Kontora takes top prize in Tallinn

British films Boyz In The Wood, Looted and Muscle among winners

by Amber Wilkinson

Grand Prix winner Kontora
Grand Prix winner Kontora Photo: Courtesy of Tallinn Black Nights
Anshul Chauhan's Kontora took home the Grand Prix at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival this weekend.

The drama, about a complicated relationship between a father and daughter also saw the Best Music award given to Yuma Koda's score.

The Best Director award went to Filippino filmmaker Jun Robles Jana for Kalel, 15 - a portrait of a 15-year-old in Manila who is trying to cope with family difficulties and a recent HIV diagnosis.

Away from the main competition, it was a good night for British film, with Scottish-set Boyz In The Wood taking home the Youth Competition Grand Prix, Rene Pannevis picking up the FIPRESCI prize for Looted and Clavan Clerkin winning the Best Actor prize for his role in the Gerard Johnson thriller Muscle.

The acting prize went to Alina Serban for her portrayal of a single mum in Gipsy Queen. On the night, she gave an impassioned speech about the importance of the film's celebration of the Roma community, who still face wide prejudice across Europe. Equally strong speeches of solidarity in the face of turbulent politics came from South American and Iranian winners.

Director Wayne Wang’s Coming Home Again received the Best Cinematographer award for its DOP Richard Wong. Israeli dramedy Golden Voices, a tale of two Russian Jewish voice actors emigrating to Jerusalem at the beginning of 1990s, was a double winner, taking home Best Script for Evgeny Ruman (who also directs) and Ziv Berkovich and the NETPAC award.

At the awards ceremony, jury president Michal Newell described the difficult decision-making process as all the 21 films in competition had their merits, naming four more films that he wished to highlight: The Flying Circus by Albanian director Fatos Berisha, Arracht by Irish director Tom Sullivan, Drowsy City by Vietnamese director and When the Moon Was Full.

In the First Feature Competition, Stories From The Chestnut Woods, by director Gregor Bozic, was named Best Film. It tells a collection of stories set in a rural area on the border Italy and Slovenia during the difficult years after the Second World War.

Two Special Prizes were also given - to tense Brazilian drama The Seeker, for Bernardo Barreto's script about a woman's stressful return to her family home with her outsider boyfriend on Father's Day, and to Nicolas Taborga for his cinematography in Bolivian film The Names Of The Flowers.

The full list of winners is below:

Official Selection Competition

  • Grand Prix - Kontora (Japan), Director and producer: Anshul Chauhan
  • Best Director - Kalel, 15 (Philippines), Director: Jun Robles Jana
  • Best Script - Golden Voices (Israel), Scriptwriters: Evgeny Ruman, Ziv Berkovich
  • Best Actress - Alina Serban for Gipsy Queen (Germany)
  • Best Actor - Cavan Clerkin, for Muscle (UK)
  • Best Cinematographer - Richard Wong for Coming Home Again (US, South Korea)
  • Best Music - Yuma Koda for Kontora (Japan)

First Feature Competition

  • Best Film - Stories From The Chestnut Woods (Slovenia, Italy), Director: Gregor Bozic, producer: Marina Gumzi
  • Special Jury Prize for Screenplay - The Seeker (Brazil), Director: Bernardo Barretto, producer: Bernardo Barreto, Mario Patrocinio
  • Special Jury Prize for cinematography - The Names Of The Flowers (Bolivia, Qatar, Canada) Director: Bahman Tavoosi

Baltic Film Competition

  • Best Baltic Feature Film - Motherland (Lithuania) - Director: Tomas Vengris

Rebels with a Cause Competition

  • Rebel with a Cause Award - Feast (China), Director Yunxing Nie, producers Li Keqi, Qiu Jiamin, Guan Feiyu
  • Rebels With Their Shorts Award - The Silence Of The Dying Fish (France), Director Vasilis Kekatos

Additional Awards

  • Audience Award - When The Moon Was Full (Iran), Director: Narges Abyar
  • FIPRESCI Award presented by International Federation of Film Critics (given to one film in the First Feature Competition) - Looted, Director: Rene Pannevis
  • NETPAC Award for Best Asian film presented by Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (given to a film from among the selection of Asian films having their world or international premiere at the festival) - Golden Voices (Israel), Director: Evgeny Ruman
  • Estonian Ecumenical Jury Prize presented by the representatives of the largest congregations in Estonia Gipsy Queen (Germany), Director: Hüseyin Tabak
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Sound technician Enn Säde

Children’s and youth film festival Just Film

  • Grand Prix - Boyz In The Wood, Director: Ninian Doff
  • European Children’s Film Association Award - Binti (Belgium, Netherlands), Director: Frederike Migom

International short film and animation festival PÖFF Shorts

  • European Film Academy 2020 Awards candidate nomination - 12 K. Marx Street (Georgia), Director Irine Jordania

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