October 17, 2019

Tallinn Black Nights completes First Feature Competition line-up

Estonia’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (Nov 15-Dec 1) has finalized its First Feature Competition, adding 10 films to the eight previously announced titles.


These include the world premiere of Isaac, from Lithuanian director Jurgis Matulevičius, which centres on a political activist who is haunted by the guilt of killing a Jew in the Lietukis garage massacre of 1941. The cast includes Severija Janušauskaitė, from Russian comedy Star and German TV drama Babylon Berlin. Producers are Lithuania’s Film Jam and Poland‘s Takfilm.

It’s debut at the festival means that half of the 18 titles in the First Feature competition will be presented as world premieres.

Receiving its international premiere is Darkness, from Italian director and co-writer Emanuela Rossi, which centres on a young family who are ordered not to leave their home by the father, who claims the outside world is apocalyptical.

Irish-language thriller Finky comes to Tallinn having previously won the award for best cinematography at Galway Film Fleadh. Directed by Dathaí Keane, it follows a young musician with a tragic past who is crippled in a car accident and given a chance at redemption when he is recruited by a violent, avant-garde circus.

On The Quiet, from Hungarian director Zoltán Nagy, centres on a young female cellist who claims to an older boy that their 60-year-old conductor has made inappropriate advances toward her.

Obscure is a dark sexual drama from writer-director Kunlin Wang, who has a background in gender studies and has previously won awards with more than 10 short films. In this U.S.-China co-production, Wang tells the story of a teenage boy, who sexually awakens after discovering the relationship between his father and sister figures.

German writer-director Elisa Mishto will bring Stay Still to the festival, which centres on a rich and quick-witted patient in a mental clinic who goes on a vandalism spree with a young nurse. Mishto’s Emma And The Fury won the best short film award at the Max Ophüls festival and screened at Palm Springs.

Polish director Bartosz Kruhlik has previously won more than 150 awards with short films that have screened at San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Sarajevo and IDFA among others. His feature debut, Supernova, mixes elements of drama, thriller and disaster movie with the story of a rural community impacted by an accident.

In Tomorrow We Are Free, writer-director Hossein tells the story of an idealistic young couple from East Germany, caught up in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran. Adding an autobiographical element to the film, Pourseifi was aged four when his family moved from Iran to Germany after the events depicted in the film.

The final title is Stories From The Chestnut Woods, which first screened at Toronto and was shot in the rural area on the border of Italy and Slovenia where writer-director Gregor Bozic grew up. Set in the years after the Second World War, it centres on an elderly carpenter and a lonely young chestnut saleswoman who meet in a decrepit forest and exchange memories of the past while pondering their futures.

The best film prize comes with a €5,000 ($5,558) grant along with two special prizes for specific artistic achievements.

Tiina Lokk, Black Nights’ festival director and head of programme, described the First Feature selection as an “exciting combination of countries and topics, artistically rewarding and intellectually challenging in equal measure.”

The full line-up of the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights will be announced on October 24.


First Feature Competition

WP = World Premiere; IP = International Premiere; EP = European Premiere

  • Dance With Me (Jahan, Ba Man Beraghs) - Soroush Sehat (Iran) IP
  • Darkness (Buio) - Emanuela Rossi (Ita) IP
  • Finky - Dathai Keane (Ire) IP
  • Isaac - Jurgis Matulevičius (Lith-Pol) WP
  • Obscure - Kunlin Wang (US-Chi) IP
  • On the Quiet (Szép csendben) - Zoltán Nagy (Hun) IP
  • Stay Still (Stillstehen) - Elisa Mishto (Ger) IP
  • Stories From the Chestnut Woods (Zgodbe iz kostanjevih gozdov) - Gregor Božič (Slo-Ita-Ger) EP
  • Supernova - Bartosz Kruhlik (Pol) IP
  • Tomorrow We Are Free (Morgen Sind Wir Frei) - Hossein Pourseifi (Ger) IP
  • A Dog’s Death (La muerte de un perro) - Matías Ganz (Uru-Fra-Arg) WP
  • Dust and Ashes - Park Hee-kwon (S Kor) WP
  • Looted - Rene Pannevis (UK) WP
  • Lorni - The Flaneur - Wanphrang Diengdoh (Ind) WP
  • Mother (Mater) - Jure Pavlović (Cro-Serb-Fra-Bos/Herz) WP
  • The Names of the Flowers - Bahman Tavoosi (Bol-Qat-US-Can) WP
  • Saul at Night - Cory Santilli (US) WP
  • The Seeker (O Buscador) - Bernardo Barreto (Bra) WP
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