Film and Media Blog

Vivian Säde: Straight from a Wedding into the Singing Revolution

Our Audiovisual Media alumna Vivian got a fresh new opportunity just as she was finishing her studies at BFM. Namely, a US video production revolving around the Singing Revolution.


The video was a part of a bigger musical production that will bring the theme of the Estonian Singing Revolution onto the stages of Broadway. Vivian tells us a bit more about this:

So give us some background: how did you stumble upon this opportunity? 

I knew Kristi Roosmaa, the star of our video already back when I lived in New York (2014-2016) – I was a great fan of musical theater back then and also dabbled in singing and acting. I met Kristi through the Estonian consulate, she was the cultural attaché back then. And then, after some years passed, Kristi wrote to me about being a part of the creative team of a new musical about the Estonian Singing Revolution. Apparently they were looking for a young filmmaker in Estonia to produce a music video. I sent them my final thesis film "It's about a Wedding" (2020) along with my portfolio and they responded in a couple of days that they'd like to work with me. I met the author of the musical Tony Spinosa via Skype and the rest is history (by now).

The time preceding the video shoot was immensely busy, wasn't it? How did you manage to plan and go through the pre-production period during the COVID special circumstances and finishing up your university studies at the same time? 

Fortunately I received the offer to make this video once I was already done with school. But indeed, my take-it-easy-and-rest-from-your-BA-summer turned into rest-a-bit-and-go-make-a-music-video-summer. All the while I wasn't alone in the pre-production ordeal - I had great help (from the Estonian team) from BFM alumnus Andres Arukask (cinematography and co-editing) and current students Sander Lebrecht (on-set producer) and Alesja Suzdaltseva (assistant director) without whom this video couldn't have been possible. 

Which skills learnt in school provided to be useful in this production? 

Is it OK to say "all of them"? I felt that learning Audiovisual Media was in fact learning the trade of the director-producer - even the school assignments given to us were presented and operated on as so called "real"-life projects, so handling this big project didn't feel too alien at all. And it helped to know that nobody could give me a C at the end of this project to bring down my grade point average...

What did you learn from this process?

I learnt that you need to find the right people to work with and the work goes smoothly. It doesn't mean that it's easy (scriptwriting, directing and producing have never seemed "easy" for me), but that while the work is challenging, it is also pleasurable. Here I need to bring my (ex) coursemate Andres Arukask to the limelight: he was there all throughout the long days of flipping through archive videos and managed to keep making stupid jokes along the way.

Tell us something fun that happened on the shoot or during pre-production! 

We had one day to shoot the video on the Song Festival Grounds. I (fortunately) have many fun memories from that. But one of the quirkiest was transporting Kristi's dress (that Liina Stein graciously lent us) from one end of the festival grounds to the other - it was without exaggeration a job for 5 women, since the dress had to make it back to the studio on pristine condition (there was no budget to buy a dress of that calibre). I just received word from Elisa Sinisalu (costume designer) a few weeks ago that the dress had made it back in perfect condition. All's well that ends well!

See the video!