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Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival kicked off

The 9th edition of Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival kicked off on 2 December with the traditional combination of silent film and live music. 1928 classic "The Passion of Joan of Arc" by Dane Carl Theodore Dreyer was presented with electronic music by Frenchmen Hector Zazou with Valentin Z.

The international competition programme "EurAsia" brings together 19 new features from the whole continent. Films in competition include European co-productions "The Piano Tuner of the Earthquakes" by Brothers Quay, "The Ring Finger" by Diane Bertrand and "Bye Bye Blackbird" by Robinson Savary; all films will be presented by their directors. The latest docu-fiction by the grand old man of German cinema Werner Herzog "The Wild Blue Yonder" is competing next to "Go West", the first film of Bosnian Ahmed Imamovic. Highly-praised "Paradise Now" by Hany Abu-Assad is presented by its leading actor Kais Nashef while Belgian entry "Ordinary Man" by Vincent Lannoo will be introduced by the Man itself, Carlo Ferrante. Russian director Alexei German Jr will be screening "Garpastum" and Slovenian Damjan Kozole "Labour Equals Freedom". Nordic countries are represented by Danish "Manslaughter" by Per Fly, Finnish "Mother of Mine" by Klaus Häro and Swedish "Harry's Daughter" that will be introduced by its director Richard Hobert and half of its leading cast Lena Endre and Jorgen Langhelle. Asian side of the competition screens works by established filmmakers, including Cannes contender "Shanghai Dreams" by Wang Xiaoshuai from China, Hou Shiao-Hsien's "Three Times" from Taiwan and Japanese Shinji Aoyama's "Eli, Eli lema sabachthani?". Younger generation is represented by "The Iron Island" by Mohammad Rasoulof from Iran and a Singaporean picture "Be With Me" by Eric Khoo. Rounding up the section are "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" by Cristi Puiu of Romania and musical documentary from Kazakhstan, "Vocal Parallels" by Rustam Khamdanov. International jury includes directors Eva Isaksen from Norway and Yesim Ustaoglu from Turkey, renowned cinematographer Thomas Mauch from Germany and writer James Ragan from the US as well as Estonian stage director and critic Jaak Allik.
Special programmes include an overview of banned films among them anti-communist titles about the Cold War and adaptations of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and "1984". Special focus this year is on Canada with 10-title programme and numerous guests from both sides of the camera.
This year is witnessing also the first competition of Estonian features where 13 new fiction, documentary and animated features are judged by an international jury.

The main festival was preceded by animation film festival "Animated Dreams" and Sleepwalkers Student Film Festival. The winners of Grand Prix were respectively "Milch" by Igor Kovalyov (USA) and "Summer Clouds" by Axel Danielson (Sweden). Children and youth film festival "Just Film" that shares its programme with the main festival gave the main awards to Nordic films: best youth film is Swedish-Finnish "Popular Music" by Reza Bagher and best children's film Norwegian "The Colour of Milk" by Torun Lian.

The festival activities included the co-production market, lecture session and industry screenings called "Baltic Event" that saw nearly 100 participants from mostly Northern and Central Europe.

The 9th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival is running from 24 November to 11 December in Tallinn with touring screenings in Tartu, Viljandi, Narva and Jõhvi. Awards will be announced in the closing ceremony on 10 December.

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