All the must-see indie films from Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

2 December 2020

Films from across Eastern Europe and Central Asia have swept the board at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

One of the most eagerly awaited rendez-vous in the indie film calendar, the Estonian film festival, announced the winners of its 24th edition on Sunday 29 November. The top films were selected by seven juries in a competition of more than 20 international titles.

Fear, by Bulgarian director Ivaylo Hristov — the story of an unemployed teacher in an Bulgarian border village who welcomes an illegal immigrant into her home — bagged the Grand Prix for the Best Film.

Jan Holoubek’s thriller about a wrongfully-convicted man, 25 Years of Innocence. The Case of Tomek Komenda, won the first Special Jury Prize, while Should The Win Drop by Armenian director Nora Martirosyan took the second Jury Prize. The film follows a relationship between a foreign auditor and a local boy, set against the backdrop of a closed-down airport in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Meanwhile, The Last Ones, by Estonian director Veiko Õunpuu, which won the festival’s Baltic Competition, explores the conflict between an isolated community and the vast landscapes of Lapland with masterful cinematography and great philosophical depth.

Other awarded films from the region include Sententia, a movie by Russian director Dmitry Rudakov inspired on the experience of Soviet poet Varlam Shalamov in Stalinist prison camps, and Ulbolsyn, by acclaimed Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov, which won the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award.

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