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BLACK NIGHTS 2021 Awards

Andreas Kleinert’s Dear Thomas wins the 25th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

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- Other victors were Wojciech Smarzowski, crowned Best Director and Best Screenwriter for The Wedding Day, and Francesco Sossai, who snagged the Award for Best First Feature with Other Cannibals

Andreas Kleinert’s Dear Thomas wins the 25th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival
l-r: Mike Downey, Francis Annan, Andreas Kleinert and Nisan Dag on stage during the awards ceremony (© Tallinn Black Nights)

The traditional awards ceremony held at the Estonian National Opera wrapped up the 25th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival on Saturday 27 November. This year’s festival, which unspooled in the Estonian capital from 12-28 November, offered a rich programme consisting of 179 features (including 34 world, 32 international and 11 European premieres), 244 shorts through its PÖFF Shorts strand, and 18 series through its dedicated TV Beats initiative.

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The jury of the main competition, headed by EFA chairman Mike Downey, crowned Andreas Kleinert’s historical biopic Dear Thomas [+see also:
film review
interview: Andreas Kleinert
film profile
]
with the prestigious Grand Prix. Shifting deftly between reality and fever dream, and far from following the usual biopic conventions, Dear Thomas has taken a biography and made it into a manifesto for art and its power for change. In its official statement, the jury commended the film’s “powerful narrative and masterly execution of the biopic form and [the way it sheds] an essential light on one of the seminal figures of German letters”.

Meanwhile, the Award for Best Director went to Poland’s Wojciech Smarzowski for The Wedding Day [+see also:
film review
interview: Wojciech Smarzowski
film profile
]
. Smarzowksi, who also won the Award for Best Screenplay this year, was praised by the jury for “his biting exposé of modern-day corruption, historical revisionism and deep-rooted hatred of the other, in a perfect revelatory concoction of abhorrent crimes, both past and present, in the heart of Europe”.

Next, the Best Actress Award went to young Russian talent Sofia Krugova for her turn in Kirill Sokolov’s No Looking Back [+see also:
interview: Kirill Sokolov
film profile
]
, whilst Albrecht Schuch received the Best Actor gong for his performance as German writer Thomas Brasch in Dear Thomas.

Moreover, the First Feature Competition jury, led by Jayro Bustamante, gave its main award to Other Cannibals [+see also:
film review
interview: Francesco Sossai
film profile
]
, directed by Francesco Sossai. The movie has been described as a “twisty thought experiment combining black comedy, a pinch of western and a deep dive into the heart of human desire”.

Among the other victors were Andrius BlaževičiusRunner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrius Blaževičius
film profile
]
, the recipient of the Baltic Competition Award, and Piotr Stasik’s The Moths, the winner of the Rebels with a Cause section. Finally, the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) watched the First Feature Competition titles and crowned Aleksandra Terpinska’s Other People [+see also:
film review
interview: Aleksandra Terpińska
film profile
]
as Best Film, describing it as “a fresh, energetic and rhythmic drama, orbiting around a wannabe rapper and a wealthy housewife”.

Here is a list of this year’s award winners:

Grand Prix for Best Film
Dear Thomas [+see also:
film review
interview: Andreas Kleinert
film profile
]
– Andreas Kleinert (Germany)

Best Director
Wojciech Smarzowski – The Wedding Day [+see also:
film review
interview: Wojciech Smarzowski
film profile
]
(Poland)

Best Cinematography
Emre Tanyildiz – The List of Those Who Love Me (Turkey)

Best Script
Wojciech Smarzowski – The Wedding Day

Best Actress
Sofia Krugova – No Looking Back [+see also:
interview: Kirill Sokolov
film profile
]
(Russia)

Best Actor
Albrecht Schuch – Dear Thomas

Best Original Score
Esa-Pekka Salonen – The Wait [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Finland)

Best Production Design
Anna Nyitrai – Perpetuity [+see also:
film review
interview: György Pálfi
film profile
]
(Hungary)

Best First Feature Film
Other Cannibals [+see also:
film review
interview: Francesco Sossai
film profile
]
– Francesco Sossai (Germany)

Special Jury Prizes
Immersion – Nicolás Postiglione (Chile)
Her Way [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Cécile Ducrocq (France)

Best Baltic Feature Film
Runner [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrius Blaževičius
film profile
]
– Andrius Blaževičius (Lithuania/Czech Republic)

Rebels with a Cause Competition

Rebels with a Cause Award
The Moths – Piotr Stasik (Poland)

Rebels with Their Shorts Award
They Were to Cross the River – Faeze Karimpour (France)

FIPRESCI Prize
Other People [+see also:
film review
interview: Aleksandra Terpińska
film profile
]
– Aleksandra Terpinska (Poland)

Ecumenical Award
Mukagali – Bolat Kalymbetov (Kazakhstan)

Lifetime Achievement Awards
Carlos Saura
Elle Kull

DDA Spotlight Award
Liesl Tommy – Respect (USA)
Sebastian Meise – Great Freedom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastian Meise
film profile
]
(Germany/Austria)

PÖFF Shorts Nomination for the EFA Awards
Steakhouse – Špela Čadež (Slovenia)

Youth and Children’s Film Festival Just Film

Just Film Grand Prix
Playground [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laura Wandel
film profile
]
– Laura Wandel (France)

Just Film ECFA Award
My Dad Is a Sausage [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anouk Fortunier
film profile
]
– Anouk Fortunier (Belgium/Netherlands)

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