At the Award Ceremony of the 26th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), awards were presented to the winners of the festival’s five competition programmes and PÖFF’s youth and children’s film sub-festival Just Film.
The jury of the Official Selection Competition, headed by Ildikó Enyedi, selected director Hilmar Oddsson’s dark comedy Driving Mum as their favourite, handing the film the Grand Prix of the festival.
The jury commended the film with the following statement: “During this last week we have seen a wide, wildly different range of films. Among them we found one, which charmed us all with its transparent, simple but bold film language, with its graceful sense of humour, with its unpretentious way of speaking about burning questions of personal life. A film which tells us that it is never too late.”
The Best Director award went to Ahmad Bahrami for the film The Wastetown. The jury praised his work with the following words: “Using a sad and destroyed place, the director shows an archaic, universal drama akin to a Shakespearean tragedy. Additionally, the performances of the actors are intriguing. One can never forget the metaphoric atmosphere with poetic imagery as if in a dream. This film is a celebration of cinema and art.”
The Best Cinematography award was presented to Adrian Teijido for River of Desire with the jury stating: “Visually stunning with a dream-like ambience, the film transports us to a surreal environment. Based on one of the contemporary folk tales, the cinematography doesn’t just show us the beauty but immerses the viewer in a world of the characters.”
The Best Script award went to Shahar Rozen and Dudu Busi for DUCKS – An Urban Legend for achieving something rare by using an absurd tale to bring the viewers deep into the tortured and chaotic world that is present Israel.
Gurban Ismailov received the Best Actor award for his powerful and nuanced performance as the mean and manipulative father in Cold as Marble.
The Best Actress award went to Antonia Zegers for her portrayal of Ana in The Punishment. In the words of the jury, Antonia Zegers carries the whole film on her able shoulders.
The Best Original Score prize went to the Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits for his score for Driving Mum. Among other things, the jury described the original score as being a distinctive, sensitive, in-depth musical journey.
Michael Schindlmeier from Germany picked up the Best Production Design award for creating a fresh, modern, metaphoric and poetic world for the film Servus Papa, See You in Hell.
Three awards were given out by the jury led by Sebastian Meise, with Switzerland’s/Kosovo’s film The Land Within, directed by Fisnik Maxville, receiving the Best First Feature award. In his first feature film, director Fisnik Maxville jumps to a scary past in emotional flashbacks to recall gorgeous pieces of Kosovo’s culture, traditions, customs, history, destroyed by hatred, blame, jealousy, and silenced guilt.
The competition has two Special Jury Prizes, the first of which was handed out to director Filip Heraković for his film Pelican that is in a way a study of humanity, offering a satirical insight into the core of what it means to suddenly lose your status in the society.
The second Special Jury Prize went to Siddharth Chauhan for Amar Colony that delighted the jury with a bold and innovative presentation of a small town community.
Lithuanian film Poet by directors Giedrius Tamoševičius and Vytautas V. Landsbergis picked up the Baltic Competition prize, presented by the jury head Katriel Schory. According to the jury, the film captures the tense atmosphere in which the story takes place through its impressive cinematic language.
The award for the Best Baltic Producer for Co-production went to Inna Sahakyan for the film Aurora's Sunrise that the jury called both an artistic and technical achievement.
The Rebels with a Cause jury, led by Lily Idov, chose José Luis Rugeles’s film Rebelión for the Rebels with a Cause prize. In the words of the jury, Rebelión will pull you into its orbit and will make you feel the power of music.
Award for Best Critics' Picks film went to About Us But Not About Us by director Jun Robles Lana. The jury called it an unexpected realtime masterpiece, with minimal but perfect film making.
Jury Special Mention goes to The Bone Breakers by Vincenzo Pirrotta for showing a very promising new talent of Italian cinema.
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) watched The First Feature Competition programme and selected Upon Entry as their winner. In this well executed relationship drama, the viewer gets an insight into the complexity of the immigration process, while being thoroughly engaged in the story till the end.
