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'The Singing Revolution' to Screen Dec. 4-7 at
UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Nov. 25, 2008

poster for The Singing RevolutionEAU CLAIRE — "The Singing Revolution" (Estonia-United States, 2006), a documentary about a nonviolent revolution that helped topple the Soviet empire, will be shown Dec. 4-7 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The International Film Society will present the film at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday in Davies Theatre.

Song was the weapon of choice when the republic of Estonia sought to free itself from decades of brutal occupation. A small country with a large and rich history, Estonia is one of the three Baltic countries, along with Lithuania and Latvia, to have suffered greatly during the Soviet and Nazi aggressions of the 20th century. A Baltic Sea gateway into Russia, Estonia survived hundreds of years of invading forces who coveted the land. But after finally establishing itself as an independent European state in 1918, it was nearly destroyed by waves of Soviet and Nazi occupation. The nation endured nearly 50 years of murder, torture, deportation, and ultimately a cultural genocide by the Soviet system.

In 1969, a hundred-year-old tradition called Laulupidu (The Song Festival) — founded as a symbol of Estonia's desire for independence — inspired a rising independence movement. On the 100th anniversary of the festival, 30,000 Estonian singers took the stage to sing one song. Forbidden to sing anything other than Soviet propaganda songs, the choir and the crowds sang "Land of My Fathers, Land that I Love," a song with lyrics from a well-known 100-year-old Estonian poem. Sung in protest to the Soviets, without the Soviets understanding its true meaning, the song re-energized a decades-long fight against the occupation. It immediately became Estonia's unofficial national anthem. All Soviet attempts to stop the singing failed. Between 1987 and 1991, hundreds of thousands gathered in public to sing forbidden songs and rally for independence.

"The Singing Revolution" tells the story of Estonia's nonviolent march toward freedom. Narrated by Linda Hunt, the film chronicles the Singing Revolution movement as history lesson and cautionary tale. At first glance the story of an extraordinary set of circumstances, the film also stands as an intimate portrayal of people — ordinary, everyday people who refused to believe that freedom was out of their reach.

Directed by James Tusty and Maureen Castle Tusty, the 94-minute film is not rated.

Admission is $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff and $1 for UW-Eau Claire students. Tickets are available at the Service Center in Davies Center's east lobby (715-836-3727) and will be sold at the door.

Tickets for all campus events also are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The ticket outlet is open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and is closed during holidays and academic breaks.

Visit the Web site or the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133, for more information about the campus film series.

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JS/NW

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