Asian cinema emerges victorious at the Award Ceremony of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival with the Grand Prix going to Japanese “Kontora” and the Best Director award to Filippino filmmaker Jun Robles Jana for “Kalel, 15”.

In the festival’s premiere competition programme, the Official Selection – Competition Japanese film Kontora, directed, produced and written by Anshul Chauhan emerged victorious, nabbing the festival’s Grand Prix and the Best Music award that was handed to Yuma Koda. The film centres on the problematic relationship of a single father and his teenage daughter in economic distress, as a stranger, a mute man who only walks backwards enters their lives forcing them to confront their emotional reality.

But let’s see them all:

Kontora

Official Selection Competition

Grand Prix for the Best Film (grant of 10 000 euros from the City of Tallinn, shared by the Director and Producer):

KONTORA (Japan)
Director and producer: Anshul Chauhan

Jury commentary: Offers a powerful, mysterious story that links modern Japanese lives with a past that the characters of the film think have been buried and forgotten, but which rises up to haunt and obsess them. It’s also a rich portrait of an ordinary Japanese family under severe tensions. Full of unexpected disturbing images this film is brilliantly multi layered-a truly cinematic experience. 

Award for Best Director (grant of 5000 euros)

KALEL, 15 (Philippines)
Director: Jun Robles Jana

Jury commentary: Working with a large cast of mostly very young actors he has made a film which feels deeply -rooted in the everyday lives of its characters. His film pulls away from the sticking-plaster from the wound of the AIDS epidemic among young people of the Philippines and exposes the terror and violence that this crisis imposes on them. It’s a passionate and concerned film about lives we never see in the West. 

Award for Best Script

GOLDEN VOICES (Israel)
Scriptwriters: Evgeny Ruman, Ziv Berkovich

Jury commentary: For telling a vivid and gripping story through real and relatable characters. Right from the opening scene, you fall in love with the characters and are intrigued by what’s in store for them. It stands out simply for telling a unique story in a balanced and compelling way.

Coming Home Again

Award for Best Cinematographer (grant of 1000 euros from Angel Films)

RICHARD WONG
Film: Coming Home Again (USA-South Korea)

Jury commentary: For its ability to translate into images the tension and the drama of the story with an elegant minimalism, framing through narrow spaces, both physical and metaphorical, representing the despair of the characters with a discrete eye and delivering a bold vision of what cinematography should be.

Award for Best Music

YUMA KODA
Film: Kontora (Japan)

Jury commentary: For the ability to create a state of continous tension and references to the past through an extremely rigorous and modern orchestral writing.

Rebel with a Cause Award (grant of 1200 euros from Nudist)

FEAST (China)
Director Yunxing Nie, producers Li Keqi, Qiu Jiamin, Guan Feiyu

Jury comment: Our jury decided to give this award to a movie that has a bold, skilled and artistic approach to cinema. Its Director has an amazing ability to tie cinematographically together different times, locations and realities.
In this period when the impoverishing policies of the states, violence against innocent people, freedom of expression and way of life are being ignored, we are happy to give the Rebels with a Cause award to the movie, which tackles the social, political, and sexual-taboos by using the magic of cinema.

Audience Award (grant of 2000 euros from the City of Tallinn)
As voted by the festival’s audience:

WHEN THE MOON WAS FULL (Iran)
Director: Narges Abyar 

Golden Voices

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

Jury commentary: For an honest and simple narrative of the most complex angles within a human being and his value, the nostalgic picturisation of the reality and providing brilliant acting.

European Film Academy 2020 Awards candidate nomination

12 K. MARX STREET (Georgia)
Director Irine Jordania

Advertisement
On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"