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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival adds twelve films to complete the lineup for the First Feature Competition


Representing countries from five continents, the festival adds eleven competition films to the previously announced seven, with six of them originating from European countries, two from Asia, two from the Americas and one from Africa.

Presented out of competition is the Spanish psychological thriller The Pact from director David Victori, who created the webseries Zero, after securing the patronage of Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender by winning a short film festival in 2012. The story follows a mother (played by Belén Rueda) who, desperate to save the life of her comatose daughter, agrees to take part in a dark pact.

Representing Europe in Competition
Spanish director Victor Cabaco introduces A March to Remember, a thriller set in the historic context of 1976, following a radio journalist and his family during the workers’ strike in a provincial capital that escalated into a bloody conflict with police forces.

Víctor Cabaco has worked as an assistant director on numerous short films, as well as on the full-length features Sabotage (1999) and Ouija (2003).

Inspired by the director’s personal experiences, As I Fall is the feature debut of Magnus Meyer Arnesen from Norway. The story follows a young heroin addict on his way to the bottom, when he’s suddenly reconnected with his eight-year-old son, giving him a new purpose in life.

Arnesen has travelled to festivals and won awards with his short film Sing me to Sleep. As I fall was shot by Estonian DOP Ivar Taim who won the Best Cinematography award last year in the Official Selection of Black Nights with The Manslayer / The Virgin / The Shadow.

Switzerland is represented by Cronofobia, directed by Francesco Rizzi, a psychological drama following a man with a suspended identity, trying to connect with a woman who is struggling with a complicated form of grief.

The film stars Vinicio Marchioni (20 Cigarettes) and Sabine Timoteo (Love, Money, Love; Chronicles of Melanie) who have won awards for acting at Venice IFF and Locarno IFF respectively.

The French production Head Above Water follows enthusiastic teenager Elisa, who is stranded living at her parents’ house after the sudden departure of her mother, a move that leaves Elisa and her father to take care of Elisa’s older sister, Manon, who has mental and physical disabilities.

Director Tatiana Margaux Bonhomme is a professional photographer and director whose short films have screened at festivals throughout Europe. The film stars Diane Rouxel (The Wild Boys) and Cedric Kahn, whose own film The Prayer won the Silver Bear at Berlinale this year.

Representing Armenia, Lorik is a portrait of a lonely, egocentric theatre actor, thrown into a fantastical series of events after hearing the news of the closure of his workplace. Unexpectedly, he finds himself plunged into the realities of people he knows: his drunkard neighbor, a shy and awkward young woman, a critically-ill girl - a process that starts to teach the cynical man the virtues of compassion and selflessness.

Director Alexey Zlobin has staged numerous theatre performances and worked as an actor on the screen. He has also worked as an assistant director for directors such as Aleksandr Sokurov and Sergey Bodrov.

The Ukrainian-Swiss co-production The Wild Fields is a stylised take on the eastern genre, set in the war-torn Donbass region. The 30-year-old Herman is forced to return from the city to take over his brother's gas station that the local mafia is interested in acquiring for their own business.

Director Yaroslav Lodygin’s short films have been extremely popular with web audiences and one of them, Drifter was screened at the Ukrainian Panorama at Berlinale in 2011.

Indian film Hello Arsi chronicles a day in the life of a young man and woman, strangers who have just met on a highway, sharing a car ride and a conversation that stretches on, as both of them hope to find something emotionally meaningful in the situation. It is a portrait of a society in flux, as the recent and rapid socioeconomic changes in India (and elsewhere) have changed the social networks, ways of human interaction and the meaning of home, threatening individuals with urban loneliness of epidemic proportions.

Hello Arsi is presented posthumously after the director Sambit Mohanty’s (1962-2017) sudden demise last year, right after completing shooting. He was involved in the Film Society Movement and the co-founder of the Inscreen Film Society in Bhubaneswar.

Employing a visually rich, pseudo-historic take on the past of Kyrgyzstan while not forgetting the local traditions of folklore and storytelling, The Song of the Tree offers a musical epic and a romantic parable of a man whose family falls from grace after a tribal feud in a nomadic village.

Director and scriptwriter Aibek Daiyrbekov has previously shot several short films and TV series in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The film has previously screened at Moscow IFF and Busan IFF.

Shot in eight countries and six languages, the Morocco-Italy-Serbia co-production Catharsys or the Afina Tales of the Lost World, directed by Yassine Marco Marroccu, is an allegorical tale set in a dystopian world, mirroring true historical events and political situations such as the 9/11 terrorist attack aftermath, global climate change, etc.

