A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness completes shooting in Estonia
by Laurence Boyce
23/07/2012 - After shooting in Finland, Norway and – finally – Estonia, award-winning artists and filmmakers Ben Rivers (photo) and Ben Russell have completed production on their collaboration A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness, which won the Best Project Award at FidLab Marseille 2010. The documentary is described as “an inquiry into the possibilities of a spiritual existence within an increasingly secular Western culture [that] choreographs the actions of non-actors within existing Scandinavian landscapes in an effort to arrive at a hybrid document of the past, present, and future; it is a record of experience that proposes belief in transcendence as a viable outcome of living in the now.”
Rivers' previous film, Two Years At Sea (2011), was popular both on the festival circuit and on its release in the UK earlier in the year, while Russell received the FIPRESCI prize at the 2010 Rotterdam Film Festival for his film Let Each One Go Where He May (2009).
Speaking to Cineuropa about making the documentary in the area, Rivers explained: “We wanted the film to be made in the North: it came out of a mutual interest in Norway, Pagans, black metal and landscape. But as the film progressed we realised for a number of different reasons that we didn’t want to stick to Norway. But we wanted to remain in the Scandinavia area and dip down into the Baltics.”
Ben Russell added: “We ended up here in Estonia because – maybe by chance or by serendipity – the place we ended up shooting on was the island of Vormsi, which was settled by the Viking Orm initially, and seems somewhat positioned in amore Scandinavian phase. I thought I could see that influence more on Vormsi then elsewhere in Estonia. But beyond that is was the relationship that Estonia has with this idea of community, having being occupied by the Soviet Union during its past.”
The film, budgeted at €103,877 and funded by organisations including Rouge International and Black Hand, will now go into post-production.