Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami, which premiered at this year’s Director’s Fortnight, picked up the Grand Prix for Best Eurasian film in the EurAsia competition at this year’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
The international jury, led by Russian producer Alexander Rodniansky, handed the best director award to Finland’s Klaus Haro for Letters To Father Jacob; while acting prizes went to David Dencik (Brotherhood) and Maria Bonnevie (The Angel). The special jury prize went to Romanian filmmaker Napoleon Helmis for Wedding In Bessarabia.
Elsewhere, Lithuanian director Gytis Luksas’s Vortex was named Best Film in the Baltic Feature Film Competition and also picked up the award for Best Cinematographer (Viktoras Radzevicius), with local first-time director Asko Kase’s action drama December Heat taking the Estonian Film Award.
For the first time, the festival held its first competition dedicated to North American independents film. The jury’s award of distribution in the Baltic Cinamon cinemas and promotional activities on the Silver TV channel went to Jonathan Parker’s (Untitled).
Other winners included the Estonian filmmaker Jaak Kilmi, who won the FIPRESCI Prize fpr Disco And Atomic War; Bahman Ghobadi’s No One Knows About Persian Cats picked up the FICC and NETPAC awards; and the Audience Award went to South Korean Lee Hey-jun’s second feature Castaway On The Moon.
Meanwhile, sales agents, distributors and producers participating in the fifth edition of the Baltic Event’s Co-Production voted on the best projects presented this year.
First time director Gabriel Achim and his producer Tudor Giurgiu from Libra Films were unanimously voted the winner of the Baltic Event Best Project Award for black comedy, Adalbert’s Dream.
Finnish producers Kaarle Aho and Kai Nordberg from Making Movies Oy received Screen International’s Best Pitch Award for director Petri Kotwica’s next feature film Rat King. The $2.6m (€1.75m) thriller, which is about a computer game turning into life and life becoming a game, is Kotwica’s third feature film with Making Movies after his debut Homesick and the Berlinale 2008 competition film Black Ice. It already has back from the Finnish Film Foundation, the Nordic Film & Television Fund, broadcaster YLE and the MEDIA Programme.
In addition, Cannes’ Producer’s Network gave free accreditations to Estonian producer Aet Laigu, who presented Kadri Kõusaar’s $1.5m (€1m) second feature European Psycho, and to Ella Vakkasova and Gavin Humphreys presenting the Uzbek project Aral.
Since the European Film Awards (EFA) will be held in Tallinn next year as part of the Estonian capital’s European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2011, the sixth edition of the Baltic Event will be held at a slightly later date than usual - December 1-3 - to coincide with the EFA programme of events.
It will also see the introduction of a new initiative - Baltic Event for East (BEE) - to cast a spotlight on film projects from Russia and Ukraine and promote collaboration with these countries.
The venture, which will be supported by the European Union’s MEDIA International programme together with the Moscow Co-Production Forum and Kiev’s Molodist Film Festival, will see Russian and Ukrainian producers invited to present projects at the co-production market and in the Coming Soon showcase.