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BLACK NIGHTS 2020 Awards

Tallinn embraces Fear, awarding Ivaylo Hristov’s drama a Grand Prix

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- The Bulgarian drama has been named the winner of the 24th edition of the Estonian festival, with the Best Baltic Feature Film title going to The Last Ones

Tallinn embraces Fear, awarding Ivaylo Hristov’s drama a Grand Prix
The winners of the 2020 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

This year opting for a hybrid edition, the 24th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (13-29 November) wrapped its awards ceremony with Ivaylo Hristov’s Fear [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivaylo Hristov
film profile
]
being chosen as the winner of the Official Selection – Competition. Set on the Bulgarian border, on a new route for African migrants arriving from Turkey in the hope of reaching Germany, it was also given a grant of €10,000.

“This clever, impressively scripted and wonderfully performed feature manages the rare feat of being compassionate and provocative while also delivering striking moments of absurdist humour,” argued the jury, headed by Mark Adams, and also including Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik and Ester Kuntu. “In a period when the subject of immigration is very much in the headlines, this feature is very much a film for our times.”

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The Best Director Award went to Nisan Dağ for When I’m Done Dying [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, while acting gongs were given to Ulrich Thomsen for his role in the Danish-Estonian-Belgian World War I drama Erna at War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Henrik Ruben Genz
film profile
]
and Marie Leuenberger for Caged Birds [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Oliver Rihs
film profile
]
, about a young, radical lawyer fighting Switzerland’s antiquated prison system in the 1980s.

“Before presenting the award, the jury wanted to formally recognise the many beautiful and brilliant female performances in the competition selection this year,” it was stated. “If we’d had our way, we would have handed out seven or eight Best Actress Awards. [Leuenberger's] natural, unshowy performance is driven by emotional energy and a fierce intelligence that is truly impressive.”

Leonardo António received the Best Script Award for Submission [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Leonardo Antonio
film profile
]
, the troubling story of a woman who claims she was raped by her husband, determined to see him in court. Rounding off the Official Selection, Spain's Armugan [+see also:
trailer
interview: Jo Sol
film profile
]
took home the Award for Best Music and the Ecumenical Award, with Noé Bach recognised for Best Cinematography for Beasts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

The First Feature Competition jury (led by the award-winning Ulrich Thomsen himself) noticed the Chinese drama Great Happiness, as well as Should the Wind Drop [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Jan Holoubek's 25 Years of Innocence. The Case of Tomek Komenda [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a gripping drama based on a horrific true story. Finally, the Rebels with a Cause jury opted for Dinner in America and La Veronica, while Veiko Õunpuu’s The Last Ones [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Veiko Õunpuu
film profile
]
already chosen as Estonia's Oscar submission – was named Best Baltic Feature Film.

“It was an all-round impressive film,” noted the jury, praising the well-thought-through selection of music and the universal conflicts between the characters, as well as calling it a “modern-day Northern western. […] The beauty of the tundra is captured with masterful cinematography. The struggles within that vast, desolate territory, between tradition and progress, challenge the meaning of ‘belonging’ and depict the general loneliness that all our characters are living in.”

Here is the full list of award winners:

Official Selection – Competition

Grand Prix for Best Film
Fear [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivaylo Hristov
film profile
]
Ivaylo Hristov (Bulgaria)

Best Director
Nisan Dağ – When I’m Done Dying [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Turkey/Germany/USA)

Best Cinematography
Noé Bach - Beasts [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(France)

Best Script
Leonardo António – Submission [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Leonardo Antonio
film profile
]
(Portugal)

Best Actor
Ulrich Thomsen – Erna at War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Henrik Ruben Genz
film profile
]
(Denmark/Estonia/Belgium)

Best Actress
Marie Leuenberger - Caged Birds [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Oliver Rihs
film profile
]
(Switzerland/Germany)

Best Music
Juanio Javierre - Armugan [+see also:
trailer
interview: Jo Sol
film profile
]
(Spain)

First Feature Competition

Best First Feature Film
Great Happiness – Wang Yiao (China)

Special Jury Prize #1
Jan Holoubek (director) – 25 Years of Innocence. The Case of Tomek Komenda [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Poland)

Special Jury Prize #2
Nora Martirosyan, Emmanuelle Pagano, Olivier Torres, Guillaume André (scriptwriters) – Should the Wind Drop [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(France/Armenia/Belgium)

Baltic Competition

Best Baltic Feature Film
The Last Ones [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Veiko Õunpuu
film profile
]
Veiko Õunpuu (Estonia/Finland)

Rebels with a Cause Competition

Rebels with a Cause Award (ex aequo)
Dinner in America – Adam Carter Rehmeier (USA)
La Veronica – Leonardo Medel (Chile)

Rebels with Their Shorts Award
Stories Keep Me Awake at Night – Jérémy Van Der Haegen (Belgium)

FIPRESCI Prize
Sententia – Dmitry Rudakov (Russia)

NETPAC Award
Ulbolsyn [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
– Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan/France)

Ecumenical Award
Armugan – Jo Sol

Lifetime Achievement Awards
Margarethe von Trotta
Alar Kivilo

DDA Spotlight Awards
Francis Annan
Armando Iannucci

PÖFF Shorts Awards

Best Short Animation
Precious – Paul Mas (France)

Best Short Film, National Competition
Struck by Lightning – Romet Esko (Estonia)

Best Live Action Short
Between You and Milagros – Mariana Saffon (Colombia)

Youth and Children's Film Festival Just Film

Just Film Grand Prix
Slalom [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Charlène Favier
film profile
]
– Charlène Favier (France/Belgium)

ECFA Award for Best European Children’s Film
Glassboy [+see also:
interview: Emanuele Nespeca
film profile
]
– Samuele Rossi (Italy)

Just Film Children’s Jury Best Film Award
The Fantastic Journey of Margot & Marguerite – Pierre Coré (France)

Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award
50 or Two Whales Meet on the Beach – Jorge Cuchi (Mexico)

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