Cultural exchange between Estonia and Canada takes place on a high level and is very diverse. Of Estonian culture, the area that has garnered the most attention and had the broadest exposure is Estonian cinema. For over 10 years the annual Baltic Film Festival has been organised in Ottawa, and over the years Canadian audiences have been able to see almost all the newest Estonian films (V. Kuik’s “Georg”, A. Kask’s “December Heat”, V. Õunpuu’s “Autumn Ball”, A. Mäeots’s “Taarka”, P. Urbla’s “Shop of Dreams”, etc.). In 2011 the Baltic Film festival was expanded to become the Baltic and Nordic Film Festival “Bright Nights”, within the framework of which audiences in Ottawa and Montreal could view the newest films from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Nordic countries. Estonia was represented by V. Õunpuu’s film “The Temptation of St. Tony”. Estonian films have also been shown at other film festivals – J. Kilmi and K. Aarma’s film “Disco and Atomic War” earned a lot of attention at the 25th European Union Film Festival, and L. Paakspuu’s “The Wish Tree” and A. Tuisk’s “Bank Robbery” were shown at the Montreal World Film Festival.
In connection with the Republic of Estonia’s anniversary celebrations, concerts by Tõnu Naissoo’s jazz quartet took place and maestro Eri Klas conducted the symphony orchestra; Estonia National Opera soloists Heli Veskus and Oliver Kuusik performed at the Canadian National Opera. The E-stuudio choir and Kiili early music ensemble also performed in Ottawa. In 2009 Raivo Tafenau (Quintet featuring Sergio Bastos) performed at the International Jazz Festival in Ottawa.
This year the photo exhibit “Photographed Estonia” by A. Haas, G. Järvet, B. Püve and I. Muusikus was opened in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For its part, Canada has brought its star performers to Estonia for Jazzkaar, the Birgitta Festival, and for solo concerts on the Song Festival Grounds. Estonian audiences have had opportunities to see Brian Adams, Michael Bublé, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and Kwakwaka’wakw Indian performers. Memorable performances have been given by Avril Lavigne and Rufud Wainwright. Estonian jazz fans have been able to enjoy the Montreal Guitar Trio and jazz guitarist Kevin Breit. In addition, many notable Canadian pianists, singers and dancers have performed in Estonia’s concert and opera venues. And one can’t forget to mention the productions that have been a huge hit among the Estonian public for the past few years, Cirque du Soleil.