Film of German rebel wins Black Nights Festival

"Dear Thomas" Source: A scene of the film.

The Grand Prix of the Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) was won by "Dear Thomas", a film by German director Andreas Kleinert, which tells the story of Thomas Brasch, a writer and filmmaker, who was persecuted in East Germany.

Thomas Brasch, who lived from 1945 to 2001, was a rebel in his life and work, handed over to the East German secret police Stas by his own father, when he organized protests in Berlin after the Prague Spring. The film is a homage to this eternally restless soul, but also to art and rebellion.

"For a masterful performance of a powerful story and a biographical film that sheds light on a central figure in German literature," the jury chaired by Mike Downey, President of the European Film Academy said.

For the first time, the main prize will include €20,000, presented by the city of Tallinn.

Actor Albrecht Schuch, playing Thomas Brasch in the movie, also won the Best Actor award. "An incredibly credible interpretation of one of Germany's most important artists," the jury reasoned, calling "Dear Thomas" a true cinematic tour de force.

The winning film was shown on Sunday at 3.15 p.m. at the Coca-Cola Plaza cinema in Tallinn.

The award for best director and screenwriting went to Wojciech Smarzowski from Poland for "Wedding Day" - a sharp look into the world of thought of a xenophobic society that tends to forget about the unpleasant aspects of its history.

The jury named Sofja Krugova, an 11-year-old Russian girl, who plays Kirill Sokolov's black comedy "No Looking Back" - the youngest actor to have won such a high prize in the history of PÖFF.

One of the most famous conductors in the world, Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is also known as a composer, won the best film music award for the film "The Wait" by his compatriot Aku Louhimiehe.

A total of 19 films participated in the main competition program.

The award for best debut went to 32-year-old German director Francesco Sossaile for "Other Cannibals", in which two men in an Italian province try to escape the intolerable reality of everyday life - an attempt to penetrate the depths of a person's state of mind and desires.

The jury named Andrius Blaževičius' film "Runner" the best Baltic film.

The DDA Spotlight Award went to Austrian director Sebastian Meise for "Great Freedom" and South African-based U.S. director Liesl Tommy for "Respect". The aim of the award is to bring attention to filmmakers who have promoted the diversity of the film industry and the involvement of minority groups through their activities or creations.

Although the winners have been announced, the festival will continue on Sunday. A selection of festival films will be available on PÖFF's online cinema from 29 November.

25th Black Nights Film Festival Awards:


Jury: Mike Downey (Chairman, UK), Francis Annan (UK), Nisan Dağ (Turkey), Eugen Tamberg (Estonia), Piret Tibbo-Hudgins (Estonia)

Best Movie Grand Prix:

"Dear Thomas" (Germany)
Lieber Thomas
Directed by Andreas Kleinert

The jury's reasoning: "For a masterful performance of a powerful story and biographical film that sheds light on one of the central forms of German literature."

Best Director:

Wojciech Smarzowski
"Wedding Day" (Poland)

The jury's reasoning: "With cutting edge, the director exposes today's corruption, historical revisionism and deep-seated hatred of others, intertwining the crimes that have taken place in the heart of Europe in the past and today."

Best Cinematography:

Emre Tanyildiz
"The List of Those Who Love Me" (Turkey)
Beni Sevenler Listesi
Directed by Emre Erdoğdu

The jury's reasoning: "For an aesthetically comprehensive and creatively determined cinematography, which is a textbook example of the inexhaustible possibilities and pleasures of a 16-mm film."

Best Script:

Wojciech Smarzowski
"Wedding Day" (Poland)
Directed by Wojciech Smarzowski

The jury's reasoning: "For an uncompromising story and an impressive revival of two very specific historical periods in an aesthetically complete work of art."

Best Actress:

Sofja Krugova
"No Looking Back" (Russia)
Оторви и выбрось
Directed by Kirill Sokolov

The jury's reasoning: "For creating a merrily brave and cleverly conscious character - a young actor who was able to stand out in a wonderfully strong ensemble of comedy actors."

Best Actor:

Albrecht Schuch
"Dear Thomas" (Germany)
Lieber Thomas
Directed by Andreas Kleinert

The jury's reasoning: "Outstanding, multi-layered and versatile title role and an incredibly believable interpretation of the life of one of Germany's most important artists, a real cinematic tour de force.

