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North Europe’s biggest youth and children’s film festival Just Film’s Grand Prix went to Belgium

The international Just Film festival, which took place from the 12th to 28th of November brought to the big screen numerous exciting films from all over the world. Just Film’s mission is to showcase current, important and serious topics through the art of film with the intention to start discussions between children, youngsters and adults.

This year Just Film presented three European, three international and four world premieres. One of the world premieres was young Estonian director Meel Paliale’s film Tree of Eternal Love, which the audience received with a standing ovation.

Altogether, Just Film screened 52 feature films, 5 short films for kids and two short film special programmes - KOOLITANTS@Just that included 11 short films made by youngsters, and a #youngfilmmaker programme that screened 13 Estonian school youths’ short films.

The festival programme was enhanced with films from all over the world including films from Argentina, Bolivia, Israel, Colombia and India.

For the second year, the Just Film children’s rights programme was put together with the help of young programmers, alongside the children’s rights ambassador programme coordinator Triin Sooäär. Additionally, Just Film’s main programme team included two Estonian youngsters.

Including the youth is an important pillar of the actions of Just Film. Teens have brilliant ideas and a fresh insight on different topics that add a very interesting dimension to the festival,” says the Just Film Programme Director Mikk Granström.

Just Film Festival Director Heleen Sutt commented: “We are extremely happy that, despite the uncertain times, we were able to have the festival screenings in actual cinema halls. At the same time, we were also able to organise Just Film’s international competition programmes and retain the programmes’ high artistic quality.” She adds that the team is very pleased that, for the first time, the programme also included films made by Estonian school youngsters: “It was very insightful to see the youth’s ideas, emotions and understanding of the world on the big screen. I wish to thank the whole team of the Black Nights Film Festival and Just Film! And of course, our audience also deserves special gratitude. See you in November 2022!

Just Film 2021 winners:
#youngfilmmaker Best Film Award

Jury: Piia Parktal, Maria Rannaväli, Toomas Ili, Jüri Pootsmann

Frustration
Directed by Artjom Amosov & Aleks Moppel
Estonia 2021

Jury’s comment: “The winning film had a coherent screenplay and felt like a real film. Excellent acting and exciting characters. The film was realistic and it was possible to relate to all of the characters.”

#youngfilmmaker Jury Special Mention:
“Annelinn”
Directed by Grete Kaio
Estonia 2021

Jury’s comment: Special prize goes to “Annelinn” for its artistic approach to both visuals and dialogue that fit together perfectly.

Just Film Children’s Jury Best Film Award

Jury: Anitra Lippmaa, Loreta Kaljas, Hugo Palumäe, Johanna Piir, Teodor Uueni

I Mysi Patrí do Nebe / Even Mice Belong In Heaven
Directed by Denisa Grimmová ja Jan Bubeníček
Chech Republic, France, Slovakia, Poland 2021

Jury’s comment: “The children’s jury award goes to an educating, high-quality, heartwarming and original puppet film Even Mice Belong In Heaven. The storyline of the film was strong, well dubbed and the puppets showed true craftsmanship - simply beautiful and pure film!”

Children’s Jury Special Mention:
Nachtwald / Night Forest
Directed by André Hörmann, Katrin Milhahn
Germany 2021

Jury’s comment: “Special prize goes to an interesting, captivating, educating and a slightly frightful film Night Forest.

Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award

Jury: Mirjam Lantin, Kaisa Pärila, Ida Vares, Grete Astrid Grahe

Powrót do tamtych dni / Back to Those Days
R: Konrad Aksinowicz
Poland 2021

Jury’s comment: “The winning film instantly left a strong impression on everyone. However, the decision was still difficult as there were so many strong films in the programme. The story of this film is portrayed in an honest, detailed and lifelike way. Besides, we enjoyed that the film’s topics were discussed from different perspectives and in a historically accurate settings. Throughout the whole film, we were able to see thrilling scenes. The storyline had a great culmination that left us pondering on the film on our way home.”

Youth Jury Special Mention:
Wild Roots
Directed by Hajni Kis
Hungary 2021

Jury’s comment: “The truthful acting of the cast and the characters’ chemistry on-screen created many different emotions. Due to the excellent acting, there were many scenes where words were not necessary as all was said through the body language and mimics. The special prize goes to a film where two main characters’ - father and daughter - performances were outstanding.”

ECFA Award for the Best European Children’s Film

Jury: Gloria Morano (Italy), Joe Ursell (UK), Mikk Rand (Estonia)

Mijn Vader Is een Saucisse / My Dad is a Sausage
Directed by Anouk Fortunier
Belgium, Netherlands 2021

Jury’s comment: “Our overall winner was a film that surprised all of us, a story full of warmth and a love of the power of art for art's sake, a live action film with some dazzling animated sequences scattered throughout. A number of challenging issues were raised in the film in accessible ways that never patronises young people, and the film was constantly entertaining, funny, perceptive, and moving. We're all looking forward to watching it again! The jury was united in our decision to award the Best Film prize to My Dad is a Sausage.”

ECFA Jury Special Mention:

I Mysi Patrí do Nebe / Even Mice Belong In Heaven
Directed by Denisa Grimmová ja Jan Bubeníček
Chech Republic, France, Slovakia, Poland 2021

Jury’s comment: “Incredible fantasy and excellent use of stop-motion animation.”

Just Film Grand Prix for the Best Youth Film 2021

Jury: Stefano Cipani (Italy), Julia Jarl (Sweden), Rasmus Merivoo (Estonia)

Un Monde / Playground
Directed by Laura Wandel
Belgium 2021

Jury’s comment: “Important story presented in a masterful and unique way, never leaving the children’s perspective. Heavy but gripping with the excellent performances of children.”

International Jury Special Mention:

In Limbo
Directed by Alexander Hant
Russia 2021

Jury’s comment: “Fast-paced and honest, downright, funny and sad. Brilliantly conveyed a journey through cinematography that stays with the audience for a long time.”

Although Just Film film screenings in the cinemas have ended, the best films of the Black Night Film Festival are still available until the 19th of December on PÖFF’s web cinema platform - poff.elisastage.ee. Among these films are Just Film Youth Jury Best Film Award winner Back to Those Days (Poland 2021).

Organising a film festival is challenging that wouldn’t be possible without good friends, supporters and sponsors.

The festival thanks everyone who has helped to make it possible!

Additional information
Mikk Granström
Just Film’s Programme Director
+372 53 002 617
mikk.granstrom@poff.ee

Heleen Sutt
Youth and Children Festival Just Film Director and Marketing Director
+372 52 055 92
heleen.sutt@poff.ee