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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival unveils seven First Feature Competition entries


Tallinn Black Nights has announced the first seven films that will be competing in the First Feature Competition programme of the festival, a section dedicated to screening the first feature-length films of the directors.

The announced selection includes five films from Europe with the Lithuania-Finland co-production Sasha Was Here, directed by Ernestas Jankauskas, having its world premiere at the festival. Set during the span of one day, the story tells about a young couple spending time with a potential adoption child under circumstances they did not anticipate, putting their relationship and perceived values of parenthood and family to the test. This is first time Lithuania is represented with a majority co-production in this programme.

Also present the first time is Denmark, as the Danish director Josefine Kirkeskov and her all-female film crew present the international premiere of the psychological drama Lifeboat, a story about a Danish couple facing emotional and moral dilemmas after picking up a Lebanese refugee while on their romantic sailing holiday near the island of Lesbos. The film was produced by Danish Snowglobe (Godless, Thelma), Croatian MP Films and Sweden’s LEE Film.

Slovenia will also be represented for the first time, as director Miha Mazzini presents the Slovenian-Croatian-Serbian co-production Erased as the world premiere. The kafkaesque story sees a woman stuck in a machine of state bureaucracy, trying to fight for the rights of her newly born child and her own citizenship. The film is based on an actual historical situation in 1992, when the breakup of Yugoslavia drove the Slovenian state to revoke the citizenship of nearly 26 thousand people leaving them without any civic rights. The project was presented in San Sebastian IFF’s Glocal In Progress showcase last year.

German director Henning Gronkowski will present his film Yung at the international premiere in Tallinn. Offering a hyper realistic take on Berlin’s hedonistic subculture, documenting the the lives of four millennials making a living with crack and webcam porn and spending a better part of their lives at parties. The production companies are Gronkowski’s own company  G.G. Production and Anatol Nitschke from deutschfilm who has also co-produced Berlinale’s Silver Bear Winner Victoria (2015).

Russia will be represented by the genre film Why Don’t You Just Die. Director and screenwriter Kirill Sokolov’s feature debut is a stylised, dark action comedy about a group of people brought together in the apartment of police detective Andrei: his resentful daughter, an angry thug and a cheated cop. Each one of them have a reason to want revenge. The film, produced by White Mirror Film Company’s Sofiko Kiknavelidze (The Land of Oz) has won the Best Film award at Vyborg Film Festival.

Among the announced titles, two come from Asia, as Japanese director Ryo Kawasaki presents the world premiere of Wasted Eggs, a witty, minimalist drama about the 30-year-old Junko who is considering becoming a ovum donor. At the registration briefing she is reunited with her lesbian nephew Aoi, who has similar plans. Moving in together, the two will experience, in their own way, the significance of being a non-birthing woman in the traditionally closed Japanese society.

Also presented as world premiere, Kejal, the feature debut of the Iranian director and actor Nima Yar (Salehiyar), is a thrilling drama about a 26-year-old Kurdish woman taking on what is traditionally considered as a ‘man’s job’ in the smuggling community that operates on the dangerous Iraq-Iran border.

The First Feature Competition jury, announced at the end of October, will hand out three awards: Best Film and two Special Jury Prizes appointed 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).

The full programme of the First Feature Competition will be announced on the 25th of October.

Erased / Izbrisana, director Miha Mazzini, Slovenia-Croatia-Serbia, 2018 - world premiere
Kejal / کژال, director Nima Yar (Salehiyar), Iran, 2018 - world premiere
Lifeboat, director Sofia Helin, Denmark-Croatia-Sweden, 2018 - international premiere
Sasha Was Here / Čia buvo Saša, director Ernestas Jankauskas, Lithuania-Finland, 2018 -  world premiere
Wasted Eggs, director Ryo Kawasaki, Japan, 2018 - world premiere
Why Don't You Just Die / Papa, sdokhni, director Kirill Sokolov, Russia, 2018 - international premiere
Yung, director Henning Gronkowski, Germany, 2018 - international premiere






Photo by Ahto Sooaru

Black Nights FF screening 2017



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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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