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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival unveils Main Competition programme


Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces the line-up for its 20th edition, taking place on November 11-27. The premieres for the 12 feature films in competition, all international or world premieres, will take place from 16 until 22 November , with Queen of Spades (Russia) by Cannes’ Best Director award-winning Pavel Lungin opening the competition.

Started in 2004 as an Eurasian competition programme, Main Competition is the oldest and longest running competition programme of the festival. Past winners include The Throne (South Korea, 2015) and Lucifer (Belgium, 2014).

Tiina Lokk, founder and director of the festival and head of the programme team commented,
“By gaining the FIAPF upgrade in 2014 we received a certain privilege but also an obligation to find newer films and exploring wider, without any geographic boundaries, to discover and promote talented film-makers and regions that have not been in the international limelight but deserve to be there nevertheless. Otherwise we would have the same films coming from a handful of big festivals, directed by well-known directors that are circuiting on basically every festival.
It is a great and exciting challenge, something that we have been pursuing well before the receiving the upgrade. 
I’m happy to say that since we have become a bit more known internationally, we have a more even programme on our hands this year. For the first time all films will have an international or world premiere. And all are works of talented, mature film-makers with an original voice.”


7 Days
Original title Sette Giorni, Italy/France, 2016
Director Rolando Colla ; producers Elena Pedrazzoli, Emanuele Nespeca, Mario Mazzarotto 
International premiere

A regular at the international festival circuit, director Rolando Colla presents us the romantic story of Ivan and Chiara who meet on a remote and irresistibly scenic Sicilian island to prepare the wedding for Ivan’s brother and Chiara’s best friend. Despite the fact that Ivan is determined not to repeat the failure of his last relationship and Chiara does not want to jeopardise her marriage, the two fall in love with each other. With the resolve of not creating a chaos in their lives they promise to end the relationship as soon as the others arrive on the island - a promise easier to make than to carry out.

A Quiet Dream
Chun-mong, Korea, 2016
Director Zhang Lu; producer Leila Jo, executive producer Kim Dong-Young
International premiere

Directed by Zhang Lu (winner of Berlinale’s Crystal Bear in 2010 and Busan’s NETPAC award in 2010) presents a captivating dramedy of social misfits living in Su-Saek, an economically depressed town near Korea’s booming capital Seoul. Ye-Ri, an attractive woman who grew up in China, is the sole carer for her father whose whole body is paralyzed. She runs a lo-fi bar and spends all leisure time slacking around with three local weirdos, who all have an explicit crush on her. Shot in a very distinctive style that balances nicely between quiet drama and quirky comedy, the film constantly flirts with the idea that all we see may not be real but part of someone’s reverie.

A Quiet Heart 
Lev Shaket, Israel, 2016
Director and writer Eitan Anner ; producers Gal Greenspan, Roi Kurland, Moshe Edery, Leon Edery
International Premiere

In present day Jerusalem, a city increasingly dominated by religious fanaticism, Naomi (played by Ania Bukstein, Game of Thrones), a secular young woman seeks refuge from the pressure of her life as a concert pianist. Overwhelmed by the expectations of her parents and her colleagues in Tel Aviv, Naomi seeks anonymity and solitude in the ancient city. Despite her intentions to stay alone, she quickly makes two unexpected connections - one with a musically gifted Ultra-Orthodox young boy who lives in her building and the other with Fabrizio, a charismatic Italian monk and organist in the local Catholic monastery. While these relationships allow Naomi to reconnect with her love of music and sense of meaning, they also make her a target in her new community.

At Your Doorstep
Cerca De Tu Casa, Spain, 2016
Director and co-writer Eduard Cortés ; producer Loris Omedes
International Premiere

Three stories intertwine as different people deal with the challenges of living through times of crisis after the economic depression of 2007 has hit Spain. An evicted mother, a banker with a conscience and a police officer who has to do his job no matter what, we get a touchingly tragic  picture of a society under pressure. As an original touch, Eduard Cortés makes his characters sing and dance, making this a Brechtian musical drama of sorts, offering a poignant, yet entertaining social commentary about the economic crisis, people’s struggle with daily life, solidarity and hope.

Nafas, Iran, 2016
Director & Scriptwriter Narges Abyar ; producers: Mohammad-Hossein Ghassemi, Abouzar Pourmohammadi
International Premiere

The daily life of a daydreaming little girl, Bahar, and her persistent efforts to discover the world so she can experience life with all its sweetness and bitterness in her own way. Bahar loves reading books and this makes the hardness of her life and the world around her tolerable - a hobby that for children is not easily tolerated in the society. She distorts the folk stories and mixes with the events; her life concurs with two turning points in the temporary history of Iran - the revolution and the war. Though these events are marginal in Bahar’s vivid  imaginative world, the war with its absolute and fatal certainty, imposes its reality on the unruly imagination of the little girl.

