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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces the complete lineup of Official Selection



Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival aka PÖFF announces the full lineup of its major international competition programme, the Official Selection, adding eleven titles to the previously announced eight.

The selection sees an addition of five European films, including the world premieres of the Greek-French-Latvian co-production Still River by director Angelos Frantzis and Sunburn, a Portuguese production by director Vicente Alves do Ó, which was presented at the Locarno IFF’s First Look showcase this summer.

German director Josef Biercbichler presents the international premiere of his second film Two Men in Suits, similarly to Romanian Paul Negoescu whose entry The Story of a Summer Lover has screened previously at the Transylvania IFF. Adrian Panek’s Werewolf (Poland) will have its European premiere after having had its domestic premiere at the Polish Film Festival.

Asia is represented with four films, with Sri Lankan director Asoka Handagama returning to the festival with the European premiere of Asandhimitta after competing in the Official Selection in 2015 with Let Her Cry. Iran is represented with the action infused thriller Sheeple by Hooman Seyedi, and South Korea with Winter’s Night by Woo-jin Jang, both also having their European premieres. Indian filmmaker Rajat Kapoor presents the international premiere of his film Kadakh.

Representing Australia for the first time in the Official Selection, Indian-born filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta presents the world premiere of his third film Slam, after his last films Let the Wind Blow and Sunrise have screened at the Berlinale, the Busan IFF, Tribeca, BFI London etc.

Completing the lineup is the world premiere of the United Arab Emirates-US co-production AWAKEN, directed by Tom Lowe, executive produced by Terrence Malick (Tree of Life, The Thin Red Line) and Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi, Visitors).

Festival director and head of programme Tiina Lokk commented on the selection: “For me, the lineup offers contentment in terms artistic quality, geographic representation and genre diversity, expressing quite nicely what has always been our mission - to connect great auteurs from different backgrounds and with unique visions. Also, it is an utmost pleasure to welcome filmmakers from so many new countries in the Official Selection!”

She went on to make a statement concerning the inclusion of the Indian director of Rajat Kapoor who has been omitted from the programme of the Mumbai IFF as a result of harassment accusations: “We are fully supporting Mumbai in their decision to exclude Mr Kapoor’s film from their programme as a result of the surfaced accusations. We are also supporting all the victims of sexual misconduct in any country or situation, male or female, not only those brought to light by the MeToo movement. And equally, we fully condemn the perpetrators, who we believe should undergo a legitimate trial and be punished accordingly.”

“But the case in question, from as much as we know, has for now reached a conclusion with a clear apology by Mr Kapoor. If the allegations are true, his behavior was certainly not a nice way for anyone to act and should not be tolerated by anybody. However, in its present state, based on all the information I have learned from the media sources, I don’t see enough reasons to pull his film out of the programme and help end the journey of the film or support declaring him a total persona non grata,” she added.


Offering a captivating cinematic puzzle rich in psychoanalytical traits, the film follows a film director who receives a call from a former classmate, telling him a fragmented story how she has been involved in a triple homicide and is now waiting for her fate in a local prison.

Sri Lankan auteur Asoka Handagama’s films have been screened at numerous big festivals (Cannes, Toronto, Jeonju) and have won awards at several, including the Sebastiane award at the San Sebastian IFF (with the film Flying with One Wing) and three awards at the Tokyo IFF (with films Flying with One Wing; Him, Here, After; This is my Moon). This is his second time in the Official Selection of the Black Nights after his film Let Her Cry competed in 2015.

Shot in 35 countries (including Estonia) over the course of six years, AWAKEN is a technologically innovative, non-narrative film, studying man’s relationship with technology and the natural world. The film uses several pioneering technical feats such as aerial timelapses to create an immersive visual and sonic experience.

Director Tom Lowe, who has worked with AWAKEN’s executive producers Terrence Malick (on Voyage of Time)  and Godfrey Reggio (on Visitors), has previously completed one medium-length film, Timescapes.