OFFICIAL SELECTION COMPETITION
Jury: Ildikó Enyedi, Hayedeh Safiyari, Ádám Balázs, Andreas Kleinert, Bijaya Jena
Grand Prix for the Best Film
Grant of 20 000 Euros from the City of Tallinn, shared by the Director and Producer
Director: Hilmar Oddsson, Producer: Hlín Jóhannesdóttir
Jury comment: “During thIs last week we have seen a wide, wildly different range of films. Among them we found one, which charmed us all with its transparent, simple but bold film language, with its graceful sense of humour, with its unpretentious way of speaking about burning questions of personal life. A film which tells us that it is never too late.”
Grant of 5000 Euros
Ahmad Bahrami for the film The Wastetown
Jury comment: “Using a sad and destroyed place, the director shows an archaic, universal drama akin to a Shakespearean tragedy. Additionally, the performances of the actors are intriguing. One can never forget the metaphoric atmosphere with poetic imagery as if in a dream. This film is a celebration of cinema and art.”
Grant of 1000 Euros
Adrian Teijido for the film River of Desire
Jury comment: “Visually stunning with a dream-like ambience, the film transports us to a surreal environment. Based on one of the contemporary folk tales, the cinematography doesn’t just show us the beauty but immerses the viewer in a world of the characters.”
Shahar Rozen and Dudu Busi for DUCKS – An Urban Legend
Jury comment: “The scriptwriters – one of them even being the director – build a complex universe with multiple storylines, playfully meandering with harsh colours and risky twists and turns. And they achieve something rare: by telling us an absurd tale, they bring us deep into the tortured and chaotic world that is present Israel.”
Gurban Ismailov for Cold as Marble
Azerbaijan, France, 2022
Jury comment: “For a powerful and nuanced performance as a man who imposes his presence and is a mean and manipulative father who step by step invades the life of his son.”
Antonia Zegers for The Punishment
Chile, Argentina, 2022
Jury comment: “Serious and angry, through her tense expressions she takes us to the revelation that lies ahead. In the beginning the audience hates her for being a cold mother, but as her expectations and disappointment of her marriage unravel, we empathise with her as a woman. She carries the whole film on her able shoulders.”
Best Original Score
Tõnu Kõrvits for Driving Mum
Iceland, Estonia, 2022
Jury comment: “A distinctive, sensitive, in-depth musical journey, the original score offers us a thematic approach; it creates an evolving and unique musical world that reflects the character development and storyline. The intelligent and well-proportioned use of the score is paired with fine artistry, nuanced yet precise instrumentation and the power of the human voice.”
Best Production Design
Michael Schindlmeier for Servus Papa, See You in Hell
Jury comment: “We are taken to the 80s, to an extremely strange commune isolated on an island. The exterior as well as the interior locations of this alternative group are reduced to give an authentic feel. But instead of giving us the trendy retro styles of that era, the production designer creates a fresh, modern, metaphoric and poetic world for a mysterious and exciting story about desire for freedom from a place where love is forbidden.”
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Jury: Sebastian Meise, Pippa Cross, Therese Malvar, Jean des Forêts, Michael Idov
The Award for the Best First Feature Film
Grant of 5000 Euros from the National Geographic, shared by the Director and Producer
The Land Within
Director: Fisnik Maxville
Producers: Britta Rindelaub, Thomas Reichlin
Switzerland, Kosovo, 2022
Jury comment: “With truthful characters, powerful scenes that linger and a rich, touching story, this film dares to explore the complexities of deadly conflict and manages to become universal in translating the political into the personal.
Without judgement, the director guides us safely through a multi-layered, interwoven narrative, giving his actors the space for genuine, heartfelt performances. The Best Film Award in the First Feature Competition goes to The Land Within.”
Special Jury Prize #1
Jury comment: “Shot through with dry, droll, often surrealist visual humor, this film gradually reveals a tremendous heart, finding transcendence in the mundane. All of it is anchored by a central performance notable for what it holds back, and an ensemble cast of characters sketched with an assured and compassionate hand. We are delighted to give our Special Jury Prize for Best Directing to Pelican.”
