THE OLD AMERICAN CAN FACTORY
On the roof of The Old American Can Factory
GOWANUS/ PARK SLOPE
232 THIRD ST. AT 3RD AVE., BROOKLYN, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or M/R to Union Ave.
8:00 Doors Open
8:30 Live music
9:00 Film begins
11:00 Reception in courtyard
NY Premiere! A documentary about cold wars and hot desires, about how the totalitarian Soviet regime in Estonia went head to head with J.R. Ewing and the heroes of western television...and lost.
Presented in partnership with: IFC, New York magazine, vitaminwater, Icarus Pictures & XO Projects
DISCO AND ATOMIC WAR (Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma | Estonia | 67 min.)
In the mid 1980's, the nation of Estonia still lay firmly in the grip of the Soviet Union, and the repressive authorities controlled virtually all aspects of Estonian life. The totalitarian government's power was derived in no small part from their ability to censor cultural life and keep Western culture on the other side of the border. Rock and Roll was but a rumor and the only television shows on the air were dreary propaganda. But one day everything changed. Just a few miles across the border in Finland, a huge new television antenna was built that broadcast western signals in all directions--including directly into the heart of the Talinn, the capital of Estonia.
A band of maverick engineers and amateur electronics enthusiasts realized what was going on and quickly rejiggered their Soviet televisions, modifying them so that they could receive the Finnish television signals. Soon enough, word began to spread that the world on the other side of the iron curtain did not appear to match the descriptions provided by the government propaganda. The Estonian citizens had been told that in America and Western Europe the economies were already collapsing at that the pawns of capitalism lived in utter squalor. But each night the people of Talinn pulled down the shades and turned on western television and watched as the stars of the TV show Dallas living in huge mansions and luxuriating by their pools; they saw disco dances and fashionably clad young Europeans dancing to music unlike any they had heard before; they saw that MacGyver displayed technical ingenuity and was capable of feats of great bravery; and perhaps most importantly, they heard the voice of David Hasselhoff''s artifically intelligent robot car. Seeing the advanced automotive technology on display, they immediately realized that any notion of Soviet technological superiority was sheer fantasy.
Filmmakers Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma grew up in Talinn in the 80's, and in Disco and Atomic War they make use of wonderfully playful but credible recreations to set their true personal coming of age story against the backdrop of the rapid collapse of the Soviet government in Estonia. As illicit television antennas sprung up in Northern Estonia, rumors about the attempted murder of J.R. Ewing spread by word of mouth to the rural south, and the nation of Estonia was as gripped by the saga as the USA had ever been. Teenagers went to their school dances and imitated the disco moves they saw on television, clothing and hairstyles began to change radically, and things would never be the same. The government controlled media scrambled to create western-style soap operas and disco-saturated television programming that vaguely reinforced communist values, but it was far too little, and much too late. The genie was out of the bottle, Estonians were now in the grip of American television, and they began to dream that one day, they too would spend their days working in skyscrapers and their nights drinking fine whiskey by the pool, alongside their robot car.
- Dan Nuxoll
HANASAARI A (Hannes Vartiainen & Pekka Veikkolainen | Finland | 15 min.)
An experimental documentary about the changing cityscape of Helsinki and the final moments of a coal-fired power plant. The old industrial milieu is being destroyed to make space for modern housing units.
Official Website: http://www.rooftopfilms.com/2010/schedule/33-disco-and-atomic-war
Added by Rooftop Films on June 14, 2010