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12 films to compete in Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival’s Baltic Competition


Tallinn Black Nights FF Opening Ceremony 2020. Photo by Aron Urb

Showcasing the best and freshest cinematic output of the three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – the Baltic Competition of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) will screen 12 films, including 5 world premieres this year: 3 from Estonia and 1 each from Latvia and Lithuania. 5 Estonian films feature in total, with another 4 from Lithuania and 3 from Latvia: some festival darlings, a couple of strong debuts and a healthy dose of intriguing documentaries.

Baltic Competition - Estonian Films

The Diary of Vaino Vahingu / Vaino Vahingu päevaraamat
Rainer Sarne’s world-premiering documentary finds fertile material in the 16 years worth of daily journals left behind by controversial writer and psychologist Vaino Vahingu: a life lived on the borderline of art and suffering.

The Best of Salieri /  The Best of Salieri, ehk mina, eesti režissöör
Also world premiering at PÖFF25, Manfred Vainokivi’s documentary manifesto takes aim at fame, ego, film festivals and classical composers: sometimes through a megaphone, sometimes from the comfort of a bathtub.

Uku Kuut's musical and personal journey is the focus of Ivar Murd’s u.Q.: an underground creative explosion, told through 8mm, VHS and BETA tape. u.Q. is also a world premiere in Tallinn this year.

Tell Me
Telling last year’s Corona virus story through a stream of anonymous voicemail messages set to film, Tell Me’s lead director and concept originator is Estonia’s Marta Pulk, working together with filmmakers around the world. The film premieres in Jihlava this year.

Sandra Gets a Job
Kaupo Kruusiauk’s tragi-comic Sandra Gets a Job, finds somewhat-serious scientist Sandra bumping up against an increasingly challenging array of potential new employers.

Baltic Competition - Lithuanian Films

Pilgrims / Pilgrimai 

Laurynas Bareiša’s debut drama won Venice’s Orizzonti side competition this year. Indre and Paulius revisit a terrible personal tragedy, on a road trip of shared trauma.

Cinephilia / Sinefilija

Algimantas Puipa's satirical comedy premiered in competition in Warsaw. It stitches together 9 stories, swaying between fantasy and reality, but all orbiting the truths and illusions of filmmaking.

Runner / Bėgikė 

Maria runs at full speed - after her boyfriend, toward freedom - through Andrius Blaževičius’s second, frantic and kinetic feature. Runner premiered in Karlovy Vary's side competition “East of the West” this summer.

The Generation of Evil

Uncovered secrets, dirty politics and a good bit of murder drive forward Emilis Vėlyvis’ The Generation of Evil. The film has its world premiere at PÖFF25.


Baltic Competition - Latvian films

The Year Before the War / Gads Pirms Kara

Peter Mahder gets himself in the strangest situations while traveling through Europe in 1913, meeting Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky, Freud and other historical figures. The Year Before The War is nominated for 11 Latvian film awards, after premiering in Rotterdam.

Homes / Mājas

Laila Pakalnina's documentary takes up a humorous new perspective on the everyday lives of Latvians, framed through the windows of their own Homes.


Uģis Olte’s debut feature is the final world premiere in PÖFF's Baltic Competition this year. An unadventurous adventure guide gets lost in mystic Latvian countryside, searching for his tour party and himself.


Baltic Competition

The Diary of Vaino Vahing / Vaino Vahingu päevaraamat
 (2021, Estonia, Director: Rainer Sarnet) | World premiere

The Best of Salieri / The Best of Salieri, ehk mina, eesti režissöör (2021, Estonia, Director: Manfred Vainokivi) | World premiere

u.Q. (2021, Estonia, Director: Ivar Murd) | World premiere

Tell Me (2021, Estonia/UK/France/USA/Canada/Germany/Colombia/Brazil/Argentina/Kosovo/Jordan/Peru/Turkey, Directors: Marta Pulk, Rodrigo Baptista, Agustin Barrutia, Sebastian López Borda, Rupert Clague, João Carlos Couto, Tom Hamburger, Quentin Lazzarotto, Cesar Malaga, Tanya Marar, Ashley Mosher, Sonja Ortiz, Brett Pedersen, Fermin Pedros, Pablo Radice, Norika Sefa, Wei Shen, Gerónimo Tanoira, Natu Trcina, Lucia Valdemoros & Kevin Zayat) | Estonian premiere

Sandra Gets a Job (2021, Estonia, Director: Kaupo Kruusiauk)

Pilgrims / Pilgrimai (2021, Lithuania, Director: Laurynas Bareiša) | Estonian premiere

Cinephilia / Sinefilija (2021, Lithuania, Director: Algimantas Puipa) | Estonian premiere

Runner / Bėgikė (2021, Lithuania/Czech Republic, Director: Andrius Blaževičius) | Estonian premiere

The Generation of Evil (2021, Lithuania, Director: Emilis Vėlyvis) | World premiere

The Year Before the War / Gads Pirms Kara (2021, Latvia/Lithuania/Czech Republic, Director: Dāvis Sīmanis) | Estonian premiere

Homes / Mājas (2021, Latvia, Director: Laila Pakalnina) | Estonian premiere

Upurga (2021, Latvia, Director: Uģis Olte) | World premiere

Film stills and press materials for the Baltic Competition programme


Our hashtags:
#talllinnblacknightsff #PÖFF25 



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About Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival

Started in 1997, the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival has grown into one of the biggest film festivals in Northern Europe and busiest regional industry platforms, hosting more than 1000 guests and industry delegates and over 160 journalists. The festival screens around 250 features and more than 300 shorts and animations and sees an attendance of 80 000 people annually. In 2017 the festival was covered in 71 languages with a potential global media audience of over 1.1 billion people.

As of 2014 the festival holds the FIAPF accreditation for holding an international competition programme which puts the festival into the so- called A-category of film festivals, alongside other 14 festivals in the world (including Cannes, Berlinale, Venice, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastian, Shanghai, Tokyo etc).  

Black Nights has an umbrella structure with two sub-festivals PÖFF Shorts and youth and children's film festival Just Film taking place concurrently with the main festival,
two off-season festivals - Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival and Tartu Love Film Festival - and a fully-fledged film industry platform Industry@Tallinn, organised jointly with the Baltic Event Co-production market.

Black Nights Film Festival 16 Nov - 2 Dec
PÖFF Shorts 20 Nov - 25 Nov
Just Film 16 Nov - 2 Dec
Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event 26 Nov - 30 Nov



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