Black Nights Stars

Black Nights Stars is a program launched by the Black Nights Film Festival in 2017. It is designed to help young actors from the Baltic Sea region—Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland—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 for their future international careers.


The event is inspired by the European Shooting Stars program 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 the public.

Black Nights Stars 2024

Call for participants

If you are interested in taking part of Black Nights Stars 2024 programme, now is your chance!
During the busy three-day program, you will meet with international casting directors, agents, producers, and directors and gain access to new skills during the Discovery Campus Program at the Black Nights Film Festival.


The call for submissions is open for actors and actresses from the Baltic Sea region countries until 15 May 2024!

An international jury will select 8 candidates from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Poland. If you are one of them, the festival will invite you to come to Tallinn, Estonia, from November 18 to 22, 2024. The festival will pay for your accreditation and hotel nights. You must cover your own transport to Tallinn and back.


Black Nights Stars 2023

Black Nights Stars, taking place for the 7th time already, is part of Discovery Campus, an international continuing education programme organized by Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event and the lack Nights Film Festival.

The international jury selected the eight young talents from the Baltic Sea Region, consisting of Casting Directors and members of the International Casting Directors Association: Cassandra Han from Germany, Tanja Grunwald from Denmark, 3-time Emmy nominee Frank Moiselle from the UK/Ireland, and Kristina Kolytė, from Lithuania. The jury also included Talent Agent Malou T. Schultzberg, from Sweden; Oscar-nominated Director Tanel Toom, from Estonia; and Philippe Ros, a Cinematographer from France. Read more on the jury

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Black Nights Stars 2023. From top left: Karmel Naudre, Maris Nõlvak, Tuulia Eloranta, Karolina Rezpa, Langston Uibel, Balder Ljunggren, Saulius Ambrozaitis, Ritvars Logins.

The Black Nights Stars 2023 participants:

Saulius Ambrozaitis is a 25-year-old actor born and raised in Lithuania. Saulius graduated in acting from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Oskaras Koršunovas two years ago. He has performed professionally in theatre since 2020 and made his stage debut as "Iago" in Shakespeare's play Othello. During his years at the academy, he was involved in numerous short and feature films, such as Dance by Danielius Minkevičius. In 2021, Saulius got a role in a three-part TV docu-drama series, Royal Bastards: The Rise of the Tudors, directed by Julian Jones. This year, he landed his first leading role in the TV series Nest Dissembler ( Lizdų Ardytojas) by Raimundas Banionis, scheduled for release in late 2023 in Lithuania.

Tuulia Eloranta is a Finnish actress with an MA from the Theatre Academy of Helsinki. Already in her early years, she had a passion towards acting. She starred in several Finnish productions,e.g., Harvoin Tarjolla, dir. Veikko Aaltonen, Star Above, by Saara Cantell and Icky Rapper And The Bicycle Thief, by Mari Rantasila. At sixteen, she landed her first lead role in the feature film Devil's Bride by Saara Cantell. Her latest works include Romeo & Juliet at the theatre collective 00100 Ensemble, Agatha Christie's Murder Of The Oriental Express at the summer theatre of Suomenlinna, and the series Helsinki Syndrome and The Invincibles. In 2023, She played the female lead in the feature film Huijarit by Rike Jokela, which will have its premiere later this year. Tuulia is also a trained singer with a contemporary and ballet dancing background.

Balder Ljunggren is from Stockholm, Sweden. He has a storied background as a singer & dancer, performing at some of the biggest stages in Stockholm and on TV & radio. Only later, he found acting, making his debut at the Stockholm City Theatre in the play Diplomati (2014) at an early age. More recently, he played a role in the beloved Swedish crime TV drama Maria Wern, directed by Lisa Ohlin, and in Fartblinda by Jens Jonsson & Johan Lundin. His love of acting, especially film, has only deepened. Calder is studying filmmaking at HDK-Valand in Gothenburg under the tutelage of Ruben Östlund. Also, a significant part of the last four years has been spent assisting and collaborating with director John Skoog on his next film, Värn, featuring legendary French actor Denis Lavant.

