08-10-2010

FNE Estonia Focus: Tallinn hosts European Film Academy Awards

By Kristo Tohver

TALLINN: This year's European Film Awards to be handed out in Tallinn! On 4 December, the cremé of the European film industry will be in Tallinn for the award ceremony of the European Film Academy featuring the annual European Film Awards or so-called European Oscars. The two-member team that is producing this annual highlight, i.e. Tiina Lokk, member of the European Film Academy and organizer of Black Nights Film Festival, and Peeter Rebane, an entertainment businessman and producer, talk about what the organization of the largest-ever international culture event held in Tallinn means for Europe and Estonia and what there is to expect.

Hosting the 23rd European Film Award Ceremony is a major task for the city, especially since only one month later Tallinn will officially become the European Capital of Culture 2011. Peeter Rebane, the Tallinn producer of the European Film
Awards, says that, by its importance to Estonia, this international media and culture event can be compared to hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002 in Tallinn.

The annual highlight of the European film community will bring to Tallinn in December not only famous foreign guests and members of the European Film Academy, but also hundreds of journalists. The unforgettable award ceremony that will be produced in cooperation with Estonians and Germans in Solaris Centre will be televised to millions of European homes.

It was Berlin and December 2007 when Tallinn won the right to host the European Film Award Ceremony, an event that in alternative years is held in Berlin, the birthplace of the European Film Academy, and in some other European city.

Why Tallinn?
Pascal Edelmann, press spokesperson of the European Film Academy, says that every event that wants to be so-called European, must be constantly developing and adapting together with the continent that it celebrates. "If you want to know Europe, you cannot get stuck in one place," he notes. And although the roots of the European Film Academy are in Berlin that hosts the film awards every second year, the event has also been held, among others, in Paris, Glasgow, London, Rome, Barcelona, Warsaw and Copenhagen. Shortly, Tallinn will have the opportunity to give this event
its face.

"It is always the case that the event assumes the characteristic features of the hosting location and a certain cultural tone. Therefore, moving the ceremony to some new location helps to highlight the local, regional or national film culture and to involve in the event Academy members from all over Europe," added Edelmann.

The fact that Tallinn will be next year the European Capital of Culture is equally important. "The first time that the European Film Awards were handed out was in West Berlin in 1988. Coincidentally, it was also the year when Berlin was the
European Capital of Culture. It is nice that these events again meet each other and the award ceremony will be a great kick-off for the whole exciting programme of cultural events," noted Edelmann.

A unique opportunity to promote Estonia
The international publicity that accompanies this event and includes TV broadcasts to more than 50 countries will be a great opportunity to advertise Tallinn as next year's European Capital of Culture, believes Peeter Rebane who is also a developer of the

Solaris Centre in the middle of Tallinn and home to the grand concert hall where the show will be staged. Tiina Lokk adds that the choice of Tallinn as host of the Film Academy event is very important since it makes Estonia distinctive among the large number of culture capitals. "Such extensive international media publicity simply cannot be bought. For the budget of the whole event, Tallinn could not advertise the culture capital in foreign media since larger international TV channels charge tens of millions of kroons even for medium-sized campaigns," noted Lokk, adding that it may also be the first time that the event is broadcast to America. "This is our chance to promote Estonia and to let the European culture community know that Tallinn will be the European Capital of Culture 2011," she added.

According to producers, in many ways the award ceremony that will be held in Tallinn will be an Estonian party, both in terms of artistic production and by its essence. "It will be a huge event, especially for the Estonian film and culture people,
because for them it will be a wonderful opportunity to expand their contact network. After all, the primary function of the film awards is to bring together the professionals and let them get acquainted," says Tiina Lokk, adding that the this will also be a chance to introduce Baltic film to the decision-makers of the European film industry. Namely, a large number of foreign guests will be arriving early especially for the Black Market, a special event dedicated to the Baltic film that is organized in the framework of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. "Since we have invited to this year's festival also industry executives from countries outside Europe such as Japan, Russia and USA, they will for the first time have the opportunity to attend this
otherwise closed event," noted Lokk.