Special Jury Prize #2
Jury comment: “This film delighted us with a bold and innovative presentation of a small town community whose frank sensuality and unabashed pursuit of urges, both human and divine, are set against the resonant backdrop of a culturally rich and deeply personal setting. The director daringly takes us by the hand and leads us on a journey to his world, introducing us to his characters and their lives with affection and often with humor. We present the Special Jury Prize for originality of vision to Amar Colony.”
Jury: Katriel Schory, Augusto Sandino, Maria Pirkkalainen
Best Baltic Feature Film
Grant of 5000 Euros by FORUS Taxi
Directors: Giedrius Tamoševičius, Vytautas V. Landsbergis
"This film portrays a very turbulent and charged period during which people had to make critical, dramatic decisions about who to trust and what they believe in. Through its impressive cinematic language, the film captures the tense atmosphere in which the story takes place."
Best Baltic Producer for Co-production
Inna Sahakyan for the film Aurora's Sunrise.
Jury comment: This film reveals a very sad chapter of world history which continues to be an open wound. Both an artistic and technical achievement, the film portrays its story in a touching and engaging way.
REBELS WITH A CAUSE COMPETITION
Jury: Lily Idov, Mónika Mécs, Georg Georgi
Rebels with a Cause Award
Director: José Luis Rugeles
Colombia, Argentina, 2022
Jury comment: “We would like to award our top prize to the film that, in our opinion, transcends limitations of its genre, and through a perfect blend of acting, storytelling, cinematography and music, creates a biopic like no other. Whether you are a life-long fan of its subject, or hear their songs for the first time, this film will pull you into its orbit and will make you feel the power of music. Our Rebels With a Cause prize goes, appropriately enough, to Rebelión.”
Jury Special Mention
Three Thousand Numbered Pieces
Director: Ádám Császi
Jury comment: “Our special mention goes to a film that shines a light on a previously almost-invisible community and shows its beauty and dignity. But it also examines the borderline between artistic representation and exploitation of the so-called “underprivileged,” and makes us question our own involvement in the voyeuristic culture. The special jury mention goes to Three Thousand Numbered Pieces.”
The Award for Best Short Film
Everything at Once
Director: Henrik Dyb Zwart
Jury comment: “We’ve seen 13 very different short films. So different, that we had to have a long discussion on what constitutes a film and what we should be looking for. But in the end, we all agreed on a film that, in its very short running time, managed to tell an exciting and emotional story and share the authors’ own worldview. Our shorts winner is Everything at Once.”
CRITIC’S PICKS COMPETITION
Jury: François-Pierre Clavel, Pinchas Schatz, Riina Sildos
About Us But Not About Us
Director: Jun Robles Lana
Jury comment: "A thrilling psychological chamber drama with surprising plot twists. An unexpected realtime masterpiece, with minimal but perfect film making, About us is not about us but about how to make cinema with what we have."
Jury special mention went to The Bone Breakers by Vincenzo Pirrotta.
"Made in the best tradition of Italian filmmaking, we discovered a perfect social issues film with new angle of nowadays human exploitation. Solid script, perfect direction of actors and a masterful editing show us a very promising new talent of Italian cinema."
FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize
Jury: Flavia Dima, Maximilian Schäffer, Margit Adorf
Directors: Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vásquez
Jury comment: “With clever hints and feints, the film throws the viewer into the setting of US border controls, where every minor action can lead to a dramatic outcome, and where bureaucracy turns complex realities into judgements and sentences. With limited means, directors Alejandro Rojas and Juan Sebastián Vásquez have made an accomplished and very mature debut film that is able to thrill audiences both large and small, both niche and mainstream.”