Dark Fortune
Finsteres Glück, Switzerland, 2016
Director Stefan Haupt ; producers Rudolf Santschi, Stefan Haupt
International Premiere

Late at one night, psychologist Eliane Hess is called to the hospital to take care of Yves, an eight-year-old boy, who has just lost his parents and siblings in a car accident. Eliane is both shocked and curiously drawn to the traumatized boy. As time goes by, she loses the professional distance to the patient, and when Yves's relatives begin a heavy dispute about the boy's future, Eliane, affected by the distance from her own teenage daughter, makes an unorthodox decision that will have drastic effect on all those involved. Stefan Haupt (director and writer of the adapted screenplay), a regular at international film festivals who’s been awarded the Teddy at Berlinale for his film The Circle (2014) and also several Swiss Film Prizes, offers an engaging and emotional character study.

Eastern Business
Afacerea Est, Romania, 2016
Director and writer Igor Cobileanski ; producer Iuliana Tarnovetchi
International Premiere

The film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between two Moldavian men, Marian, a 45-year-old intellectual choir singer, and Petro, a sneak thief and a loser. Confronted with poverty and lack of perspective, the two men start an exhausting journey, trying to make money to reach their dreams. Marian wishes to finally marry his fiancée, Veronica, and Petro dreams about buying a crane and earning money from its rental. After accidentally becoming business partners and starting working towards a plan that involves the purchase of 50,000 horseshoes, the duo embarks on a journey through one of the poorest countries in Europe. Director Igor Cobileanski’s second film is a tragicomic portrait of a society that is struggling with widespread corruption, fraud schemes and laziness.

Grammes, Greece, 2016
Director, writer, producer Vasilis Mazomenos ; producer Lampros Georgopoulos 
World Premiere

Director Vasilis Mazomenos, who’s been a regular at the world’s festival circuit (including Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Montreal IFF) throughout his lengthy career, offers a uncompromisingly bleak view of modern Greece in this experimental feature. Accompanied with a droning and eerie soundtrack with most of the scenes taking place in dark environments, we are presented a collection of seven vignettes of people affected by Greece’s economic, social and political crisis who are connected through making stress-calls to a “life line”. It is a picture of a contemporary Greek Tragedy, with clever allusions referring the the country that is the cradle of Western culture, now being in painful conflict with its currents powers and past mistakes.

Queen of Spades
Dama Pik, Russia, 2016
Director Pavel Lungin ; producer 
International Premiere

The Cannes’ regular, winning the Best Director award for Taxi Blues (1991) there, Pavel Lungin has succeeded in creating a spectacular fusion of opera and film in his latest feature - Queen of Spades. A leading Moscow opera troupe is planning to perform Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades with the world-famous Sophie Meyer (played by Venice Best Actress award-winning Kseniya Rappoport) working with the group. A talented young performer Andrey (rising star Ivan Yankovskiy), being obsessed by the woman, manages, through certain manipulations to get the part of the notoriously difficult leading role Herman. Soon his obsession with both the powerful woman and revelations about her gambling habit start to blend the lines of his role’s character and his real self, with potentially life-threatening outcomes.

The Chronicles of Melanie
Melanijas Hronika, Latvia, 2016
Director Viesturs Kairiss ; producers Inese Boka, Gints Grube
International Premiere

Having a background in opera director Viesturs Kairiss reaffirms that the contemporary Latvian filmmakers have an impressive skill of creating original auteur films based on historic events. Depicting the real life events of Melanie Vanaga who was deported to Siberia during the Stalinist political cleansing of 1941 in the freshly occupied Baltics and using memorable direction of photography paired with an eerie, droning musical composition, we are presented a story that balances between the ugliness of history and human misconduct with the beauty of human strength and willingness to survive. 

The Have-Nots
Die Habenichtse, Germany, 2016
Director Florian Hoffmeister; producer Titus Kreyenberg
International Premiere

Having already gained international recognition as DOP (Primetime Emmy and BAFTA for Great Expectations) and worked on projects like Mortdecai (2015) and Deep Blue Sea (2011), Florian Hoffmeister’s second film is a study of the effects of emotional trauma caused by the loss of a close friend. To cope with the loss of a friend in the events of the 2001 New York terrorist attacks, newly weds Jakob and Julia move from Germany to London. Hoping that living in a new environment will help redirect their thought and feelings, each of them starts to emotionally encapsulate in their own way, leading to rather unexpected events.

Tuos, Philippines, 2016
Director Roderick Cabrido ; producers Joseph Israel Laban, Tere Siggy Villonco
International Premiere

Weaving animated sequences into a strong character drama, Roderick Cabrido has created a captivating and mysterious piece of work that studies conflicts inflicted by the transition of traditions in a rural Philippine village that follows ancient traditions. Pina-ilog is chosen as the purest young girl in the village and is thus destined to inherit her grandmother’s position as the village’s medium, living in confined solitude, studying chants and dances to protect the village from demons. But when her grandmother’s life is literally threatened by one, Pina-ilog has to choose whether to uphold tradition or try to save the life of her beloved guardian.

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival takes place on 11-27 November, 2016.



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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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