Young Tallints Critics Workshop

Young Tallints is a programme organised by the Black Nights Film Festival that give three young journalists in the Baltic countries the chance to learn more about negotiating the complex world of modern film writing and working their way around an A-List film festival. Participants are given the opportunity to attend the festival and write reviews, interviews and news stories every day in order to hone their skills and enrich their understanding of film criticism and journalism.
Mentored by Laurence Boyce – an award winning journalist who contributes to a number of publications including Sight & Sound and Screen International – the Young Tallints is a unique opportunity for new talents to shine through in the world of film criticism and journalism.


The 2017 Young Tallints are:

Nele Volbrück (Estonia)

I am a freelance writer and culture enthusiast with a background in journalism and communications. Besides my day job as an administrative assistant in a creative institution, I often find myself on the managing side of things, like organising a nationwide concert programme, running social media accounts and so on.

Writing has been a constant in my life ever since I remember, but I am continuously inspired by fine art, literature, music and – a no-brainer -- cinema. Film writing is a fantastic vehicle that allows me to navigate these stimulating waters.

I am relatively green in the industry and don’t really consider myself a hardass film buff. That being said, I do have a passion for it. I watch films open-mindedly, unburdened by prejudice, ready to take on the experience. As this grants me the warm safety of my own naiveté, which might not always work out for the best, it also keeps me curious.

Film is a complex array of artistry I have a tremendous amount of respect for. Films fascinate me, as they are terrific educators about the world, different people and point of views and not only through the stories told, but the ways the directors have chosen to tell them. For the creators, there are literally endless decisions to consider. The story, the actors, the sounds, the visuals – every detail has its impact.

Watching films is like trying your luck on a wheel of fortune and one’s salty disappointment might just be other’s jackpot. And that is what enchants me! There are so many impulses one can get from a motion picture and I see writing about films, starting a dialogue with them as a crystallisation of that. I believe as a stand-alone piece of work, a film review can be art in itself.

Aivars Madris (Latvia)

I am from Liepāja, a coastal town in the far west of Latvia, but I have lived in Riga since 2006. I am currently working in Literature and Music Museum as a curator and I also continue to work as a freelance translator.

Since high school I have had equally deep interests in literature and film, but ultimately decided to study literature. In 2010 I started to write book reviews for a Latvian literarature magazine, and when I had gained a little confidence in this area, a few years later I decided to write my first film review about global politics in blockbuster film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and to my surprise it got published. Since then I write about literature and films as a freelance reviewer for various online based media.

Since I don’t have a professional degree in film criticism, I wouldn’t dare to call myself a “critic”, but I try to complement my knowledge by reading lots of film reviews, film theory and also by watching films, which is still the best way to get insight in this field. I have a little ambition in filmmaking as well. In my reviews I usually tend to explore films in historical, social or other contexts, especially if the film itself is not too good. I don’t think that my goal will every be to work as a staff reviewer, because right now I have more freedom to pursue my other interests, but writing reviews is a an exciting way to keep my mind sharp, and it is always a challenge for me. And I like challenges.

Aiste Racaityte (Lithuania)

I came to film world through studies — I did my first degree in Film Studies and second in Film Curating and I continue working towards those two directions: I am writing for film quarterly in Lithuania and work in film curating, programming and distribution fields. At the moment I am a programmer in Vilnius IFF, where I also handle distribution acquisitions. I am interested in audiences and different curatorial practices.

I have curated one retrospective in Vilnius CAC and looking forward to new opportunities. I have had a great pleasure to work in programming department of British Film Institute in the past and have some film teaching experience too. I usually write festival reports and medium length film reviews but I have never done that on daily basis, therefore I am neither fast nor efficient in writing. However, this is something I would like to challenge and learn. For me writing is a way to think about films and a way to connect with the audiences. Whether I succeed or not, through my writing I try to bring extra value to the film experience.