Black Nights Stars is a program launched by the Black Nights Film Festival in 2017, designed to help young actors from the Baltic Sea region - Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia - to gain international visibility and promote themselves inside and outside their home territories. The program facilitates connections with international film professionals and training in practical skills needed in their future international career.
The event is inspired by the European Shooting Stars programme organised by European Film Promotion since 1998. European Shooting Stars takes place annually at the Berlin International Film Festival and introduces the ten best up-and-coming acting talents from throughout Europe to industry, press and public.
For 2021 edition of Black Nights Strs programme, the international jury selected eight young actors based on their first feature film and TV roles to take part in the programme. The Black Nights Stars 2021 are: Miika Pihlak (Estonia), Sandra Guldberg Kampp (Denmark), Jan Hrynkiewicz (Poland), Doris Tislar (Estonia), Tua El-Fawwal (Germany), Viktoriya Miroshnichenko (Russia), Elias Westerberg (Finland) and Kristina Morta Paškevičiūtė (Lithuania).
The Black Nights Stars in 2021: Sandra Guldberg Kampp, Viktoriya Miroshnichenko, Tua El-Fawwal, Miika Pihlak, Elias Westerberg, Kristina Morta Paškevičiūtė, Doris Tislar and Jan Hrynkiewicz.
The selected stars will meet with each other and also the mentors and casting directors at the Black Nights Stars during Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, part of the 25th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). During the four days, the actors will have meetings with international casting directors and talent agents, and participate in various workshops and panels, all designed to enrich them with new skills, contacts and information that can give them access to new opportunities in their careers.
The 2021 Black Nights Stars international jury consisted of Tusse Lande, (casting director, Sweden), Piotr Bartuszek, (casting director, Poland), Mike Rosser (Screen International, UK), Raakel Huikuri (talent agent, Finland), Georg Georgi (talent agent, Germany) and Anu Aun (film director, Estonia).
Miika Pihlak (Estonia). He graduated recently from Theatre Studies at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy. Since early childhood, he has been interested in cinema, theatre, and acting. As an artist, he seeks the everyday tragedies of modern society in his works - moments and situations that we all can relate to. In addition to acting, Miika also works as a dancer and choreographer. As a dancer and choreographer, he likes to push the limits of one’s abilities and strangeness. He played in the feature film Kids of the Night by Priit Pääsuke, the short films Marta by German Golub and Nokturn by Victor Marvinand. Miika played the role of Sergo Stepnaov in the TV Series Estonian Crime Stories by Rain Tolk and in the TV Series Still Waters by Hindrek Maasik he played the lead role of Joonas .
Sandra Guldberg Kampp was born in Denmark. Having attended youth theatre, she successfully landed the leading role in the feature film Wildland, which was directed by Jeanette Nordahl, and was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Sandra’s superb central performance as teenage orphan Ida garnered her significant critical acclaim, including from Variety, which referred to her as a “simmering presence”. She was nominated for a Bodil Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the film. Sandra played the role of Mathilde in the third and final season of the Netflix drama The Rain. She recently filmed the Danish series Phantom Feelings. At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Sandra performed in two short films, the Danish film Inherent at the International Critic's Week; and In The Soil, which was in competition for the Short Film Palme d'Or.
Jan Hrynkiewicz was born in Warsaw, Poland. He grew up in a family of musicians. Back in 2013, he graduated from Music School in a guitar class but decided to become an actor. In 2015 he got into the National Polish Film School in Łódź. During his studies, he starred in over 20 short films from students from the directing department. He has recently appeared in numerous TV series and feature films. It is worth mentioning his extremely distinctive role in Academy®'s nominated film Corpus Christi directed by Jan Komasa. He appeared as a lead actor in the series Frieden/Labyrint of Peace by Mike Schaerer - the biggest Swiss TV production of the last years. Jan played the role of charismatic Hershel - a boy who survived a nightmare of a concentration camp. This was a breakthrough in his career.
In the last theatre season, he created the main character in the musical Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Krzysztof Materna. In November 2020, he decided to move to Iceland, where he works as a horse-riding instructor while preparing for the main role in a new feature film.
Doris Tislar is an Estonian actress. She played her first supporting role at the age of 14, in a feature film I Was Here by Rene Vilbre, which won the best film award in DetectiveFEST in Russia in 2009. She played a lead role in the Estonian thriller TV-series Süvahavva by Rasmus Merivoo and Gerda Kordemets in 2012-2014.
After high-school she moved to Sweden to study physical theatre. After three years she moved to London to continue her professional training amongst others with acting coach Yorgos Karamalegos at PhysicalLab. Her recent works include a supporting role as Linda Ahven in the historical spy thriller Dawn of War by Margus Paju - co-produced with Finland and Latvia. In 2020 Doris played one of the leading roles as Eva in a TV series Yours. Mine. Ours, which was nominated for Best TV series in the Estonian Film and TV Awards 2021. Since 2018 Doris has been working at the Estonian Theater for Young Audiences where she has played several leading roles and has over 8 productions in the theatre's repertoire. Her most recent work in theatre was In The Other Room, a play about domestic violence based on true stories, where she plays three different roles. Her latest premiere was Rhinoceros by Eugène Ionesco, where she plays Daisy.
