The Master wins Best Estonian Film of the Year
by Laurence Boyce
- The animation has bagged the annual award given out at Estonia’s Kino Soprus
At a ceremony held at Tallinn’s Kino Soprus last week, short animation The Master (Isand) by Riho Unt won the Neitsi Maali Award for Best Estonian Film of 2015. The prize is presented annually by the Association of Estonian Film Journalists (EFÜ), which votes for the winning film. The award is in its 23rd year and is the longest-running cultural prize of its kind in Estonia.
The other nominees for the award were Elmo Nüganen’s war epic 1944 [+see also:
film profile], Veiko Õunpuu’s Roukli [+see also:
film profile], and the documentaries Fast Eddy Old News (Fast Eddy vanad uudised) by Marko Raat and Out of Fashion (Moest väljas) by Jaak Kilmi and Lennart Laberenz.
The Master is a puppet film from Tallinn’s Nukufilm studio, which is based on the short story Popi and Huhuu by Estonian author Friedebert Tuglas. The film sees a dog and a monkey wait for their master, but it soon becomes clear that he is not coming home anymore. Soon their lives change as they take on roles of dominance and submissiveness. With a deceptively straightforward narrative, the film is a comment on today’s world and asks whether we can cope on our own and take sufficient responsibility. It has already proven popular internationally, showing at a number of festivals, and has taken home the Jury Award from the Annecy Film Festival.
Tristan Priimägi, president of the EFÜ, told Cineuropa: “We are really happy that the list of nominees was so varied this year, with two documentaries and an animation. The fact that a film such as The Master – which had more of an impact on the international festival circuit than it did on the domestic film scene – shows the importance of film critics and our job of bringing movies to the attention of Estonian audiences that otherwise might not get to hear of a film.”
Other awards were given to Birdman, which was given Best Theatrical Release of 2015, and to Tõnu Karjatse, of Estonian national broadcaster ERR, who won Film Critic of the Year.