Estonian filmmaker Anna Hints wins Sundance Film Festival directing award

Anna Hints at the Sundance Film Festival.
Anna Hints at the Sundance Film Festival. Source: Rain Rannu

Estonian director Anna Hints won the Sundance Film Festival's Directing Award for her documentary film "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" on Friday.

Hint's film won in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. She also wrote the script.

In an interview after the announcement, asked what this award means to her, Hints said people should follow their instincts and their hearts.

"There are so many challenges in the world, but when you follow your heart, you stick to your intuition, then it will reach other [people's] hearts. I feel that I have gained a film family," she said.

The film is an Estonian, Irish and French production and had its world premiere at the world-renowned U.S. festival earlier this month.

Hints wrote on social media that it is the first film by an Estonian director chosen to premier at the event.

The documentary was shot in a smoke sauna in South Estonia and focuses on a group of women who "share their innermost thoughts and secrets".

"Enveloped by a warm, dense heat, they bare all to expel fears and shame trapped in their bodies and regain their strength," Sundance Film Festival wrote.

Estona's smoke sauna tradition is included on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

"The smoke sauna tradition is an important part of everyday life in the Võro community of Estonia. It comprises a rich set of traditions including the actual bathing customs, the skills of making bath whisks, building and repairing saunas, and smoking meat in the sauna," UNESCO says.


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Editor: Maiken Tiits, Helen Wright

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