Black Nights Stars 2022

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 Ukraine - 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 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, the press, and the public.

Black Nights Stars 2022

Seven wonderful young talents from the Baltic Sea Region and one beautiful talent from Ukraine, as a sign of support to the actors’ community in Ukraine, have been selected by the esteemed jury members Anja Dihrberg-Siebler (Casting director, member ICDN, Germany); Rie Hedegaard (Casting director, member ICDN, Denmark); Victor Jenkins (Casting director, member ICDN, UK); Alla Samolyenko (Casting director, member ICDN, Ukraine); Laura Munsterhjelm (Talent Agent, Finland, and Sweden); Maie Rosmann (Producer, Estonia), and Mike Rosser (Journalist, Screen International, UK).

Black Nights Stars 2022

The Black Nights Stars 2022 jury: Anja Dihrberg-Siebler, Laura Munsterhjelm, Rie Hedegaard, Alla Samoilenko, Maie Rosmann, Michael Rosser, Victor Jenkins.

The 2022 Black Nights Stars program involves a number of internationally recognised experts, such as members of the International Casting Directors Network, ICDN: Jantsu Puumalainen from Finland, Maria Kiisk from Sweden, Kristina Kolythe from Lithuania, and Talent Agents Raakel Huikuri from Finland, Malou Schultzberg from Sweden, and Robin Hudson from the United Kingdom.

​​The selected stars will meet each other, the mentors, international casting directors, and talent agents at the Black Nights Stars during Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, part of the 26th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF). During the three-day program, 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 Black Nights Stars 2022 are 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).

BNS Stars 2022

The Black Nights Stars in 2022: Albert Arthur Amiryan, Lena Barbara Luhse, Karlis Arnolds Avots, Maarja Johanna Mägi, Petras Šimonis, Daria Polunina, Farba Dieng, Aamu Milonoff.

Program 2022

Sunday, 20 November

15:00– 19:00 Black Nights Stars 1-on-1 meetings with the agents and casting directors.
@Metropol Spa Hotel - Nomad Resto

19:00– 22:00 Welcome dinner
@Metropol Spa Hotel - Nomad Resto

Monday, 21 November

11:30– 13:00 Black Nights Stars meeting First Directors.
@Nordic Hotel Forum

An informal meeting where first-time directors talk about their experience and work with actors.

11:30–13:30 Local actors meet with agents and casting directors.
@Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel

15:30– 17:30 A discussion panel “Everything you always wanted to ask a casting director and agent”*
@Nordic Hotel Forum

Conversations with Claudia Landsberger, Anja Dirhberg, Rie Hedegaard, Alla Samoyleno, Laura Munsterhjelm, and Jantsu Puumalainen about:

This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

20:00– 22:00 Black Nights Stars and guests attend the Monica screening.*
@Coca-Cola Plaza

Tuesday, 22 November

9:30– 11:00 Fireside chat: Black Nights Stars casting agents and directors meet to talk about their work and experiences.

Moderated by Claudia Landsberger.
@Nordic Hotel Forum

11:30–13:30 Local actors meet with agents and casting directors.
@Tallink Spa & Conference Hotel

14:00– 15:30 Selfcast Platform Presentation.*
@Nordic Hotel Forum

Maria Christina Riel Jarltof (Denmark), Mads Korsgaard (Denmark), and Karina Leps (Estonia) from Selfcast will introduce the casting platform and how to use it.
Moderated by Claudia Landsberger.

​​This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

20:00– 23:00 Black Nights Stars Award Ceremony and Bonnie screening.*
@Coca-Cola Plaza

Claudia Landsberger will introduce the stars and selected jury members will hand over the awards.

Wednesday, 23 November // Nordic Hotel Forum

10:00– 11:30 Masterclass with Andrea Pallaoro, director of Monica and the producer Eleonora Granata: “How a European director carved out a niche for himself in America?”*
Moderated by Claudia Landsberger.

​​This panel will also be broadcasted via web stream!

*The event is accessible to accredited guests of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event at
The time zone for the schedule is Eastern European Time (EET).

Meet the Black Nights Stars of 2022

Aamu Milonoff

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; Maanantai by Samuli Valkama; 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

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 at the 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's 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 cast 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

Daria Polunina comes from the region of Kamianske in eastern Ukraine, a small industrial city. After graduating from the Kyiv National University of Theatre, 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, a TV serial by Michał Rogalski for Akson Studio; The House Under Two Eagles, a TV serial by Waldemar Krzystek for Telewizja Polska, and The Girl And The Astronaut, by Bartek Prokopowicz for Netflix.

Albert Arthur Amiryan

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 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

Farba Dieng is a 28-year-old actor, who was born in Lille, France. 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.

Lena Barbara Luhse

Lena Barbara Luhse had her training at the Drama School of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre but also has a degree in Art History from the 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 the 1970s. She was also a recurring character Estrid in the Estonian TV series Salme Vikings by Liis Lindmaa.

Petras Šimonis

Petras Šimonis graduated from the Lithuanian music and theatre academy a few years ago but has been acting since he was a child. 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 modeling.

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 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

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.

Meet the Casting Directors and Talent Agents

Jantsu Puumalainen
Jantsu Puumalainen

Jantsu Puumalainen (Finland) is a member of ICDN, looking for co-casting directors, producers, directors, agents, and actors to work with. Some recent works include working as the main Casting Director in Estonia, a Scandinavian limited series about Europe’s deadliest civil maritime disaster, and the English language feature film What Remains directed by Ran Huang. Among all the other productions including Finnish upcoming queer teenage miniseries, which was cast with 8 young transgender and nonbinary actors for the leading parts.

Robin Hudson
Robin Hudson

Robin Hudson (United Kingdom) is an agent at leading London-based talent agency Olivia Bell Management, based in Soho, the traditional heart of the UK film industry. They represent a wide range of clients across film, television, and theatre.
As well as having a list of UK-based actors, the company is also a specialist in representing actors overseas & has successfully booked clients throughout the world, ranging from Europe all the way to North America.
Since working at Olivia Bell Management in 2012, Robin has carefully built a list that is highly respected in the UK and in Europe, and with a strong interest in the European film scene, he is also a member of the European Film Academy.

Raakel Korhola
Raakel Huikuri

Raakel Huikuri (Finland) is a Talent Agent who has a background in both casting and acting, having trained in London. She heads the Nordic branch of The Lisa Richards Agency - Lisa Richards Nordic. Raakel started acting at a very young age which led to a love of film, television, and theatre. Later Raakel discovered casting and worked as a freelance casting director for several years before moving across to working as an agent.
The Lisa Richards Agency is a multinational Talent Agency that has been at the heart of the arts and entertainment industry for over 30 years and represents some of the finest creative talents such as Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders, The Dark Knight) & Aidan Turner (The Hobbit).

Supporters of Black Nights Stars 2022

ind.BNS supporters