Ritvars Logins is a 24-year-old actor from Riga, Latvia. He began acting at a young age, starting as a child actor. In his teenage years, Ritvars switched gears and honed his culinary skills, specializing in exploring and popularizing the Atlantic region's taste and hosting his radio cooking show. But Ritvars's passion for acting never left, and in 2018, he participated in a once-in-a-lifetime acting course helmed by Alvis Hermanis at the esteemed New Riga Theatre. In the first year as a professional actor in The New Riga Theatre, Ritvars received the Best New Actor award at the Latvian National Theatre Awards 2022 for his performance in The New Latvian Stories. He also earned a nomination for The Latvian National Film Award 2022 for Best Actor in a Leading Role in the mini-series Crime Solving For The Beginners. In 2022, Ritvars played the lead role in the short film Vacuum Cleaner Salesman, which was selected for the New Talents Live Action competition and had its premiere at PÖFF.

See the e-Talenta interview with Ritvars Logins

Karmel Naudre is an actress from Estonia. She studied acting at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Translation. Since graduating, Karmel has been engaged in various projects, from experimental mechanical machine building, wherein she actively interacted with these creations on stage, to participating in television series and short films. Among her recent projects, she portrayed the complex and layered character of Rose in William Mastrosimone's play Woolgatherers and femme fatale Marleen in the Viaplay TV series Shot Otto Mueller. Additionally, she had the opportunity to collaborate with Italian photographers and filmmakers to capture a love story filming in Sardegna.

Maris Nõlvak is from Estonia. At 15, she started studying at the Estonian Theater for Young Audiences drama studio. Her first role on the screen was in a supporting role in the TV series Here We Go Again by Estonian directors Andres Maimik and Rain Tolk. After this film, she was cast as the leading part in Andres and Katrin Maimik's film Cherry Tobacco ( 2014), which premiered at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. She continued her studies at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tartu, where she received the Panso Award. While she was still in drama school, she was invited to play Anya in the theatre production of The Cherry Orchard at Tallinn City Theatre, where she works today. Since finishing school, she has also participated in several TV series, such as Munavere, Dads and Messed Up by Rain Tolk and Andres Maimik. The last feature film she took part in was the trilogy of Melchior, The Apothecary, by Elmo Nüganen.

Karolina Rzepa grew up in the countryside near Warsaw, Poland and decided to become an actress at eighteen. She took professional acting training at the Aleksander Sewruk Acting Studio, at the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn and later continued studying at the National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow. She started working in minor roles in movies, television series, and student projects. In addition, Karolina performed in two of Jan Jakub Kolski's films, and 2020 Kolski invited her to work on his film, The Republic Of Children, in the lead role. After graduating, Karolina started working on the leading role in the series Dom Pod Dwoma Orłami (House of Two Eagles). Soon after, she played in The Green Glove Gang - a Netflix series directed by Tadeusz Śliwa, and Wojenne Dziewczyny, a television series produced by Filip Zylber. Karolina is awaiting the release of two premiers in 2023: a short film directed by Jules Sadowski, Comme Des Cowboys and Two Sisters - Łukasz Karwowski's movie. The film was shot in Ukraine during the war in August 2022 and is a Polish co-production with Ukraine.

Langston Uibel is a British-German actor who was born in South London and grew up in Berlin. Langston first became known for his role in the dramatic film Freistatt by Marc Brummund. He went on to star in various acclaimed projects including the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Netflix limited series Unorthodox directed by Maria Schrader, as well as Christian Alvart’s Netflix series Dogs Of Berlin and How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) by Arne Feldhusen. Langston currently stars in Christian Petzold’s Afire as Felix. The film premiered in competition at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear, Grand Jury Prize. In September, Langston made his professional stage debut in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream in the role of Demetrius at the Burgtheater in Vienna.