Offering a drama comedy with a dark premise - a suicide - Kadakh is a satirical portrait of the carlessness of urban upper class Indians. The arrogant yuppie Sunil and his wife must deal with a dead body of Sunil’s lover’s husband, who ends his life in their apartment right before Divali, the biggest Hindu celebration, is about to kick off at their place.

Director Rajat Kapoor has been active for the last three decades as a director, actor and producer, winning several awards with his films, for example Raghu Romeo which won prizes at the Dhaka IFF and the Bombay IFF, as well as the National Film Award for the best Hindi film.

In this rare Iranian action drama, director Hooman Seyedi’s intense narrative follows two brothers on the criminal path - the meth lab gang leader Shakoor and the softer younger brother Shahin - unhappy about being number two but unable to find the backbone to grow into his shoes.

Presenting his fourth film, Hooman Seyedi has won awards at several renowned film festivals such as the Busan IFF’ New Currents Award and the Asian New Talents Award at the Shanghai IFF, all with his film Thirteen (2014).

Ricky, a young Arab Australian whose peaceful suburban life is turned on its head when his sister Ameena disappears without a trace. In a climate of distrust and xenophobia, she, a politically active outspoken word artist, is soon suspected of having joined the ranks of ISIS in Syria. Slam offers an engaging multi-perspective on life in a post-facts world in a 24-hour media cycle spin.

Director Partho Sen-Gupta’s second film Sunrise travelled to numerous festivals, including Tribeca, the Busan IFF, BFI London and the Sitges IFF, while his first film Let the Wind Blow won awards at the Hong Kong IFF and the Durban IFF, having premiered at the Berlinale.

Still River
Anna and Petros, a Greek couple who recently moved to an industrial Siberian town on account of Petros’ work, are shocked to discover Anna is pregnant with no prior intercourse. Looking for a logical explanation to their situation, Petros starts distrusting Anna, who chooses to embrace the pregnancy, turning to religion to cope. Set against the striking frozen landscapes of Siberia, Still River is a haunting, touching suspense drama about the conflict of the rational and the spiritual.

The director and co-scriptwriter Angelos Frantzi’s previous films have been screened and have won awards at several international film festivals (the Rotterdam IFF, the Torino IFF, the Hong Kong IFF, the Sitges IFF, the New Horizons FF, etc.).

Set in a posh rental villa on a scorchingly hot summer day, Sunburn is a stylishly shot tale about four friends waiting for a fifth. As the day passes, we learn through dramatic encounters about a complex web of relations between them, with the mysterious David in the centre, who has left an unforgettable emotional impact on all of the others in the past.

This is the fifth film by Portuguese filmmaker Vicente Alves do Ó whose previous films have been screened and have won awards at international festivals like Bogota and Guadalajara.

The Story of a Summer Lover
Approaching his subjects with woody-allen-like tongue-in-cheek humor and lightness, Romanian director Paul Negocescu in his third film follows Petru, a math professor experiencing a mid-life crisis, preparing to leave Irina with whom he is in an open relationship. His perspective will see a radical shift when he finds out that she is pregnant.

The director’s short films have been awarded and selected at major international film festivals, including Cannes’ Semaine de la Critique (2012), the Berlinale (2008, 2009 and 2010), the Karlovy Vary IFF and the Rotterdam IFF.  His first feature film A Month in Thailand premiered at the International Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival and was awarded the FIPRESCI prize at the Sofia International Film Festival.

Two Men in Suits
Set in Bavaria during the summer of 1984, an embittered father and his estranged son are staying behind after the guests of the funeral of their wife and mother leave. The father, having never felt a connection with his son, decides to tell his life story and his perspective on the shattering epochs of the 21st century in the
German history he has witnessed. The son responds with his own version of the events and together they bring their individual and shared moments back to life.

Before his second film after a 21-year hiatus, Josef Biercbichler has worked with directors like Werner Herzog (Woyzeck) and Michael Haneke (White Ribbon) during his long career as an actor.