Maroccu’s first short film Gnawas was invited to several international film festivals, for his short film Entropya he received the grand prix at Algiers Short Festival in 2013, among other prizes.

Mexican director Axel Muñoz Barba studies themes of urban loneliness in Lonesome Collectors, a tale of a socially dysfunctional young man and a woman whose relationship begins as the man discovers that the woman shares his hobby to secretly enter people’s houses to steal their intimate belongings.

The director has made three short films and worked as a sound artist on dozen of films, winning an Ariel Award for Güreos (2014). Black Nights presents the international premiere, following the world premiere at Guanajuato IFF.

In Roads in February Canadian director Katherine Jerkovic presents a story of a teenager, who, driven by childhood memories and the hope of a reencounter, visits her paternal grandmother in a village in Uruguay. She is soon faced with a struggle to reconcile her parents decision to leave decades ago with the bitterness that is stirred up in the old woman who never saw her son again.

The director’s short and experimental films have been presented in many venues and festivals, including Toronto Images Festival, Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Instants vidéo de Marseille, etc. The film arrives to Black Nights for its international premiere after screening at Toronto IFF.

Tiina Lokk, the head of Black Nights FF, commented: “I’m glad that we managed to bring together a selection of films that is diverse both, geographically and in terms of film genres. Most of the films bare traits of distinct regional cultures, while telling their stories with broad universal appeal, all of them resonating acutely with world we live in 2018 AD. It is always a pleasure to witness and support the emergence of fresh new voices with enjoyably original ways of storytelling!”

The previous announcement with the first seven films in the competition can be found here:

The First Feature Competition jury, announced in November, will hand out three awards: Best Film and two Special Jury Prizes given to two films the jury decides to highlight for outstanding artistic achievements in a particular field.

Past winners of the First Feature Competition’s Best Film award winners are Thousand Kinds of Rain (director Isabel Prahl, 2017, Germany), Duet (director Navid Danesh, 2016, Iran) and Delivery (director Martin Meija Rugeles, 2015, Colombia).


A March to Remember / Vitoria, 3 de marzo, Director Víctor Cabaco, Spain, 2018 - International Premiere
As I Fall / Når jeg faller, Director Magnus Meyer Arnesen, Norway, 2018 - International Premiere
Catharsys Or The Afina Tales Of The Lost World, Director Yassine Marco Marroccu, Morocco, 2018 - World Premiere
Cronofobia, Director Francesco Rizzi, Switzerland, 2018 - International Premiere
Erased / Izbrisana, Director Miha Mazzini, Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia, 2018 - International Premiere
Hello Arsi, Director Sambit Mohanty, India, 2018 - International Premiere
Head Above Water / Marche ou crève, Director Tatiana Margaux Bonhomme, France, 2018 - International Premiere
Kejal / کژال, Director Nima Yar (Salehiyar), Iran, 2018 - World Premiere
Lonesome Collectors / Noches de Julio, Director Axel Muñoz Barba, Mexico, 2018 - International Premiere
Lifeboat, Director Sofia Helin, Denmark-Croatia-Sweden, 2018 - International Premiere
Lorik, director Alexey Zlobin, Armenia, 2018 - International Premiere
Roads in February / Las Rutas En Febrero, Director Katherine Jerkovic, Canada - Uruguay, 2018 - International Premiere
Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša, Director Ernestas Jankauskas, Lithuania-Finland, 2018 -  World Premiere
The Song of the Tree, Director Aibek Daiyrbekov, Kyrgyzstan-Russia, 2018 - European Premiere
The Wild Fields, Director Yaroslav Lodygin, Ukraine- Switzerland, 2018 - International Premiere
Wasted Eggs, Director Ryo Kawasaki, Japan, 2018 - World Premiere
Why Don't You Just Die / Папа, сдохни, Director Kirill Sokolov, Russia, 2018 - International Premiere
Yung, Director Henning Gronkowski, Germany, 2018 - International Premiere

Out of Competition
The Pact / Rafiki, Director David Victori, Spain, 2018 - International Premiere



Film stills:

As I Fall:
Catharsys Or The Afina Tales Of The Lost World:
Hello Arsi:
Head Above Water:
Lonesome Collectors:
Sasha Was Here
The Song of the Tree:
Wasted Eggs:



Photo credit: Nordic Hotel Forum & Black Nights FF

The "Culture Wolf", a sculpture dedicated to Black Nights FF by the Nordic Hotel Forum.










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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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