Check out the schedule of Black Nights Stars programme in 2023


Black Nights Stars 2022

The international jury has selected seven young talents from the Baltic Sea Region and one from Ukraine as a sign of support to the actors’ community in Ukraine including Aamu Milonoff (Finland), Karlis Arnolds Avots (Latvia), Daria Polunina (Ukraine), Albert Arthur Amiryan (Denmark), Farba Dieng (Germany), Lena Barbara Luhse (Estonia), Petras Šimonis (Lithuania) and Maarja Johanna Mägi (Estonia)


The jury who selected this year’s participants included Anja Dihrberg-Siebler (Casting director, member ICDN, Germany), Rie Hedegaard (Casting director, member ICDN, Denmark), Victor Jenkins (Casting director, member ICDN, UK) Alla Samoylenko (Casting director, member ICDN, Ukraine), Laura Munsterhjelm (Talent Agent, Finland and Sweden), Maie Rosmann (Producer, Estonia) and Mike Rosser (Journalist, Screen International, UK).

Meet the Black Nights Stars 2022

Aamu Milonoff from Finland began her acting career at a very young age, making her television debut in Matti Kinnunen’s Elamaa Suurempaa when she was only 12 years old. Since then, she has worked consistently across numerous TV & Film projects such as: Teppo Airaksinen’s dark comedy series Duke Of Sipoo; Juha Lankinen’s* The Happiest Hour Of The Wolf*; in Maanantai by Samuli Valkama; as Olivia in the drama Little Wing, and ‘Pinja’ in Stupid Young Heart - both by Selma Vilhunen.

She made her stage debut at The Finnish National Theatre in 2016 in a production of Richard III, directed by Jussi Nikkilä. Recently Aamu played the lead role of ‘Aliisa’ in Ulla Heikkila’s coming-of-age feature film Eden, which screened extensively on the international festival circuit. Last year, she shot another lead role in the Sundance Winning feature Girl Picture, by Alli Haapasalo. The film also competed in the Berlinale Generation 14plus -series. Aamu can also be seen in Netflix’s acclaimed Finnish crime & Nordic noir television series Deadwind which is directed by Rike Jokela; and also playing the role of ‘Sofia Talvitie’ in the crime series Pahan Väri, directed by Olli Ilpo Salonen.

Karlis Arnolds Avots from Latvia began his acting studies as a free-listener, as he was not accepted as a fully official student in a puppet actor course of Latvian Academy of Culture because of his unusual height (197 cm). But after 2 years of studies Karlis became the first one to sign a contract with a theatre and started working as a full-time actor, thus becoming the youngest theatre professional in Latvia. He continued his studies with Mikhail Gruzdov and Indra Roga, who have raised actors like Kseniya Rappoport. Currently Karlis is a part of Dailes Theatre main troupe, the biggest theatre in Latvia. He has received the Best Young Artist award for his roles as Razumikhin in Crime And Punishment by Dostoevsky and V in Lungs by D.McMillan. He started out in films by being casted for the leading role in Lovable, by Stanislavs Tokalovs, and two winters ago he worked on another leading role in a barricades time story January by Viesturs Kairiss, which had its world premiere in Tribeca International Film Festival. The collaboration with Kairiss continues also in Karlis next film, for which Karlis debutes also as a screenwriter.

Daria Polunina comes from the region of Kamianske in eastern Ukraine, a small industrial city. From a very young age Daria knew that acting was her only profession. She was accepted into the Kyiv National University of Theatre. After graduating, she was cast in a short film that was filmed in Poland, and her experience working on it prompted her to move there. In Warsaw, she started to build her career in earnest, whilst also acting in Ukrainian projects: Foxter And Max, a feature film by Anatoliy Mateshko; Hide and Seek, a TV serial by Irina Gromozda from Ukraine; Daria played in various short films such as The Way Home by Dimitry Avdieiev and Sashka by Katarzyna Lesisz; Recent productions Daria has been working on are: Pogrom 1905 , TV serial by Michał Rogalski for Akson Studio; The House Under Two Eagles, TV serial by Waldemar Krzystek for Telewizja Polska and The Girl And The Astronaut, by Bartek Prokopowicz for Netflix.