Director: Marescotti Ruspoli
The audience’s favourite film from the 26th PÖFF’s competition programmes is Amusia by director Marescotti Ruspoli.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Udo Kier (Germany)
Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland)
Peeter Urbla (Estonia)
DDA Spotlight Award
Ali Abbasi for the Holy Spider
DDA Spotlight Award
Sarah Polley for Women Talking
PÖFF Shorts nomination for the EFA awards
Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Find the full list of PÖFF Shorts winners here:
YOUTH AND CHILDREN’S FILM FESTIVAL JUST FILM
Just Film Grand Prix
Jury: Lotte Bronshoff, Alasdair Satchel, Jaak Kilmi
Director: Noémi Veronika Szakonyi
Jury comment: “We are pleased to award Six Weeks by Noémi Veronika Szakonyi with this year’s Just Film Grand Prix award.
Six Weeks uses a very precise approach in the telling of its story, where all the details of the action on and off screen are at the service of the story. All the surprising choices the central character makes are totally organic to both the character and story. Using this carefully woven approach to storytelling it quickly gets into the head of the viewer and makes you anticipate the character’s next choices, constantly keeping you guessing at what’s to come. At the core of the film are two elements which drive it continuously forwards, the extraordinary, multifaceted performance of Katalin Román in the central role of Zsófi, partnered with Noémi Veronika Szakonyi’s extraordinarily empathetic approach to direction. The film is structured to lead up to the key question of how the central character will deal with the six weeks in Hungary where a birth parent has the right to take their child back from adoptive parents, should they find themselves compelled to do so. This bold storytelling choice led to the development of a most insightful drama. Another element that we thoroughly enjoyed exploring with the film was the question of how and when the character would be able to return to her sport, which posed greater questions around who was making the rules for her situation, reflecting a greater question of society. Six Weeks places its young audience at the centre of its attention and speaks to them in a voice that they can accept as their own.
It is for all of the above reasons that we award Six Weeks the Just Film Grand Prix.”
Jury special mention goes to the Hungarian film Summer to Come by director György Mór Kárpáti.
Jury comment: “We would like to award our special mention to Summer to Come. It speaks to its audience with sincerity, skilfully opening a dialogue on a very difficult topic. It does this through the use of an experimental approach, which seduces its audience into following the story with great skill and care.”
Just Film ECFA Award
Jury: Margreet Cornelius, Nicola Jones, Leo Pekkala
How I Learned to Fly
Director: Radivoje Andrić
Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, 2022
Jury comment: “The ECFA award goes to a beautifully crafted modern coming-of-age film with many layers to it. Coming-of-age films are often related to first love and friendship but this film also portrays the effect of war on a once close family. A family full of relatable characters whose lives will be altered through a loss during a summer holiday. First, there was a novel but there is no doubt this is pure cinema. Humorous dialogue combined with beautiful settings, great camera work, and editing made us feel we were also on a summer holiday being 12 years old. Congratulations to How I Learned to Fly by Radivoje Andric.”
Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award
Jury: Liisa-Lotta Jürgenson, Maibritt Kilu, Emili Roots, Adrian Abner
Director: Maor Zaguri
Jury comment: “We have chosen this film because of the filmmakers' bold decision to open up to difficult topics such as combining sexuality and death. It really makes you watch it with your heart.”
Just Film Children's Jury Best Film Award
Jury: Armand Gudmundur Mets, Tõru Kannimäe, Luukas Taoubi, Eleanor Susanna Tür, Lisete Viikmäe
The Little Gang
Director: Pierre Salvadori
Jury comment: “This film is remarkable for the outstanding performances from the actors, inventive storytelling, beautiful settings and humour.”
Jury special mention for production design goes to the film Child Machine.
Just Film #youngfilmmaker Award
Jury: Roomet Poom, Erik Norkroos, Piia-Krõõt Parktal, Sander Lebreht
Everlasting Single Man
Directors: Aaron Thor Härm, Mattias Nurga.
Jury comment: “The winning film was surprising, unique, well made and comprehensible.”
Watch PÖFF’s 26th Award Ceremony here.
Find pictures from ceremony here.
The festival is presented by Elisa, Nordic Hotel Forum and Toyota with Grand Sponsors Forus, National Geographic, Postimees and Cramo.