Tallinn loves Wandering Girl

Rubén Mendoza takes top prize at festival.

by Amber Wilkinson

Wandering Girl
Wandering Girl Photo: Courtesy of PÖFF
Rubén Mendoza's Wandering Girl has won the Grand Prix at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. The Colombian/French co-production, which had its world premiere at the festival, tells the story of a 12-year-old and her three older step-sisters as they meet for the first time because of the death of their dad.

The jury commended the film "for powerfully exploring themes of grief and abandonment through a very moving, intimate, piercing, and delicate sensorial cinematic approach." They added: "The film manages to unveil the inner worlds of four sisters and their relationships while at the same time explore social issues of contemporary Southern American society at large with refreshing honesty, catharsis, and originality."

The Best Director gong went to Jang Woo-Jin for South Korean film Winter's Night - which charts the disintegration of a relationship. Seo Young-hwa, who plays one of the two leads in the film, was named Best Actress. The Best Actor award was shared by Navid Mohammadzadeh for his role in Iranian gangster drama Sheeple and Dar Salim for Danish drama Until We Fall.

Rajat Kapoor won the Best Script prize for Kadakh, an Indian film which charts the trouble that brews for a man when he is visited by the husband of a woman he has been having an affair with on Diwali.

Head Above Water, directed by Margaux Bonhomme, was named the Best First Feature. The Jury said: "A gripping and truly heartbreaking family drama that because of it’s overwhelming authenticity and very high level of emotional realism frequently feels like a documentary, while it is in fact a very smartly constructed piece of fiction, precisely choreographed and overall tremendously well directed by an unusual talented and skilled first time feature filmmaker who therefore richly deserves the top prize in this category." The film also took the FIPRESCI critics prize.

The Best Baltic Film award went to Lithuanian film [fim]Summer Survivors[/film], directed by Marija Kavtaradze, and Ahto. Chasing a Dream, directed by Jaanis Valk, was named Best Estonian Film.

The rest of the awards are below:

Main Competition

Best Cinematographer: Jean Pierre St-Louis - A Place To Live (Canada)
Best Music: Las Ānes - Wandering Girl (Colombia-France)

First Feature Competition
Special Jury Prize #1 As I Fall, directed by Magnus Meyer Arensen (Norway)
Special Jury Prize #2 Cronofobia, directed by Francesco Rizzi (Switzerland)

Rebel with a Cause Award Mira, directed by Denis Shabaev (Russia)

Award for Best Asian film by the jury of Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Kejal, directed by Nima Salehiyar (Iran)

Ecumenical Jury Prize by the spiritual leaders of the largest congregations in Estonia (chosen from Official Selection) Werewolf, directed by Adrian Panek (Poland)

Audience Award Shared by The Guest, directed by Hadi El Bagoury (Egypt) and Werewolf, directed by Adrian Panek (Poland)

Lifetime Achievement Awards of the festival Liv Ullmann (Norway)
Ivars Seleckis (Latvia)
Mark Soosaar (Estonia)

Main prizes of the sub-festivals

Youth and children’s film festival Just Film, Youth Competition, Best Film "Hope You'll Die Next Time", directed by Mihály Schwechtje (Hungary)

Shorts and Animations film festival PÖFF Shorts

International Competition Best Short Film All Inclusive, directed by Corina Schwingruger-Iliç (Switzerland)

International Competition, Best Animation Egg, directed by Martina Scarpelli (Italy)

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