A documentary about the Baltic nations’ path to independence premieres in London

“Those Who Dare”, a 52-minute documentary film that traces the Baltic nations’ path to restoring their independence from the Soviet occupation, is to premiere in London.

When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, his reform policy sparked an independence movement in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. But as cries for help from these Baltic states were met with silence from the international community at large, two small nations answered the call – Iceland and Denmark – motivated by the personal connections of their respective foreign ministers, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson and Uffe Elleman Jensen.

Ultimately, it was up to Iceland and its intrepid foreign minister, Hannibalsson, to advocate a “new security order” and to first recognise these countries’ declarations of independence in 1991. “Those Who Dare”, a 2015 joint production by Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, recounts this dramatic tale, using real footage of events as they unfolded over the two years leading to independence, as well as interviews with the major political figures of the time.

Hannibalsson and Tunne Kelam to attend

The film’s London premiere will take place at 6 PM on 17 October at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – admission to the event is free, but external guests will have to register online by midday 17 October.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with the screenwriter, Kolfinna Baldvinsdóttir, as well as with the special guest, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, whose involvement in challenging the legacy of the Second World War helped make Baltic independence a reality. They will be joined by Tunne Kelam, a member of the European Parliament and one of the leading figures in Estonia’s quest to restore independence. The discussion will be chaired by Kristina Spohr, an associate professor in international history at the London School of Economics.

There will also be a photo exhibition entitled “Timeless Tallinn” by Estonian photographer Arne Maasik that will stay at the EBRD until 26 October.

Apart from London, “Those Who Dare” will also screen in Cambridge on 19 October.


Cover: A group of Lithuanians protecting the Seimas Palace, the seat of the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius, on 30 January 1991 (image courtesy of Kiur Aarma/AXFILMS).

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