Black Nights Stars 2020 are now announced

    Black Nights Stars, the initiative of the Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event, has announced eight young actors from the Baltic Sea region to participate in the programme this November, also inviting young talents from Russia to attend for the first time within the RUSSIA IN FOCUS program.    

    The Black Nights Stars programme is designed to build a bridge between foreign casting directors and new talent from the region – enhancing their international visibility. The aim is to help young actors from the Baltic Sea region promote themselves outside their home territory and acquire the practical skills needed for their future international careers. This year the program will focus on how to navigate a career in an online world.

    The international jury selected eight young actors from over 40 candidates, who are invited to attend the Black Nights Stars Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event, part of the 24th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). Previously there have been 6 emerging talents participating in the program each year, in 2020 also two young actors from Russia have been invited as Russia, as well as being part of Baltic Sea region, is this year’s focus country for Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event. 

    A jury of international film professionals has selected the following actors: 

    Aaron Hilmer (Germany) 

    Antoni Sałaj (Poland) 

    Hanna Ardéhn (Sweden) 

    Henessi Schmidt (Estonia) 

    Reimo Sagor (Estonia) 

    Simonas Mozūra (Lithuania) 

    Vika Sobol (Russia) 

    Vladislav Kulygin (Russia) 

    Photo collage of all the Black Nights Stars of 2020

    The young actors have been chosen to present their emerging talent based on their first feature film and TV roles. Participating in Black Nights Stars will give the actors a chance to meet with film professionals and to showcase their talent. They will also participate in various masterclasses, workshops and industry networking events.

    According to the member of the international jury, Lina Todd from Lina Todd casting agency, it was a tremendously gratifying experience to select talent from the Baltics. “Though all unique, they share an amazing presence, an unexpected force, mystery, soulful beauty, fierce intensity, intricate sensuality, and deepness which feels unique to their countries and still universal in their sincerity. It is of great value to the film industry to discover these marvellous and fresh artists who will shine, not just in their country, but internationally. To bring them to the film industry’s attention so they can further enrich our experience as audiences and bring us closer together is a treasure,” she added. 

    The 2020 selection jury included Lina Todd, a casting director from New York (Little Man Tate, A Good Day to Die Hard, Crazy Alien); Mike Rosser (Screen International), former European Shooting Star and 2018 Black Nights Star Pääru Oja (O2, The Last Ones); US born casting director Nancy Bishop, based in Europe (The Liberator, the Romanoffs, Whiskey Cavalier) and Magdalena Szwarcbart, casting director from Poland (Schindler’s List, Cold War, Gareth Jones). 

    The programme of Black Nights Stars 2020 will be carried out as an online event at Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event taking place during 23-27 November. The Black Nights Stars programme is presented by the Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event during the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and the European Regional Development Fund funded project Creative Gate.

