October 31, 2019

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival unleashes Rebels With A Cause

Press Release

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces the lineup for Rebels With A Cause, an International competition programme with 15 feature films in competition and five feature films out of competition, and a mini-competition for short films that includes seven entries. The programme includes six world and five International premieres.


Rebels With A Cause is the festival section that showcases independent productions that offer original points of view, polemic opinions or interesting aesthetic pursuits for the demanding audience. The programme is divided into two competitive programmes - for shorts and features - and a non-competitive selection. Both of the competitions will be overseen by a jury comprised of international film professionals announced during the first week of November.

Festival director Tiina Lokk shared her excitement over the fact that Rebels With A Cause is gradually developing into a section that draws international attention and attracts fresh films from emerging and established creative voices from around the world. 'We launched this programme to support filmmakers that are rebelling against common cinematic expression and narrative structures, who surprise us by doing something totally out of the box.' 'I’m glad that we have caught the attention of others and our audience!' she added.

The short film competition will screen ЮНАК by Georgi Stamenov, Counterpoint by Ivan Koroman, The Father, The Child and the Mother by Luca Arcangeli, Wild Will by Alan King, Heatstroke by Edgar Morais, I, Wretched Man by Armer Mensch and The Silence of Dying Fish by Vasilis Kekatos.


Feature Films In Competition

Director Gilson Vargas presents his second feature Bad Honey, a tale of German immigrants living in isolation in the countryside of Brazil during World War II, clashing with the world surrounding them. A visually poetical thriller of a cycle of violence born of intolerance and fear of the unknown. The film will have its world premiere in Tallinn.

Inspired by almost two years of research in both male and female prisons, director Mira Fornay presents the world premiere of Cook, F**k, Kill, a story of a man who is pathologically jealous of his wife Blanka and very much afraid that she will leave him one day with their three children, not hesitating to employ at violence, deceit and terror when it feels necessary. Mira Fornay's debut Foxes (2009) premiered at Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, her second film, My Dog Killer (2013), won the Hivos Tiger Award in the main competition at the Rotterdam IFF, received a nomination for the European Film Awards, and was chosen as the Slovak national entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

Second-time director Nie Yunxing’s Feast centres on Miss Wang, a tale of a woman deciding to shoot her life into the film, meeting in mystical woods with „directors“ to tell her tale. The directors soon grow unsatisfied and start demanding more, to meet the high standards of modern art.

Director Paul Soriano presents the world premiere of Mañanita, a sombre tale of a female soldier, who, after being discharged from the military service due to an injury, embarks on a journey back to her hometown where she searches for the man who killed her parents. The film has been written by the prominent Philippino filmmaker Lav Diaz, who’s worked with Paul Soriano before, as he produced Diaz’s A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery (2016), which won the Alfred Bauer Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Soriano’s internationally most successful film Kid Kulafu screened at festivals such as Raindance IFF and Tokyo IFF.

Russian director Kseniya Ratushnaya presents the world premiere of Outlaw, that introduces interweaving storylines set in two time periods. The story, touching some controversial topics in current Russian society, centers on an 11th-grader in present-day Moscow who is struggling to align his burgeoning homosexuality with his desire for acceptance by the mainstream, his school mate who represents that heteronormative mainstream, an outsider revelling in her role as a social outcast, and a middle-aged transsexual schoolteacher, with secrets in the past that continue to haunt him.

A Family, an absurdist black comedy, is a story is about Emerson, a man living in solitary who seeks emotional refuge in the organising and documenting of family moments using low-grade impersonators. When his fake sister becomes inspired to follow his method, their relationship struggles between the forged and the genuine. This is the first feature film for director-producer-writer Jayden Stevens and fifth work as DOP for writer-producer-cinematographer Thomas Swinburn. The film will have its international premiere in Tallinn.


Presenting a playful, melancholic nocturne, director-scriptwriter Carmen Stadler’s first feature film Sekuritas is set in an office building that will soon be demolished. At the twilight of its existence, the building becomes the stage for the encounters of six people with very different backgrounds. Stadler has won the Golden Leopard of Tomorrow at Locarno IFF for her short film Nightfluttering.


Presenting his first feature, director Ramin Fahrenheit presents the international premiere of Killer Queen, a campy lo fi thriller of two transients, a drug dealer and a lonely girl meet over a drug meetup, their similarities leading to an unusual affair that leads to a carefully planned robbery.