Best Music:

Esa-Pekka Salonen
"The Wait" (Finland)
Directed by Aku Louhimies

The jury's reasoning: "For film music that is not only mentally liberating, crawling into the skin with its emotional authenticity, but also perfectly reflects the inner passion, love and insecurity of the three protagonists."

Best Artwork:

Anna Nyitrai
"Perpetuity" (Hungary)
Directed by György Pálfi

Jury Rationale: "For Creating an Apocalyptic Vision of Hell in the Dystopia of Futuristic Europe."


Jury: Jayro Bustamante (Chairman, Guatemala), Elfar Adalsteins (Iceland), Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (Bangladesh), Paul Thiltges (Luxembourg), Evelin Penttilä (Estonia)

Best Movie:

"Other Cannibals" (Germany)
Altri cannibali
Directed by Francesco Sossai

The jury's reasoning: "A film with a very personal perspective and strong visual handwriting, innovative and fresh. The script and acting form an excellent whole in this story of loneliness, which is told very sensitively. It makes us look forward to the director's next film."

Special prizes:

"Immersion" (Chile-Mexico)
Directed by Nicolás Postiglione

The jury's reasoning: "We are entering the world after the first shots, where there is intense ignorance that will not let the viewer go completely. Masterfully using the techniques of the thriller, we are confronted with the prejudices and fears that increasingly characterize our society."

"Her Way" (France)
Une femme du monde
Directed by Cécile Ducrocq

The jury's reasoning: "A story told with real understanding - it's extremely important to dig into the deepest recesses of a person's soul - a middle-aged mother who wants to give her son what she didn't have as a child - to truly live with the world. "


Jury: Xavier Henry-Rashid (Chairman, Italy), Marjorie Bendeck (Germany), Ben Pullen (UK)

Best Movie:

"Runner" (Lithuania-Czech Republic)
Director Andrius Blaževičius
The jury's reasoning: "An honest and thought-provoking work on a complex subject - a heartfelt film full of energy and passion with great acting."


Jury: Kazik Radwanski (Chairman, Canada), Juris Kursietis (Latvia), Rene van Pannevis (Netherlands)

Best movie:

"The Moths" (Poland)
Directed by Piotr Stasik

Jury Rationale: "A film that takes us on a conceptual journey deep into the woods where boys fleeing a computer game camp disappear. Challenging, intriguing and poetic, full of detailed shots - asking awkward questions about modern society and its masculinity."

Best Short Film:

"They Were to Cross the River" (France)
Directed by Faeze Karimpour

The jury's reasoning: "A film that has to be seen- a world that exists outside of time and modern practice."

FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize

Jury: Ola Salwa (Poland), Aleksander Huser (Norway), Maarja Hindoalla (Estonia)

"Other People" (Poland-France)
Inni ludzie
Directed by Aleksandra Terpińska

The jury's reasoning: "The bold, truthful and fresh criticism of capitalism and the hollow people who grew up in it."


Jury: Andres Põder, Justinus Ilmar Kiviloo, Marge-Maria Paas, Tõnis Kark

"Mukagali. The Departure of the Poet" (Kazakhstan)
Directed by Bolat Kalõmbetov

The jury's reasoning: "This is a film which poetic language and visual richness allow the most sensitive subjects to be translated into the language of the human soul."


"Whispers of War" (Germany)
Stille Post
Directed by Florian Hoffmann


Carlos Saura (Spain) and Elle Kull (Estonia)


Liesl Tommy (South Africa/USA) and Sebastian Meise (Germany)


Pääru Oja (Estonia)


Jury: Stefani Kipani (Italy), Julia Jarl (Sweden), Rasmus Merivoo (Estonia)

Grand Prix:

"Playground" (Belgium)
Un Monde
Directed by Laura Wandel

The jury's reasoning: "An important story that is told masterfully and in a very special way from the child's point of view. Tough but gripping, with great children's performances."

Special Prize:

"In limbo"
Directed by Aleksandr Hant

The jury's reasoning: "Fast and honest, straightforward, funny and sad. A masterful cinematic journey that will haunt me for a long time."

Best Movie:

Mijn Vader Is een Saucisse / "My Dad is a Sausage" (Belgium-Netherlands)

Directed by Anouk Fortunier

Special prize:

"Even mice belong to the sky" (Czech Republic-France-Slovakia-Poland)
Mysi Patrí do Nebe
Directed by Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeníček.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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