    Black Nights Stars Participants 2020

    Aaron Hilmer (Germany) has played a recurring role in the well-known youth series Die Pfefferkörner (2013-14) and has had his most important roles to date with Frederick Lau in the comedy Schrotten! by Max Zähle, as a shy young man in Lars Monday's Einsamkeit und Sex und Mitleid and as Cyrill in the modern Cyrano de Bergerac film adaptation of Das Schönste Mädchen Der Welt by Aron Lehmann. He can currently be seen in the Netflix series The Last Word by Aron Lehmann and in the ZDF neo thriller series Sloborn by Christian Alvart, Adolfo Kolmerer. In 2018 he received the Günter Rohrbach Film Prize for The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. In 2019 he was awarded the Bunte New Faces Award as the best young actor and in 2020 he was the new star at the German Film Ball.
    Antoni Sałaj (Poland) has successfully played parts in Dywizjon 303 Historia Prawdziwa by Denis Delić, and Legiony by Dariusz Gajewski. His language skills, Antoni speaks fluently English and French, had an overtone in productions such as Breaking The Band Season Ii: Guns’n’roses by Zoran Trajkovic; 7 Godzin W Pociągu by Miguel Velez. Worth mentioning is his work as Skirgaila – the polish king's brother in the very successful epic series Korona Królów During his acting journey, he has also met with Oscar-nominated direction Bartosz Konopka in Netflix Original series The Woods.
    Hanna Ardéhn (Sweden) grew up in the northern suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden and at a young age she became interested in movies and acting. She is best known for her role as Maja Norberg in the first Swedish Netflix original series Quicksand, which premiered in 2019. Ardéhn has appeared in TV productions Nio med JODubbelliv, and 30 Degrees in February,  an SVT series created by Anders Weidemann as well as the short film Lidingöligan which won the short story film award and in the feature films Krigarnas Ö, and 07X - Lika Barn Leka Bäst, both by Emil Jonsvik. 
    Henessi Schmidt (Estonia) has played in several theatre plays and TV dramas. Her recent works include the theatre play Tallinnville by Helen Rekkor and she played the lead role in Romeo And Juliet by Aare Toikka. In her 1st feature film Talve by Ergo Kuld (Kassikuld, Taska Film, ApolloFilm Productions), she played the lead role as Maie. In the previous years, she played in theatre plays such as Ilusad Inimesed by Piret Jaaks Pariisitar and Dekameron both by Aare Toikka. She played also in several short films such as The Rave by Johannes Magnus Aule and Augusta Ehk Paradiisi Poliitika by Liina Siib.
    Reimo Sagor (Estonia) has worked in numerous film, TV and on stage productions including films also presented at PÖFF: Nullpunkt, Must alpinist and Päevad, mis ajasid segadusse. His performance as the young struggling single father in Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo’s Take It or Leave It introduced him to mainstream audiences in Estonia as well as to a wider global audience. The film was Estonia's foreign-language Oscar submission on its release year in 2018. Reimo’s recent works include Martti Helde’s feature Scandinavian Silence that premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (received Europa Labels Prize). Recently he was seen in the international spy thriller Hamilton starring alongside Jakob Oftebro and Katia Winter. Currently, Reimo is working on Ove Musting’s feature Kalev and the TV-series With One Eye Open. a Swedish contemporary action thriller set in 1996.
    Simonas Mozūra (Lithuania) trained at East 15 Acting School in London and is a member of Vilnius Actor Studio. He was training to become a professional athlete, specializing in a long jump, but arts stole his passion when he began his career with a role in a stage play Fight Club in Lithuanian State Youth Theatre. He moved to the United Kingdom to study acting program that involved writing and directing, consequently, he was one of the founders of two theatre companies in the UK. Simonas landed his first feature film roles soon after graduation including Romas Zabarauskas’ The Lawyer, which was released earlier in 2020. He also worked with Richard Clemmow on BBC Radio 4 radio drama I'm A Slave. Soon he will be coming back as one of the leads in the third season of popular Lithuanian TV crime drama Cursed II
    Vika Sobol (Russia) started playing in a theatre collective when she was 8 and has continued her studies at New School of cinema in Saint Petersburg and also attended music school to learn “baroque singing”. Vika attended the masterclasses of Anton Adasinsky at Theatre Derevo and Andriy Zholdak. She played at re-known Moscow experimental Electrotheatre-Stanislavsky and in a lot of street performances of independent theatres. Vika feature debut as a lead actress was in Andrey Natotsinsky movie Katja.
    Vladislav Kulygin (Russia) has dreamed to be on the stage or act on the screen since being a child. After he finished school, he enrolled at the Higher Theatre School by Mikhael Schepkin. During his student years, he gained some experience playing in The Tempest by W. Shakespeare and in Jester based on Til Ulenspiegel's story. Recently, he played a part in the film called The New Miracle directed by Alexandra Strelyanaya.
    More information about talents, projects and programme on Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event webpage