On Saturday, December 9, the Estonian documentary Smoke Sauna Sisterhood won the prestigious European Film Academy (EFA) award for Best Documentary. It is the first Estonian documentary to win an EFA award.
The film is the successful debut of director Anna Hints. It tells the story of women who share the joys and sorrows of their lives in a traditional smoke sauna in South Võrumaa. The documentary is an intimate description of women who have experienced subjugation, violence, and body dysmorphia. In a dark sauna, they can open up about the most difficult and personal things, but also wash them clean and rediscover their own strength.
The director did not give a traditional speech on stage, but sang together with the audience. “I didn’t do this alone, because you don’t make movies alone. That’s why we all sing together”, said Anna Hints, while visibly happy on stage.
The documentary has already won 12 domestic and international awards . Smoke Sauna Sisterhood will also represent Estonia at this year’s Oscar’s in the category of best international documentary film.