PÖFF gives out three Lifetime Achievement Awards

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival awarded the legendary German actor Udo Kier with the festival's Lifetime Achievement Award for decades-spanning artistic and cultural contribution to world cinema. Udo Kier’s impressive career has seen him play close to 300 roles, starring as Count Dracula, Adolf Hitler and Pope Innocent VIII to name a few, and worked with directors Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Lars von Trier, Dario Argento, Werner Herzog, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, Wim Wenders, Walerian Borowczyk, Paul Morrissey and many others.

Udo Kier himself has considered Flesh for Frankenstein and The Blood for Dracula by Paul Morrissey, Medea by Lars von Trier and Werner Herzog’s thriller My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done as most meaningful to him. From more recent times, Todd Stephen’s Swan Song has taken its place in the list.

To give the audience a chance to witness the magic Udo Kier brings to the screen, the festival is showing Leon Prudovsky’s My Neighbor Adolf and Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom: Exodus.

Although Udo Kier was not able to come to the festival due to working on yet another movie, his video greeting can be seen here.

The second Lifetime Achievement Award went to the Polish film legend, film and theatre director Krzysztof Zanussi who is the author of more than 40 films. His best-known works include The Year of the Calm Sun, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1984, The Constant, which received a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980, as well as The Crystal Structure (1969), Family Life (1970), Protective Colors (1977), Spiral (1978) and Imperative (1982). Zanussi is also a co-founder of the European Film Academy and a long-time lecturer at one of the world's most renowned film schools in Łódź.

As a representative of the intellectual, philosophical direction of cinematography, his heroes face moral dilemmas and must resist the temptation not to betray their ideals. “An artist belongs to no one, but his art belongs to everyone” and “There is no recipe for life, except that the soul is not for sale,” are two famous quotes attributed to Zanussi that sum up his credo as an artist.

Zanussi’s latest film Perfect Number which, in the words of the author, is about mathematics and God, was also screened as part of the festival’s programme. PÖFF’s third Lifetime Achievement Award goes to the Estonian director and producer Peeter Urbla who has played an important part in creating and advancing the Estonian film industry. “Without Urbla’s contribution, Estonian film would not be where it is today,” said festival director Tiina Lokk.

Peeter Urbla, who has a degree in history from the University of Tartu, studied screenwriting and directing in Moscow and has brought more than 60 films to the screen as a producer or co-producer. Urbla was also one of the first people to bring Western film crews to Estonia in the 90’s and his tireless work saw Estonian film integrated into the world cinema. In 1992 Peeter Urbla created Exitfilm, a film studio that has, among other things, collaborated with Ilkka Järvi-Laturi on his film Darkness in Tallinn and Lukas Moodysson on Lilya 4-ever.


Peeter Urbla


Krzysztof Zanussi grateful for the Lifetime Achievement Award