Creating stark metaphors for the traumas of World World II and the Holocaust, director Adrian Panek’s thriller follows eight children who have escaped from a concentration camp during the aftermath of the war, hiding in a secluded villa from the bloodthirsty hounds that have been released by the SS officers before retreat.

This is the Polish director’s second feature film, for which he has just won the Best Director award at the Polish Film Festival.

Winter’s Night
A middle-age couple, Eun-ju and Heung-ju, visit an old temple 30 years after having spent their first night there together. On their way leaving the place, Eun-ju discovers she has lost her phone and decides to return there alone. As the night goes on, the couple’s sleepless winter night turns into roaming around the temple, encountering several friends from the past, and a young couple who are very much like Eun-ju and Heung-ju 30 years ago.

In his third film, South Korean director Woo-jin Jang has woven a quietly enchanting story that seems to flirt with time and memory manipulation. His previous films A Fresh Start and Autumn, Autumn have been screened at the Locarno IFF, the Berlinale Forum, the Mar del Plata IFF and the Hong Kong IFF, and won awards at the Busan IFF and the Jeonju IFF.

The press release with the first eight titles can be found here:


Asandhimitta / Asandhimitta, Sri Lanka, 2018, Director Asoka Handagama - European Premiere
A Shelter Among the Clouds / Streha mes reve, Albania, 2018, Director Robert Budina - World Premiere
A Place to Live / Pour Vivre Ici, Canada, 2018, Director Bernard Émond - International Premiere
AWAKEN, United Arab Emirates-USA, Director Tom Lowe - World Premiere
Bad Poems / Rossz versek, Hungary, 2018, Director Gábor Reisz - World Premiere
Kadakh / Kadakh, India, 2018, Director Rajat Kapoor - International Premiere
Sheeple / Maghzhaye Koochake Zang Zadeh, Iran, 2018, Director Hooman Seyedi - European Premiere
Slam / Slam, Australia, 2018, Partho Sen-Gupta - World Premiere
Still River / Akinito Potami, Greece, France, Latvia, 2018, Director Angelos Frantzis  - World Premiere
Sunburn / Un Golpe De Sol, Portugal, 2018, Director Vicente Alves do Ó - World Premiere
The Guest, Egypt, 2018, Director Hadi Elbagoury - World Premiere
The Human Part / Ihmisen osa, Finland, 2018, Director Juha Lehtola - World Premiere
The Story of a Summer Lover / Povestea unui pierde-vara, Romania, 2018, Director Paul Negoescu - International Premiere  
Two Fridas / Dos Fridas, Costa Rica, 2018, Director Ishtar Yasin - World Premiere
Two Men in Suits / Zwei Herren im Anzug, Germany, 2018, Director Josef Bierbichler   - International Premiere
Until We Fall / Til vi falder, Denmark, 2018, Director Samanou Acheche Sahlstrøm - World Premiere
Wandering Girl / Niña Errante, Colombia-France, 2018, Director Rubén Mendoza - World Premiere
Werewolf / Wilkołak,  Poland, 2018, Director Adrian Panek - European Premiere
Winter’s Night / 겨울밤에,  South Korea, 2018, Director  Woo-jin Jang - European Premiere




Film stills:

A Place to Live
A Shelter Among the Clouds:
Bad Poems
The Guest:
The Human Part
The Story of a Summer Lover:
Two Fridas:
Two Men in Suits:
Until We Fall:
Wandering Girl:
Winter’s Night:



Photo by Ahto Sooaru

Black Nights screening of the German series Babylon Berlin in the Scape Hall of Coca-Cola Plaza in 2017, where the Official Selection premieres will take place in 2018.



Photo by Aron Urb

Black Nights Award Ceremony, 2018



Press accreditation for the 22nd Black Nights Film Festival is in full swing. Apply before the 1st of November to receive the accreditation at a discount price of 35 EUR.






The festival's press office gladly helps with any question regarding the accreditation, press screenings and conferences and helps to organise interviews with the festival's guests. 

With questions regarding the press accreditation please write to

With general press and communications related inquiries please contact the head of press and communications Hannes Aava - / +372 555 29 211.





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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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