Black Nights’ Grand Prix winner donates prize money to the festival
by Laurence Boyce
- The Throne’s director, Lee Joon-ik, has returned his €10,000 prize money to Black Nights so that it can become "a new European hub to create cinematic joy and fun"
Last Friday night at a “Black Carpet” ceremony in Tallinn, South Korean film The Throne won the Black Nights Film Festival Grand Prix (see the news). With the award came prize money of €10,000. Now the prize money has been returned to Black Nights as a gesture of good will and respect to the festival, in the hopes that it will help the Estonian event to solidify its reputation as an A-list film festival.
The director of the film, Lee Joon-ik, had been present at the gathering for the screenings of The Throne but was unable to attend for the duration due to the fact that he had a retrospective of his work taking place in Cambodia. So it was Cho Chul-hyun – the scriptwriter of the film and producer at production company Tiger Pictures – who came to the awards ceremony to accept the trophy on his behalf.
After talking to festival director Tiina Lokk, he expressed respect for their "comrade in film work" and the amount of work that has gone into growing the festival from a Nordic film week into an international showcase for audiences, industry and filmmakers.
As Cho departed, he left a handwritten letter to Lokk saying that Tiger Pictures – including director Lee Joon-ik and the producers – wanted to donate the prize money for the preparations for next year's festival. He went on to say that they would like to leave the disposal of the €10,000 to the festival, saying they hoped that Black Nights could become "a new European hub to create cinematic joy and fun".