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ReelEarth: The Estonian Smoke Sauna Collector

Posted on 12/24/2018 12:00:00 AM in What We're Watching

A note from independent filmmaker David Conover on why he chose this film:

For some reason, dark, hot rooms with sweating people have always engaged the curiosity of Estonian Madis Kats, a photographer and collector of sauna experiences. Why? Filmmaker Aleksandr Heifets meets Madis in a small village, a three-hour drive from Tallinn, Estonia. Unlike the Turkish steam bath, the hammam of Morocco, the Russian dry banya, or the Native American sweat lodge, the hot rooms in this part of the world are called “smoke saunas.” They are revered as much—if not more—than the traditional holy places of this Baltic region. One day, Madis hopes to have one of his own. For now, though, he searches for the powerful soul refreshment he first encountered early in life. With the radical insider perspective of this ReelEarth Collection, we follow. Among these Estonian smoke saunas, we learn something about hot rooms, people, and the similarities, differences, and variations of this global experience of restoration and changed lives. This film is a hot door into another culture!

Produced by Aleksandr Heifets

About David Conover:

David Conover, a long-term partner of O.A.T. and Grand Circle, is an award-winning filmmaker and conservationist whose work has appeared on Discovery Channel, PBS, and National Geographic Explorer. He is the founder of Compass Light Productions and the nonprofit Conservation Media Group, and was recently the Coastal Studies Scholar at Bowdoin College. Learn more about David here.

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