Tua El-Fawwal is a Berlin-based actress who was born in Egypt in 1998 and has lived in Germany since childhood. After graduating from high school, she participated in the casting of the Norwegian series adaptation Skam, Druck and was convinced in the role of "Amira", for which she won the German Acting Award for Best Young Actress in 2020 as the first woman wearing a hijab. In her speech, she described her experiences as the first headscarf-wearing actress and criticized a lack of diversity in the German film and television industry. Tua appeared in a total of four seasons of the internationally successful format and took the lead role in the fourth season. She also appeared in the cinema productions Kokon (2018) and Nasser Hund (2019). She starred in ZDF's satirical annual review 2020. In 2021, she took on the lead role of Najla in the radio plays Europe Calling and the role of police officer Feride in Blackout. In addition to her experience in front of the camera, in 2020 she was on stage at the Kölner Philharmonie, in Liebe Wagt as the lead role of Julia.
Viktoriya Miroshnichenko was born in Siberia, Russia. After school, she moved to Moscow for studying there as an actress at the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts, GITIS. Viktoriya made her debut in The White List by Alisa Khazanova, but with Beanpole by Kantemir Balagov, which premiered in Un Certain Regard 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival, she had her breakthrough. Viktoriya was nominated Best Actress at the European Film Awards, and won Best Actress award at the Torino Film Festival, Golden Eagle (Russia) and many others. She has played at the Moscow Theatre of Nations in Moscow in The Tale of the Last Angel by Roman Mikhailov; Decamerone by Kirill Serebrennikov and in Left-handed Man by Maksim Didenko, where she will play two roles as the Russian empress Elizaveta Alekseevna and as the flower.
Elias Westerberg from Finland, made his breakthrough performance playing the lead in the Award- Winning TV-series Mental, directed by Teemu Nikki. Westerberg’s first international film appearance was in Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope, and he has since then worked consistently in numerous film and TV projects, including Nimby by Teemu Nikki, Aktivistit by Lauri Maijala and Bad Apples by Marja Pyykkö. Currently, Elias is filming the tv-series Man Who Died - a high-profile crime series based on the bestselling book of the same title by Antti Tuomainen. The show will premiere in the fall of 2022.
Kristina Morta Paškevičiūtė is a young actress from Užupis in Vilnius, Lithuania, where she grew up surrounded by artists, painters, sculptors and farm animals. From a very young age, she knew she wanted to become an actress. She just finished her bachelor’s degree in acting and had to concentrate one hundred per cent on her studies but she has been acting already in several series, and short and feature subway movies. Kristina has worked with such directors as Oskaras Koršunovas, Robert Wilson, Hans Jornlind, Aron Levander, Mykolas Vildžiūnas in both cinema and theatre. Her recently created roles in cinema, Ugnė The Bad Girl by Mykolas Vildžiūnas, The Truth Will Out by Hans Jornlind, and Porneia by Gantas Bendikas.
Starting from 2021 Black NIghts Stars has established tight co-operation with International Casting Directors Network (ICDN)
The first steps toward the creation of the International Casting Directors Network began in Cologne in 1994, when Dieter Kosslick invited international casting directors Debbie McWilliams (UK), Camilla Valentine Isola (ES) and Beatrice Kruger (IT) to the Media Forum to speak about casting. It took years to establish the sole international association of casting directors, the ICDN.
The ICDN established The Best Casting Award in 2016 and has continued to recognize outstanding achievements in casting every year since. As of 2020, this award has been named The Semiramis Award for Best Casting. The ICDN's purpose in creating this award is to shine the light on the pivotal role that casting directors play in the creative process of filmmaking.
Read more about the Semiramis Award for Best Casting in 2021
The BNS program took place over 4 days and consisted of a professional photoshoot, workshops by leading international casting directors and acting coaches on how to present themselves in various circumstances, such as auditions and casting meetings on and offline, what kind of promotional material is required, information on online casting platforms, meetings with the press, various panels on current industry topics and one-on-one meetings with selected international casting experts.
At the same time, this programme is intended to expose the young talents to the industry professionals who have been invited to attend the various programs at Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event. The programme aims to create an organic international meeting platform for all the attending creative professionals, such as directors, producers and casting experts, where their knowledge and skills will influence each other and where they will ultimately work together on future projects.
In addition to the events organised for the selected young actors the Black Nights Stars programme also includes public events accessible to everyone with Industry@Tallinn&Baltic Event accreditation.
13:30-15:30 Black Nights Stars photoshoot (closed)
18:00-20:00 Talk with casting director Lina Todd and her colleagues in LA and NY; casting director Billy Hopkins, casting director Joseph Middleton, talent agent Cynthia Campos-Greenberg and Avy Kaufman, manager. Q&A*
10:00-12:00 Black Nights Stars 1:1 meetings (closed)
13:00-15:00 Black Nights Stars 1:1 meetings, 2nd round (closed)
16:00-18:00 Introduction of the 8 Black Nights Stars and panel discussion on the situation for actors in the Baltic region with regard to the streamers and other international productions coming to shoot in the region*
18:30-20:00 Opening Exhibition “Voices of Violence” at Solaris (Estonia pst 9) (open event)
20:00 - ... Black Nights Award Night (closed)
9:30-11:30 Meetup: 8 Black Nights Stars + 6 EFA Discovery Nominees (closed event)
13:00-15:00 Estonian actors meetup with international Casting Directors. (closed)
15:30-17:00 Panel discussion: All you ever wanted to know about casting, auditioning, the do's and don'ts (open event)*
17:00-18:00 Case Study. Casting director Timka Grin in conversation with casting director Tusse Lande*
9:30-11:00 The value of working with a Casting Director. Casting Directors meet with writers, directors and producers of the 5 Script Pool projects and the 6 EFA Discovery Award Nomination directors
*The event is accessible to accredited guests at industry.poff.ee
The time zone for the schedule is Eastern European Time (EET).