The Estonian family adventure film, “Phantom Owl Forest”, won the European Children’s Film Award at the Schlingel International Film Festival in Chemnitz, Germany; in addition, Paula Rits, the leading actress in the movie, won the “Best Child Actor” award.
“Phantom Owl Forest”, directed and written by Anu Aun, talks about ten-year-old girl Eia whose Christmas plans take an unexpected turn, when the city girl is brought to a mysterious southern Estonian farm for the winter holiday. There, she will discover the beauty of nature and wildlife, help rescue a primeval forest inhabited by mysterious owls and unwrap her family’s well-kept secret.
The jury of the film festival said in a statement that this story was “captivating from the very start”. “We were happy to be enchanted and kidnapped to a beautiful winter wonderland. Unique images of endangered animals once again showed us the importance of nature’s protection. We learned how valuable it is to spend time with your family and how important it is to communicate about all possible problems. Because only together we are strong!” the jury said.
On commenting the Best Child Actor award for Paula Rits – playing Eia in the film – the jury said her performance was “realistic and very convincing”. “We could easily identify with the character’s situation and felt with her. She never gave up on her final goal, bringing her beloved ones back together. Through her strong will, she managed to save not only her family, but also the common habitat of humans and animals.”
“Phantom Owl Forest” was produced as part of the Estonia 100 film programme – on the occasion of the country’s centennial – and premiered domestically in December 2018.
Established in 1996, Schlingel is an annual international film festival for children and young audiences. Taking place in Chemnitz, a city in Saxony, eastern Germany, the festival gives an overview of the newest international productions in the area of children and youth films.
Cover: A screenshot from “Phantom Owl Forest”.