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Awards Climax 14th Edition of POFF

After 11 days of international premieres, receptions and special events, POFF, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, came to its climax on Friday evening with the announcement of its major awards at a ceremony held at the historic Russian Theater in the Estonian capital. With a local rock band providiing background music, the juries of the 14th edition made their announcements to the cheers of an audience of local dignitaries and visiting professionals from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the United States.

MY JOY, a co-production between Germany, Ukraine and the Netherlands, won the Grand Prix in the Festival's EurAsia Official Competition section. The film, a directorial debut by Belarus filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa, receives the golden trophy in the shape of the wolf (the Festival's mascot and symbol), along with a cash prize of 10,000 Euros. MY JOY is an emotionally intense story of a truck driver who goes on a killing spree while travelling across Russia, and feels very little remorse for the violence he has inflicted on his victims. Making a statement about the casualness of violence in our world, the film makes a chilling statement about the banality of cruelty in our fast-paced world. The film had its world premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and has since been seen at festivals in Karlovy Vary, ERA New Horizons, Melbourne, Hamburg, London, Sao Paolo and Toronto and is part of the lineup at the Dubai International Film Festival next week.

A Special Jury Prize was awarded to the Iraqi film SON OF BABYLON by director Mohamed Al-Daradji. A co-production between Iraq, United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, the film was shot on location in Iraq and details the chaos that overwhelms the local population in the first months after the American invasion. The film has been acclaimed on the international film festival circuit, winning the Amnesty International Peace Prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Receving a Special Mention in the EurAsia section was STORY OF BIBINUR, a film by Russian director Yuri Feting that is the first film in decades shot in the region of Tartarstan.


EASTERN DRIFT, a Lithuanian film co-produced with France and Russia, won the Silver Award honors in the Tridens Baltic Feature Film competition. The film, a psychological thriller, follows the story of a man who leaves her native Lithuania and becomes involved with the Russian mafia and a high-class prostitute in Moscow. The film, directed by Sharunas Bartas, received its world premiere in the Forum section of the Berlin Film Festival. The award, which also includes a cash prize of 5000 Euros, is meant to bring attention to films produced in the Baltics over the past year. Two Estonian films picked up prizes as well. THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY by director Veiko Ounpuu, won the Scottish Leader Estonian Film Award, which includes a 50,000 Estonian Kroons cash prize. The film, which also won the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Prize from a jury of international film journalists, was the first Estonian film to compete at last year's Sundance Film Festival. THE SNOW QUEEN, a fantasy film co-produced with Norway, won the Best Cinematography prize for its director of photography Marius Matzow Gulbrandsen.



The Don Quixote Award given by the FICC (the International Federation of Cinema Clubs) was given to the Czech/German co-production 3 SEASONS IN HELL, a biopic about a radical poet and notorious bohemian who becomes strangled by totalitarian forces in post-war Prague. The film, which had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, introduces a remarkable acting performance by its young lead, Krystof Hádek, who was one of this year's Shooting Stars (a promotion initiative designed to highlight young European actors).

The North American Independents Competition, comprised of indie films from the USA and Canada, made its third appearance at POFF. The unanimous winner of the Silver Award in the section is the French Canadian drama INCENDIES (Scorched) by Denis Villeneuve. The film, co-produced with France, is Canada's entry for the Oscars this year and was named the Best Canadian Film at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. A second Canadian title, the acerbic coming-of-age drama GROWN UP MOVIE STAR by director Adriana Maggs, was a close second, winning a Special Mention by the jury as "a film that deserves to be noticed."

The NETPAC Jury Award, given by the Asian organization for the Best Asian Film in the Festival, was tied by the Indian film PEEPLI LIVE by director Anusha Rizvi, and THE LIGHT THIEF, a Kyrgyzstan co-production with France, Germany and The Netherlands, directed by Aktan Arym Kubat. The Audience Award, voted on by POFF's enthusiastic public, was presented to a Japanese film for the first time. TOILET is a touching family comedy that celebrates personal and cultural quirks and highlights the amusing differences between East and West. The film, directed by Naoko Ogigami, has been a major box office triumph in its native country and has been acclaimed on the international film festival circuit.