Labelled by the director Rax Rinnekangas, as a film noir, a thriller and a creative documentary, Once Upon A Time in a Sad Hill is a tale about how women claim their freedom in a cemetery named Sad Hill, known as the final scene of Sergio Leone’s iconic spaghetti western film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Four artists are finishing a workshop about women’s role on the patriarchically run planet, in a palace in Northern Spain, as they recall a strange incident that happened to two long-time married couples who got lost nearby years before.


Directing his second film, Alexey Kamynin presents the International premiere of Russian Spleen, a poetic and satiric comedy about modern Moscow and its inhabitants. A true story about three friends renting a flat together. During one day they live through a number of both strange and funny adventures with one end looming ahead – they will mature.


Directing-producing-scriptwriting duo Fabian Velasco and Miloš Mitrovič manage tp capture the mundane emptiness of life, depression and human failure in a realistic yet comical manner as they study the lives of losers and misfits intersecting in bleak Winnipeg, a city isolated and often overlooked like the offbeat characters who call it home. Tapeworm will have its international premiere in Tallinn.


First time director Artiz Moreno presents the European premiere of Advantages of Travelling by Train, labelled as a conspiracy thriller that hides a drama, black comedy and love story. An editor is approached during a train journey by a psychologist, who tells her about one of his patients and the colourful stories of those around him, enacting a fascinating delirium, full of obsession, perversion, sarcasm, fun and dementia.


Japanese director Naoki Murahashi presents the European premiere of Extro, a warm-hearted mockumentary that goes behind the scenes of the Japanese film and TV industry to introduce the people working as extras.


Working with a score of well-known actors headed by Anthony Hopkins and Madeline Brewer, and two-time Academy Award-nominated DOP Dante Spinotti, directors Valentina De Amicis, Riccardo Spinotti presents the European premiere of Now Is Everything. The story, exploring the theme of masculine intimacy, follows an esteemed fashion photographer, who struggles with his creative sentience while questioning everything he thinks he knows in the midst of detaching himself from reality and from his muse and lover.


Director Sujeewa Priyalali presents Suparna, the sci-fi eco-thriller with 1980’s trash aesthetics, that tells the tale of a young woman who’s half-alien half-human, living in a rural village in Sri Lanka. With the help of two friends, she tries to save their village from a multinational environment release corporation, while struggling to make up her mind about returning to the planet of her origin.


Feature Films Out Of Competition


Director Valentyn Vasyanovych presents Atlantis, set in near-future Eastern Ukraine that has become a desert unsuitable for human habitation. Sergiy, a former soldier suffering from PTSD, is having trouble adapting to his new reality as his life is in pieces and the land in ruins. Making his third feature film as a director, Vasyanovych’s career highlights include the International success story The Tribe (2014) where he worked as a producer and DOP.


Director Ronny Sen presents the European premiere of Cat Sticks, following a group of heroin addicts filtering through the streets of Kolkata in search of brown sugar, an impure form of heroin, desperate to get their next fix. The film won the jury award of honourable mention at Slamdance FF.


Having staged several drama performances in Estonian theatres and worked with Estonian theatre actors in Iran – has won the Best Debut Award at the Iran Film Festival this year – director Homayoun Ghanizadeh showcases his wild imagination and tweaked story-telling skill with A Hairy Tale. The story circles a barber dreaming of becoming an actor and an investigation of murders where the victims’ hair was removed.


Shot in luminous black-and-white and blending documentary and fiction, director Takashi Nishihara presents Sisterhood, an incisive portrait of the shifting political and power dynamics surrounding gender in a post-MeToo age. Making a film within a film, we meet a Tokyo-based director who wants to make a film about feminism in present-day Japan.  He interviews women, asking them to speak in their own voice to the camera. A young singer, a university student, and a nude model among others discuss their experiences of the demands imposed upon women by society.


Acting as director, co-writer and lead actor Bruno Vanden Broecke, Ruth Beeckmans and Matteo Simoni present Trio, a comical tale of two half-brothers spending time with a prostitute who was supposed to be the birthday gift to one them, but catches the attention of both of them.


Onur Ünlü weaves a universal tale of persistence in the face of adversity in The Adventures of Sukran the Lame, presenting the tale of Şükran, who faces several hardships in her life, becoming lame in a childhood accident, losing her love interest and failing to develop a loving relationship with her father and sister. Ünlü is a multiple awards winning Turkish film director, writer, poet, musician and actor whose films have won numerous awards and been screened at festivals such as Karlovy Vary IFF, Toronto IFF and Moscow IFF. He won the Jury Special Award at Goa IFF.


(c) Tallinn - Black Nights Film Festival 2019