Moonika Siimets' "The Little Comrade" ("Seltsimees laps"), the opening film of the Estonia 100 film programme, earned three top awards at the Waterloo Historical Film Festival (WaHFF), which concluded in Belgium late Sunday night.
The film earned both the festival's grand prize as well as the film critics' award. Leading actress Helena Maria Reisner also won the best young actor award.
The jury at WaHFF praised the film's human touch as well as its setting, which skilfully represented the depression that dominated the period. Also praised were superb acting as well as the fact that this was the only film in this year's festival programme to be directed by a woman.
Director Moonika Siismets, who was present for the awards ceremony, was shocked by the film's reception.
"I am very glad that this personal story of Leelo Tungal's received such recognition here," she said. "This is a gift to all of the Estonian people, especially those who have suffered as a result of Stalinist repressions, which continue to affect our society even today. While we don't have to carry this burden every day, we can't forget it. It is very important that Europe and the entire world acknowledge what we have had to live through. Perhaps they will thereby understand us better."
Siimets also thanked her team, the incredible actors as well as everyone who made the Estonia 100 film competition happen as well as supported it financially.
"To be a winner among big-budget European historical films is recognition for our entire film culture and -makers and confirms that it is worth investing in Estonian cinema," she added.
"The Little Comrade" competed at the WaHFF against films included "Ikitie" (Finland), "Suomen hauskin mies" (Finland) "Ayla" (Turkey), "Journey's End" (Ireland), "Redbad" (the Netherlands) and "La Bolduc" (Canada).
The films were selected for competition from among 100 historical films from around the world.
Editor: Aili Vahtla