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The Fencer / Miekkailija

In 1953, Stalin rules the Soviet Union with an iron fist. A young Estonian resister named Endel Nelis (Märt Avandi) escapes the inquisitive eyes of the Leningrad KGB by accepting a position as a phys ed teacher in the Estonian Baltic backwater of Haapsalu. Taciturn by nature, and chafing at the bit forced on his homeland under occupation, he has zero rapport with the boisterous youngsters whose energy he is now in charge of channeling. When he tries to initiate an after-school ski club, the sour-faced Soviet lackey of a school principal tells him . . .

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Brenda Benthien

Brenda Benthien is a program consultant and the Guest Relations Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival. She works in Guest Management at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck and serves as a consultant to the Cinetopia International Film Festival in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Brenda was involved with starting up AFI Fest in Los Angeles, and has lived and worked in Munich and Tokyo. When she isn’t busy with festivals, Brenda is a German translator of screenplays and film-related texts. Her translation of Rudolf Arnheim’s Film Essays and Criticism is published by the University of Wisconsin press. Brenda lives in Hamburg and runs the Hamburg Review website, a critical compendium of writings on film and literature. www.hamburg-review.de