The 36th European Film Awards (EFAs) were held in Berlin Saturday, where the Estonian film “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,” written and directed by Anna Hints, won best documentary.
Taking the stage to accept the award, Hints said that instead of giving an acceptance speech, she was going to sing.
“And I’m not gonna do it alone, because you never make [films] alone [either] – together, only together,” she said, before encouraging the audience to join her team in a call-and-response runo-song in Võro and English.
This January saw the world premiere of “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” at the Sundance Film Festival, where Anna Hints won best director in the World Cinema Documentary category.
Since then, the Estonian documentary has been screened and nominated for various awards at film festivals around the world, from Copenhagen to Hong Kong, and won outstanding female-led feature film at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival in Canada and best documentary feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
The latest achievements are the Producers Guild of America’s nomination of “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” for the PGA AWARD for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Picture and the film’s Cinematographer Ants Tammik’s win of the International Documentary Association’s Best Cinematography Award!
“Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” and director Anna Hints were also featured in Vogue magazine. “The film is so beautifully shot that many frames could almost be moody portraits from the Dutch Masters. But these women aren’t models. The women in the film, many of whom grew up in the sauna tradition, are not free from shame, despair, or sexual insecurity or protected from sexual assault, cancer, or old age. But within their communal sauna, they find a place to share and receive the pain of their sisters in a way that lightens and connects them,” writes Julia Berick in the article “Can a Trip to the Sauna Change Your Soul?”
“Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” is Estonia’s pick for the 2024 Oscars and is up for consideration in both the international film and documentary categories.