Nordic Pulse, an inspirational film portrait of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Kristjan Järvi, received its world premiere last night at the 23rd Black Nights Film Festival in Kristjan’s home city of Tallinn, Estonia. The premiere was attended by Kristjan and a number of the orchestra’s musicians, as well as senior directors of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and the production company Sunbeam Productions.
The screening was followed by a special Q&A session featuring Kristjan and two of the musicians who starred in the film – trumpet player Märt Metsla from Estonia, and violinist Ilze Gagaine from Latvia. One of the biggest film festivals in northern Europe, the Black Nights Film Festival screens around 250 features and welcomes 80,000 film goers every year. Nordic Pulse was a guest film at this year’s festival and is set for international release in summer 2020.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker David Donnelly (Maestro, Forte), Nordic Pulse follows the orchestra and Kristjan on two landmark European tours in 2017 – ‘Waterworks’ and ‘Baltic Folk’. The film explores how the Baltic Sea Philharmonic challenges expectations of what an orchestra can be, and it’s also the story of a visionary artist, leader and entrepreneur who wants to transform the concert experience for audiences and change their way of thinking about the world.
The audience reaction – ‘inspiring’ and ‘insightful’
‘Inspirational’ was the word used by many cinema goers as they gave their reaction to the film after the premiere screening. ‘The viewer feels the emotions, the excitement, the expectations and the relief and success of the orchestra,’ said one. ‘The film provides a great insight into the world and work of an orchestra,’ said another. One audience member commented that ‘The film brings across the vibes of this orchestral experience in the best possible way,’ adding that ‘Kristjan is amazing in his approach to what he does, and the film manages to give a real understanding of what is happening in his mind.’
With ‘Waterworks’, Kristjan wanted to transport audiences to a new dimension, and Nordic Pulse captures the unique atmosphere as an expert creative team from Sunbeam Productions transforms the musical performance into an immersive concert experience with lighting, sound design and projection art. On the ‘Baltic Folk’ tour the orchestra made history by performing Stravinsky’s The Firebird from memory for the first time. Nordic Pulse shows the musicians’ journeys from wondering whether playing such a complex score by heart is even possible, to feeling like it’s the most natural and inspiring experience they’ve ever had in an orchestra. The film also reveals how performing from memory has become a signature of the Baltic Sea Philharmonic, with the musicians now regularly performing entire 120-minute programmes by heart, improvising, dancing, and singing.