Other festival prize winners include We Need To Talk About Kevin, Barzakh, 33 Animals of Santa Claus, and Kotoko.
Veteran Chinese filmmaker Ann Hui’s A Simple Life (Tao Jie) won the Grand Prix for Best Eurasian Film at this year’s Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) in the EurAsia International Competition.
Irish filmmaker Juanita Wilson, who was a member of the EurAsia Jury along with filmmakers Sergei Loznitsa and Peeter Urbla, DoP Peter Zeitlinger and festival director Indu Shrikent, said that there had been “a lot of discussion and deliberation“ before the jury had decided on Hui’s “very moving and sensitively directed film.“
Based on real people and events, A Simple Life also received the Jury Prize for Best Actress for Deanie Ip and the International Federation of Film Clubs (FICC) Jury Award.
The EurAsia Jury’s other prizes included Best Director to the UK’s Lynne Ramsay (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Best Actor (Sven Nordin in Sons Of Norway) and a Special Jury Prize to Polish filmmaker Wojciech Smarzowski’s Rose.
Peter Zeitlinger – Werner Herzog’s usual DoP since 1995 – explained that the jury had decided to change the Best Cinematography category into a “Prize for Outstanding Performance in Cinematic Language“ and awarded the renamed honour to Cocco and Shinya Tsukamoto for their film Kotoko.
Zeitlinger added that his jury had also agreed to award a Special Mention for a first-time director to Romania’s Gabriel Achim for his black comedy Adalbert’s Dream which was named Best Project at the Baltic Event co-production market in Tallinn in 2009.
Meanwhile, two documentaries – Mantas Kvedaravicius’s Barzakh and Laila Pakalnina’s 33 Animals of Santa Claus - shared the Best Film in the Tridens Baltic Feature Film Competition.
Barzakh, which had won the Ecumenical Jury Award at Berlin’s Panorama last February and is handled internationally by The Match Factory, was also named Best Baltic Film by the FIPRESCI jury of international film critics.
This year’s Heave(i)n Estonian Film Award was picked up by Katrin Laur for Graveyard Keeper’s Daughter, while Mart Taniel was named Best Cinematographer for his work on Rainer Sarnet’s The Idiot based on the classic novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Other prizes included the North American Independent Film Competition jury’s award to Canadian Ken Scott’s Starbuck and the NETPAC Jury selected Mourning by Iran’s Morteza Farshbaf for its award for the best Asian film.
The awards ceremony of the Black Nights Film Festival’s 15th edition was also marked by the presentation of lifetime achievement awards to Iceland’s Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Russia’s Aleksandr Sokurov as well as two local Estonian filmmakers Rein Raamat and Rein Maran in recognition of the “Eesti film 100“ project which will be celebrating 100 years of Estonian cinema in 2012.
The festival closed on Wednesday evening with a screening of Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life in the presence of the Irish-born actress Fiona Shaw who also appears in the film.