Liivo Niglas

The First Estonian Film Day in Mongolia 

Ethnograpic films by Liivo Niglas at 15:00, June 12, 2023 at Mongolian National University. (University Library, 302 Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar)

National University of Mongolia

(D. Zayabaatar, Institute for Mongolian Studies

B. Tsetsentsolmon, Department of Social Anthropology)


University of Tartu

(Alevtina Solovyeva, Mongolian Studies Lab, Centre for Oriental studies,

Liivo Niglas, Department of Ethnology)

 Altan Khalis Film Society
(N. Enkhbat , Kh. Tsenguun, E. Luvsantseren).

About the filmmaker:
Liivo Niglas is an ethnographic filmmaker and a research fellow at the Department of Ethnology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He runs an independent production company, MP DOC, for anthropological documentary films. He has made films in Siberia, Africa, Central Asia, and North America. Some of his films are: The Brigade (2000), Yuri Vella's World (2003), Adventure High (2004), Making Rain (2007), Fish On! (2008), Itelmen Stories (2010), Journey to the Maggot Feeder (2015), The Land of Love (2016), To Save a Language (2020).


Film 1
Adventure High
2004, 89 min.
Directing, camera and sound: Liivo Niglas
Editing: Liivo Niglas, Marju Juhkum
Sound editing: Mart Otsa
Music: Ramo Teder (Pastacas)
Producer: Liivo Niglas
Produced by: mp doc
Country of production: Estonia
Language of the film: Estonian, English, Russian, Chinese
Subtitles: English
Five young men take a four-month break from their well-functioning and responsible grown-up life to travel by bicycle from Mongolia to Nepal hoping to experience old-fashioned travel adventures.  Their journey leads them through diverse landscapes and harsh conditions (the Gobi Desert, where water and roads are equally challenging to find; the flooded dirt roads and landslides caused by heavy rain in the Himalayan mountains.)  They are exposed to exciting cultures and meet fascinating people (Mongolian nomads, Buddhist pilgrims, yak herders in the Himalayas, etc.)  All five travelers are very different by nature, which is reflected in the relationships within the group.  It appears that messages from home can have a much more significant impact on travelers' overall state of mind than the daily difficulties they encounter.  One of the bicyclists is the author of this film.


Film 2
Journey to the Maggot Feeder
2015, 67 min.
Directors: Liivo Niglas, Priit Tender
Camera, sound: Liivo Niglas
Sound editing: Mart Otsa
Editors: Liivo Niglas, Kaie-Ene Rääk
Music: Ramo Teder (Pastacas)
Producer: Kaie-Ene Rääk
Produced by: F-Seitse
Country of production: Estonia
Language of the film: Estonian, English, Russian
Subtitles: English
"A Journey to the Maggot Feeder" is a documentary (mixed with animation) about the making of an animated film based on a Chukchi fairy tale. It is an anthropological road movie about how a journey that was undertaken to interpret the strange fairy tale of a distant and exotic nation could help us understand the importance of storytelling in human life. The questions that arise during the journey give the viewer a chance to reflect on their life experience and unconscious mind; in other words – they undertake a journey into the depths of their inner world. The film tries to solve the mystery of a bizarre Arctic fairy tale. Priit Tender, an Estonian animator, makes a film about an old Chukchi legend – The Maggot Feeder. The unconventional narrative finds misunderstanding in the Western audiences, and Priit takes off on a journey to Chukotka in the North Eastern corner of Siberia, where deeper layers of the story and local culture start to unfold.

Film 3
The Land of Love
2016, 78 min.
Directing, camera and sound: Liivo Niglas
Editors: Liivo Niglas, Kaie-Ene Rääk
Sound editing: Mart Otsa
Producers: Kaie-Ene Rääk, Liivo Niglas
Produced by: F-Seitse, Mp Doc
Country of production: Estonia
Language of the film: Russian, Forest Nenets, Khanty, French
Subtitles: English
“The Land of Love” is a documentary film about reindeer, oil, politics, and poetry. It tells a story about Yuri Vella, a Forest Nenets reindeer herder and poet who lives in the taiga of Western Siberia and tries to prove that one person can stand against the great power that is destroying the environment of the native people.
Vella calls the Land of Love a piece of the forest-tundra where each autumn his reindeer mate. The same area is a favoured hunting ground for employees of Lukoil, a company that pumps oil in the region. For many years already, Yuri has tried to chase the Lukoil people away from the Land of Love because the noise of cars and rifle shots and the ruckus caused by boozing oil workers disturbs the mating of reindeer. Yuri uses several unusual resistance methods to chase the oil workers away, including filming the intruders and writing poems on the subject.
Estonian Day in Mongolia