Animator and director Sander Joon, who was shortlisted for an Oscar last year, receives the president's culture award.
Sander Joon, born in 1990, received a bachelor's degree with honors in 2015 and a master's degree with honors in 2018 from the Animation Department of the Estonian Academy of Arts. He has participated in the production of several films such as "Velodrool," "Moulinet," "Sounds Good" and "Sierra."
The animated short "Sierra," which premiered in early 2022, was screened at 120 festivals throughout the year, where it won a total of 43 awards. After winning the award for Best Animated Short at the San Francisco International Film Festival, among others, the film became eligible for an Oscar nomination and was subsequently shortlisted along with 14 other films in the Animated Short category.
"Estonian culture is vast and diverse, but its creators are few. Their responsibilities and contributions are even more important," said President Karis at the award ceremony. "It is important that we, as the audience, recognize and support their work. Culture is what unites us and shapes our identity."
President Karis noted that Joon has taught animation at the Estonian Academy of Arts and mentored aspiring young animators. "Giving back to his school and home country at such a young age is very sympathetic and shows the good values of this young man," Karis said.
The prize is intended to recognize the achievements of cultural figures aged 35 or younger, to thank them and to inspire them further.
Previous winners include playwright Eero Epner, poet Kristiina Ehin, jazz musician Kadri Voorand, computer game designers Robert Kurvitz and Aleksander Rostov, composer and conductor Rasmus Puur, and most recently ballet dancer and choreographer Jevgeni Grib.
Editor: Karmen Rebane, Kristina Kersa