Festival Director Tiina Lokk came out after the announcement of the awards to thank her team, the Festival sponsors, the visiting professionals and the enthusiastic audiences. She announced that next year's Festival will be a special 15th year celebration and that the "country focus" as symbolized by a passing of the lighted candle, will be on films from Iceland. For more information and to view trailers of the above fillms, visit: www.poff.ee

Sandy Mandelberger, POFF Dailies Editor





EurAsia Jury Awards

GRAND PRIX FOR BEST EURASIAN FILM (scholarship of 10.000 euros)
MY JOY / SCHASTYE MOE (Director Sergei Loznitsa, Germany / Ukraine / Netherlands)

JURY PRIZE FOR THE BEST DIRECTOR
CHRIS KRAUS (The Poll Diaries / Poll, Germany / Austria / Estonia)

JURY PRIZE FOR THE BEST ACTOR
MIKAEL PERSBRANDT (In a Better World / Hævnen, Denmark / Sweden)

JURY PRIZE FOR THE BEST ACTRESS
KATJA KÜTTNER (Princess / Prinsessa, Finland)

JURY PRIZE FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER
MIKHAIL KRICHMAN (Silent Souls / Ovsjanki, Russia)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
SON OF BABYLON (Director Mohamed Al-Daradji, Iraq / United Kingdom / France / Netherlands / Palestinian Territory / United Arab Emirates / Egypt)

SPECIAL MENTION
STORY OF BIBINUR / BIBINUR (Director Yuri Feting, Russia (Tatarstan))

Tridens Baltic Feature Film Competition Jury Awards

BEST FILM (scholarship of 5000 euros)
EASTERN DRIFT / INDIGÈNE D'EURAISIE (Director Sharunas Bartas, France / Lithuania / Russia)

SCOTTISH LEADER ESTONIAN FILM AWARD (scholarship of 50 000 Estonian kroons)
THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY / PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (Director Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia / Finland / Sweden)

SILVER AWARD FOR THE BEST BALTIC FILM (promotion with TV channel Silver)
THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY/ PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (Director Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia / Finland / Sweden)

PETRI MUTASEN ELOKUVAKONEPAJA OY AWARD FOR THE BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER (scholarship of 1000 euros)
MARIUS MATZOW GULBRANDSEN (The Snow Queen / Lumekuninganna, Estonia / Norway)

SPECIAL MENTION
PIT NO 8 / AUK NR 8 (Director Marianna Kaat, Estonia / Ukraine)

FIPRESCI Award for Best Baltic Film

THE TEMPTATION OF ST. TONY/ PÜHA TÕNU KIUSAMINE (Director Veiko Õunpuu, Estonia / Finland / Sweden)

North American Independent Film Competition Programme Jury Award:

SILVER AWARD OF THE BEST FILM (promotion with TV channel Silver)
INCENDIES (Director Denis Villeneuve, Canada / France)

SPECIAL MENTION
GROWN UP MOVIE STAR (Director Adriana Maggs, Canada)

FICC Jury Award

DON QUIJOTE AWARD
3 SEASONS IN HELL / 3 SEZÓNY V PEKLE (Director Tomáš Mašin, Czech Republic / Germany / Slovakia)

SPECIAL MENTION
SILENT SOULS / OVSJANKI (Director Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia)

NETPAC Jury Award

PEEPLI LIVE (Director Anusha Rizvi, India)

THE LIGHT THIEF / SVET-AKE (Director Aktan Arym Kubat, France / Germany / Kyrgyzstan / Netherlands )

Audience Award

TOILET/ TOIRETTO (Director Naoko Ogigami, Japan)

Lifetime Achievement Award

VESA-MATTI LOIRI(Actor and musician, Finland)

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