Albert Arthur Amiryan, was born and raised in Denmark. He has played the piano since childhood and is planning to release his first EP next year within the genre of contemporary classical music. He lives in Copenhagen with his partner and works as a carpenter and an actor. He has been performing in theatre since 2017 and landed his first leading role in 2020 in the movie Krudttønden (The Day We Died) directed by Ole Christian Madsen. He recently filmed a supporting role in season 3 of the TV series Forhøret (Face to Face) written and directed by Christoffer Boe, which is scheduled for release in late 2022.

Farba Dieng is a 28 year old actor, who was born in Lille, France. He is fluent in French but also in German because he spent his whole childhood and youth in France and Germany. Farba, who is an autodidact, regarding his acting skills, made his breakthrough performance playing the role „Babtou“ in the cine movie Toubab, directed by Florian Dietrich. For his performance in Toubab, Farba received the Bavarian Award (Bayrischer Filmpreis) for Best up-and-coming actor in 2021. Since then he appeared in exciting projects like the Netflix-series Skylines by Maximilian Erlenwein and Solen Yusef, the miniseries Breaking Even directed by Boris Kunz, the movie Cortex by Moritz Bleibtreu and Wolke Unterm Dach by Alain Gsponer. He was recently on the set of the new TV-series The Net. This exciting project is composed of three different series, shot in Germany, Austria and Italy.

Lena Barbara Luhse had her training at the Drama School of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre but also has a degree in Art History from University of Brighton. Since 2020 she has worked at Vanemuine Theatre and has seven roles in the repertoire. In 2021 Vanemuine acknowledged her with the Colleague of the Year Award. Some of her most recent roles at Vanemuine include Olga in Fortune’s Fool (Ivan Turgenev) and Sister Rosa in All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar). In 2021 she was cast in a Russian speaking role in Kill The Child, a horror film by the American director Lee Roy Kunz. In the Estonian feature film Stairway To Heaven by Mart Kivastik she plays Ülle – a rebellious art student from 1970s. She was also a recurring character Estrid in the Estonian TV series *Salme Vikings" by Liis Lindmaa.

Petras Šimonis graduated from the Lithuanian music and theatre academy a few years ago, but has been acting since he was a child. His whole life, every activity he was involved with had some connection to the arts. He wrote a few plays himself; of which one was staged a few years back. During his student years, he actively got involved with the film industry, and since then he has been acting in many short films, feature films, a BBC documentary, music videos, commercials, and modelling. Not to mention theatre productions which he loves and with whom he has travelled throughout Europe. As an artist, he seeks to explore both the creativity and versatility of his craft, as well as various acting tools to improve his work. This summer he finished Prague intensive film acting and he also started the Master’s degree where he is going to deep dive into a character’s creation processes. His most notable work in the film The Flood Won’t Come received several nominations including the one at the Venice Film Festival. As a theatre actor, he won a “Young European theatre” competition in Spoleto, Italy, and the Dalia Tamulevičiūtė competition prize this year.

Maarja Johanna Mägi was born in Tartu, Estonia. She studied acting at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and made her film debut as the female lead in Elmo Nüganen's movie trilogy Melchior The Apothecary (2022). She will also play in the upcoming film The Blemished Brides by Ergo Kuld. During her acting studies she received the Voldemar Panso Award for her remarkable work at the Drama School. Since graduating she has been working in Theatre Vanemuine where she has played in 11 different shows. In 2021 she received an award for being the most occupied actor in Vanemuine. Her more noticeable theatre works include Little Prince in The Little Prince by Elmo Nüganen, Ilona in The Women Of Niskavuori by Tiit Palu and Ursula-Marie in Nothing by Johan Elm.

Supporters of Black Nights Stars 2022