Instrument Foundation director Marje Lohuaru. The film program includes five Estonian movies, a presentation on Estonian film and an introduction to the Black Night’s Film Festival (PÖFF). The film themed seminar will include Estonians participating in Los Angeles’ movie industry. From Estonia are present the producer of the movies „Tangerines“ and „Fencer“, Ivo Felt and PÖFF’s development director Neeme Kari. The founding architect of Kodasema, Ülar Mark gives an introduction to the functionalistic module home project Koda.
Traditionally the West Coast Estonian Days have taken place every other year rotating between the US cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle as well as Vancouver, Canada.
More info on the XXXIII West Coast Estonian Days can be found here.