Matsalu Nature Film Festival in Narva

This year, once again, films being showcased in the Matsalu Nature Film Festival will be able to be seen in Narva. The best nature films and documentaries from the last two years will give audiences the chance to experience the breathtaking beauty and order of the natural world, to appreciate the efforts that people around the globe are making to commune with nature and to give some thought to topical environmental issues. This year’s films place us in the snowshoes of a reindeer herder in the Siberian wilderness, put us on the path of wild horses on the Hungarian steppes, ponder the loss of bees from Sichuan province in Western China and deposit us as dragonflies above the waters of the Oker River in Germany’s Harz Mountains.

The screenings will be preceded and followed by discussions in Estonian of the topics they cover, with experts commenting on what we have seen and answering our questions.

Note: The films will only be subtitled in Estonian. The predominant language of the films is English, but other languages include Russian and Chinese.


23 September | 17:00 | When the Snow Melts Down (Когда тает снег)
Russia | 2021 | 63 mins| Watch the trailer
Original language(s): English • Russian • Italian | Subtitles: Estonian
This film follows, in parallel, the lives of a reclusive reindeer herder and his daughter in Rome, giving us their thoughts on life and the ties that bind us.

23 September | 19:00 | Wild Horses – A Tale from the Puszta
Germany • Austria • Hungary | 2021 | 88 mins| Watch the trailer
Original language(s): English | Subtitles: Estonian
Through the eyes of a little foal named Dot, this film provides an insight into the lives on the Hungarian steppes of the Przewalski’s horse, the only remaining truly wild horse in the world.

24 September | 17:00 | Earth: Muted
Sweden | 2021 | 70 mins | Watch the trailer
Original language(s): Chinese | Subtitles: Estonian
This film focusses on three farming families in the Hanyuan valley in the Chinese province of Sichuan as they struggle to make a life for themselves and future generations in conditions that are seeing the local bee population decimated by pesticides.

24 September | 19:00 | My Dragon River (Im Reich der Auen - die Oker)
Germany | 2021 | 52 mins
Original language(s): English | Subtitles: Estonian
Through the use of slow-motion filming, this stunning documentary provides never-before-seen footage of dragonflies and other denizens of the river and riverbank they inhabit.

School students also have the chance to examine the species featured in the film in special rooms and put themselves to the test on a survival course with pumas in the harsh conditions of the Chilean Andes. School nature trips will be taking place in Narva on both 23 & 24 September. In the course of these fun days out, led by staff from the Alutaguse Hiking Club, the students will find out all about the rodents found in the city and learn not only how garbage accumulates in urban areas, but also how it can be avoided.

Health information | Participation is only open to those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, who have contracted and recovered from the virus or who have tested negative for it. To provide evidence of this, please present your COVID certificate (on paper or in digital form) and personal ID. Those younger than 18 are not required to present the certificate.
If you do not have a certificate, you may come to the venue on September 23rd at 16.30-18.30 with a COVID-19 rapid testing kit you have previously purchased and take the test on site under the supervision of a medical worker. In case of a negative result of this test, it is possible to watch all the films of the festival in Narva. 

The documentaries taking part in the Matsalu Nature Film Festival are being screened in cooperation with the Integration Foundation’s Estonian Language House in Narva. Attendance of both the screenings and the discussions before and after them is free of charge, but advance registration is required.

The main programme of the Matsalu Nature Film Festival takes place each year in Lihula, close to Matsalu National Park, at a time when migratory birds are making their way through the area. This year’s festival is the 19th edition and will be held from 15-19 September. The festival aims to recognise and showcase new nature and environmental films and their creators, offering audiences the chance to watch some of the world’s best nature films for themselves and thereby raising awareness of and interest in environmental issues. The festival promotes sustainable ways of life that are close to nature as well as respect for indigenous traditions that are closely intertwined with the natural world.