February 7, 2018



During the 2016 summer, Ian and I were heading to travel the world and film our documentary project while our four kiddos were spending their summer with my family in Estonia. During the break in the filming schedule, we packed our camera gear into our backpacks and took a flight to see them.

Since I have been able to take my family to visit my homeland I have been gifted with the amazing opportunity to rediscover my history all over again. To see the things I took for granted in a new light and to revisit the people and places I have missed with a newfound appreciation.

On this particular trip, my mom took us to visit the place where our pre-crusade king fought his last fight to protect our nation from a German takeover. As he lost his life our nation lost its freedom. The following 700 years Estonians lived in slavery.

As we planned our trip to the hidden hills in the heart of Estonia, our son who had discovered his love for archery, proposed an idea. He desired to make a short film of him and his grandma’s black wolf dog “Peetrike” in the Estonian forest with his bow and arrows.

As we arrived at the forest, fresh with rain, we freed the kids and the dog, the later had no interest in taking any directions. So we let our crew run wild and discover every rock and frog there was.

As it’s not every day our kiddos take a full interest in our passions, we did set out to film our son’s exploring of the historic site and testing out the new Estonian handmade bow he was gifted with.

Every visit and every landmark has been an opportunity for me to share the one of a kind history of the small nation I am a part. The 700 years of slavery did come to end for Estonians. During those years Estonians were ruled by Swedes, Danes, Germans, and Russians. Our land and people were at the crossroads of much political interest and suffered many losses in the wars fought on our land. On February 24th, 1918 Russian troops had left the country and German troops were not yet there. Estonians seized this one day. They claimed their independence. The next day the German troops entered and occupied the Republic of Estonia. Although the country of Estonia existed for only one day it was enough to declare its self an independent nation.

The star of our picture working with his would be co-star “Peetrike”, the wolf dog. Unfortunately, our dog costar was not ready for his debut and refused to cooperate.

The beautiful majestic land of Estonia, once filled with struggle, now is filled with an atmosphere of reverence and hope.

Today on February 24th, 2018 we celebrate 100 years from this one cold winter day. Our nations journey before and after this day includes World War II, mass deportations to Siberian prison camps, communism and the life behind the “Iron Curtain”.   It is hard to grasp the spirit of a nation who after 700 years of slavery had the heart and strength to seize that one day.  The day that had an everlasting impact on its less than a million Estonians, a country that is three times smaller than the state of Colorado. 
Our short film is to honor that spirit. To always keep pushing forward, to be open to adventures, to seek the knowledge of our forefathers and mothers and never lose the passion and pursuit for freedom. We wish the Republic of Estonia the proudest 100 years of independence! If you want to read more about the history of Estonia click the link; Estonian History Written By Kadri Bennett

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