Germany’s Oh Boy picks up Audience Award.

Ukrainian director Eva Neymann’s Russian-language film House With A Turret took the Grand Prix at this year’s Black Nights Film Festival, which closed in Tallinn’s Russian Theatre last night (Nov 27).

Neymann’s adaptation of a Friedrich Gorenstein novel, which had won the main award at Karlovy Vary’s “East of the West” competition in the summer, was described by the International Jury as “a haunting work of cinematic art that brings us face to face with the hardships of war through the eyes of an innocent child”, and also received the best cinematographer award for DoP Rimvydas Leipus.

Best director/actors

The jury, which included US actress Karen Young, Latvian film-maker Laila Pakalnina and veteran film funder Jan Erik Holst, gave its best director award to South Korea’s Kyu-Hwan Jeon for The Weight.

Acting prizes went to Poland’s Michal Urbaniak for his subtle embodiment of an old man facing change in My Father’s Bike and to German actress Franziska Petri for her bravura performance  as a Russian femme fatale in Kirill Serebrennikov’s Betrayal.

A special mention was made of Arsen Anton Ostojic’s Halima’s Path which had also won the Audience Award in Cottbus at the beginning of the month.

Baltic debut prize

A new competition for Baltic Sea region feature debuts this year saw the main prize, the Big Fish Award, going to Georgi Paradzhanov’s Everybody’s Gone which was produced by Russia with Georgia and the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, German director Jan Ole Gerster’s feature debut Oh Boy continued its successful run at international festivals – it won three prizes at Bratislava two weeks ago – by garnering the Red Herring for the bravest film as well as the Audience Award.

The Schiwago Film production has been seen by over 120,000 cinema-goers since its theatrical release in Germany by X Verleih, and the film’s star Tom Schilling handed over a thank-you gift to the 10,000th visitor buying a ticket for the film at Berlin’s Kino International on Tuesday evening.

The best cinematographer award went to Estonia’s Elen Lotman for her work on Ain Mäeots’ The Demons which had been shooting in Tallinn exactly a year ago during the festival.

Other awards included the North American Independent Film Competition prize for So Young Kim’s For Ellen, the FIPRESCI Prize for Aleksandr Kasatkin and Natalya Nazarova’s The Daughter, the FICC Don Quixote Prize to Georgian director Rusudan Chkonia’s Keep Smiling, and the NETPAC Jury Prize for Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Wadjda which also received a special mention by the FICC jury.

Tallinn Industry Days

Black Nights also presented the Tallinn Industry Days (Nov 26-27) in co-operation with the Estonian Film Cluster with panels on producing within Asia, funding opportunities and co-production markets in East Asia as well as on genre films and start-ups in the film industry.

However, many Baltic Event first-timers as well as a number of Tallinn “regulars” were somewhat mystified by the distinction between the Baltic Event and the Industry Days – especially when a panel on regional film funds, film commissions, and a burgeoning infrastructure in the Baltic states was held within the framework of the Industry Days, and both events were held at the same venue.