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Thankyou to those anonymous donors, who donated tax credits to provide the bulk of core funding to date.
Tax receipts are issued for Canadian donations above $20.


In Search of Our Fathers: Suurpõgenemine/Great Baltic Escape 1944, a collaborative venture between
Mae Productions Inc. &
VEMU/Estonian Museum Canada, a designated Charitable Organization.  Registered Charity number 80412 0020 RR0001



Your support funds this work and can be directed to the overall project, or to specific films. Donations can be made by clicking on the donation button or by cheque (make the cheque out to “VEMU/Estonian Museum Canada”). Please indicate ISOOF on your donation, to ensure it comes to this film project.
If you wish to support telling Arne’s story, please include ISOOF-Roosman.
To support the story of Rein Meri, please include ISOOF-Meri.
Cheques can be mailed to 310 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 1W4.

To donate by bank deposit or to donate securities, (including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds), or for any other questions, please contact accounting (416) 925-9405 or by email, accounting [at] tartucollege.ca 

For online donations, click on the Donate button below. Tax receipts are issued for Canadian donations above $20.

Our Vision:
  • To continue creating shorts to honour Suurpõgenemine80,
  • To complete 3 of the men's films based on first person stories of the 1944 Diaspora,
  • To preserve our project archives in a way that will provide access to families for their own stories;
  • To highlight Estonian/Baltic history, in the context of current Russian colonialism/war on Ukraine.  
We cannot do this alone.  Please don’t let the stories of our courageous forefathers be lost forever. 

Here is where your support will go.  Our base monthly expenses run  $2000 - $2500 to keep the project going – Our core funding will get us to December 2024. We need to hire the following for production:

Assistant Editor - Suurpõgenemine/Great Baltic Escape shorts - 4 months, starting immediately - until September $11,000
Script writer – Men’s film. $2,500
Assistant editor (half time) for the men’s film, $30,000
Assistant editor/co-ordinator (part time) for preparing project archival material of hundreds of hours of interviews $20,000
Assistant Editor + animators, artists (half time) to animate Arne Roosman’s story $30,000
Assistant editor/digital artist (part-time) to start on Rein Meri’s story  $15,000
We need some core donors who can provide base funding just to keep the doors open.  
Beyond that, we hope to find several hundred  monthly donors, willing to stand with us for 12-24 months.  All donations are welcome.
Monthly donations allow us to budget for the longer term.

We are inviting our community to join us with both large and small donations as you are able.  On this 80th Anniversary of Suurpõgenemine, 1944 Baltic Diaspora, we invite your support to staff the project, inviting 80 people to join us as $25 monthly donors and 80 to join us as $80 monthly donors. A $25 monthly donation will cover 1 hour/month for an editor- 80 monthly $25 donors, will enable us to pay for 20 hrs/ week of an editor/coordinator for the archival material. An $80 monthly donation will cover 3 hrs/month of an editor or animator. Eighty monthly $80 donors will enable us to staff the project for the duration of your support. A $50 monthly donation will cover the monthly subscription fee of one of the many programs our editors use.

Donors will be invited to a preview screening and be recognized in the credits.  All monthly donors will be recognized as the Suurpõgenemise 80th Anniversary Baltic Diaspora of 1944 Supporters.

  • Donations of $500+ will enable us to cover our monthly base costs.
  • Donors $1000+ will be invited to a premium pre-screening and recognized in the credits.
  • Donors of $5000+  Associate Producer
  • Donations of $10000+   Associate Executive Producer
  • Donations of  $20,000+  Executive Producer

Click the donate button and help us make history!

Phase 1: Completed

Film Pre-Production now completed.

  • Clarifying project history/purpose to viewers
  • Our purpose - to collect stories of those born in free Estonia, who fled in 1944 or earlier
  • Identifying potential shorts for Suurpõgenemine80/Great Baltic Escape 1944
  • Recalculating budgets for immediate needs for shorts for Suurpõgenemine80 + long term production
  • Re-imagining the project in light of the Russian war on Ukraine
  • Research and revising film script of men's stories, interviewing academics
  • Identifying and Interviewing Ukrainians.
  • Clarifying project, 2024 - Shorts, 3 films in production + 2 future films (all as time/funding permit)
  • Rebranding /redesigning project website
  • Developing fundraising /promotions plans,
  • Planning preservation of our archival materials (100s of hours of interviews)
  • Developing look and feel for the film, creating short segments,
  • Presenting our history/previous films at film festivals and international conferences.

Phase 2: Funding Urgently Needed

Phase 2: Film Production/Archival Planning.  Funds remaining 22K Needed 100K

Sourcing Production Funding for the following

  • Current Projects - 3 films
    • Bound by Struggle Feature film,
    • Sketches (Arne Roosman short film),
    • Osmussaar film pre-production (Rein Meri’s story as told by Jaan Meri). 
  • Ensure project archives are preserved
    • Locate and list all interviews, synch audio/video files
    • Obtain consent for public release
    • Plan for access to individuals/families to their own interviews

Phase 3: Future Projects, Archiving

Future projects 2 films, complete archives

  • Ragtag Army (Fred Ise)
  • A few notes – Armas Maiste
  • Archival material in VEMU, Estonian, US archives,
  • Interview access available to individuals/families, and for public use

We continue our work through the collaborative film venture previously established between Mae Productions Inc. and VEMU/Estonian Museum Canada, with the help of donors like you.

We continue our work through the collaborative film venture previously established between Mae Productions Inc. and The Estonian Studies Centre (Toronto), with the help of donors like you.

Over the years, we have recorded a number of powerful stories from Estonian men, who have shared their memories of life in Estonia, their experiences as soldiers during the Second World War, their flight to freedom, and the building of Estonian communities in exile around the globe. They were the creators of Estonian community resources, institutions that kept our culture alive over the years.

Over the years, we have recorded a number of powerful stories from Estonian men, who have shared their memories of life in Estonia, their experiences as soldiers during the Second World War, their flight to freedom, and the building of Estonian communities in exile around the globe. They were the creators of Estonian community resources, institutions that kept our culture alive over the years.

Our Art Installation, “Bound by Struggle/Ühises võitluses” was shown in “Baltic Unity”, the Society of Estonian Artists (EKKT) fall exhibit at the Latvian Centre Gallery, 2023. This display had QR codes for twelve clips of our work with images created for the films.

ISOOF-Roosman, is a unique collaborative work between Arne Roosman, artist, and Tom Mae, digital artist, where Arne created characters and background drawings for the animations. To view a short clip, please visit:

art installation wide
art installation vertical

ISOOF (“Ühises võitluses/Bound by Struggle”) is a unique look at the war in Ukraine through the lens of the occupation of the Baltic nations from the Second World War onward. To view short clips of this work, please visit:

ISOOF – Meri is a project in the planning stages. We have interviewed Jaan Meri, about his father Rein Meri’s story as a sailor trying to survive between two warring armies. We will share more details as we work on it.


"Pikk jalg"

"Raising the Flag 1941",
interactive 3D animation test

Vysokopillya, Kherson Oblast

"Raising the Flag, 2022",
3D model animation documentary scene test

Dr. August Mae (the father of Tom and Reet from Mae Productions Inc.) was a pilot in the Estonian Air Force before he decided to train as a doctor. He completed his medical training during the difficult years between 1938 1944, and like many young men of his generation, was impacted by the war, but rarely spoke of it.

Dr. August Mae (the father of Tom and Reet from Mae Productions Inc.) was a pilot in the Estonian Air Force before he decided to train as a doctor. He completed his medical training during the difficult years between 1938 1944, and like many young men of his generation, was impacted by the war, but rarely spoke of it.