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The Black Nights Film Festival completes the lineup for the First Feature Competition programme




Adding to the previously announced five titles, the Black Nights Film Festival announces 11 others that will be part of the First Feature Competition programme, including Brazil’s candidate for the Academy Awards.

Entering it’s third year, the First Feature Competition is an international competition programme for first-time feature directors that will see a six-member jury handing out the award for best film and two special jury awards for outstanding achievements in whichever category the jury deems worthy of complimenting.

According to Tiina Lokk, the head of programme of the festival, a standout quality of this year’s selection is the maturity of the authors, both in terms of how they handle their topics, how they generalise and how they apprehend the whole of the film. ‘It has less of the youthful bravado than previous years, being more mature and balanced. Although we have managed to get great debuts every year, I believe the programme as a whole has made a qualitative step forward.’

‘But it is also a somewhat calmer and inward looking year, as fierce statements on bigger, geopolitically relevant social issues such as the economic crisis and refugee crisis of last year have been substituted for close relations, the overcoming of generational differences, forgiveness and finding each other’, she added.

Having made an impressive career as an editor (Tree of Life, City of God, Motorcycle Diaries) and having won the BAFTA and been nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the film City of God, director Daniel Rezenda presents his feature debut as a director - Bingo. It is an ecstatic story of a man who’s driven to prove his artistic talent, becoming the most successful clown in television history, but with a hefty psychological toll. The film, based on a true story, is Brazil’s candidate for the Academy Award.

Another entry from Brazil in the competition, Neurotic Quest for Serenity is the feature debut of Paulinho Caruso and Teodoro Poppovic, a lively, satirical take on the the world of modern show business, exposing all its operational mechanisms and societal effects with intelligent glee. The story centers on an A-level film and a TV actress reaching her career’s first psychological crisis after receiving an encrypted letter from her ghostwriter.

Icelandic director-scriptwriter Guðrún Ragnarsdóttir’s opens the world of children and their fantasies with a delicate and imaginative touch in Summer Children, a tale that is set in the 1970’s and based on personal experiences. A pair of siblings, five and six years old, are sent to a countryside summer camp after their parents’ divorce. What was supposed to be a temporary solution drags on for longer than anticipated, up to the point where the children start to plan an escape from the repressive institution.

Having already visited several festivals with his documentaries and short films, Macedonian director-scriptwriter Gjorce Staverski offers a satirical critique of Eastern European “cowboy capitalism” in his black comedy Secret Ingredient. It is a tale about a train mechanic who uses a mob cannabis delivery he found on a decommissioned train to secretly relieve the pain of his cancer-suffering father. The project won the VFF highlight pitch award at the Berlinale talents market.

In Sunbeat directors and sisters Clara and Laura Laperrousaz create a deceptively sublime picture of a French family living in a sublimely scenic and rural part of Portugal, however, traumatic wounds that their parents have been suppressing gradually start coming to light, dangering the equilibrium of the family in the process.

Setting his film in Brussels, often dubbed as the mecca of radical islam in Europe director
Guérin van de Vorst studies people living on the fringes of society - the most likely groups to violently react to what they can’t understand or disagree with in the world. The Faithful Son is an character-driven tale of a father who is desperately trying to build the bridges that were burned between him and his son during the time he was imprisoned.

German director Isabel Prahl studies a case of European hikikomori as she offers portrait of a family sliding gradually into disarray after the 18-year-old son isolates himself in his room in Different Kinds of Rain. The mother, father and daughter each have their own way of reflecting, offering a multi-angled perspective on the disruption that a closed door can create.

In Nearest and Dearest the 27-year-old director and scriptwriter Ksenia Zueva offers a bleak yet heartfelt insight into a Russian urban family on the verge of breaking up. Through studying the stories of each of the family members sharing a small flat she has created a portrait of a family nearing dysfunctionality, while constantly offering acute reflections on the status quo of the surrounding society in general.

Drawing some creative ideas and themes from Chekov’s classic play of the same name and rearranging them playfully for his own purpose, Turkish director-scriptwriter Erkan Tunç presents his ‘dramedy’ The Seagull, that has already seen some success at domestic festivals, winning an award for its imaginative script at Ankara Film Festival. The film studies the silent clash of urban/liberal and rural/conservative Turkeys in the affairs of two couples on a remote chicken farm.

Having personally spent years in the ultra orthodox Jewish town Bnei Berak, director Yehonatan Indursky offers a rare insight into the marginal spheres of Israeli society in Driver. Ruzumni works as a driver, taking people who need money from one wealthy member of the community to the next. The aim of the visits is to get as much money as possible. Ruzumny teaches his clients to tell stories that make listeners especially generous. He does this while trying to raise his daughter as a single father.

Having a background in directing for TV Shows and commercials (including an award-win at Cannes Lions) Yukihiro Morigaki’s debut Goodbye, Grandpa! is a light, pastel-colored take on the dread of being a teenager and processing things like losing one’s grandfather or having an awkward family.

Films that were announced on the 20th of September:
Kabir Mehta’s experimental documentary follows a flamboyant Goan cricket player in his daily activities, exposing explicitly even the most intimate details of his private life, including screenshots of his social media feed and intimate encounters with women, thus depriving the subject of any privacy and expanding the boundaries of the portrait documentary.
The project (previously called Buddhagram) was awarded with the Facebook Award at last year’s Film Bazaar. The director has won awards at the European Media Art Festival and Ann Arbor FF for his previous project.

Director Kim Jong-woo’s drama sets a rather unique premise: a man’s current and former wife get into a car accident and are both left in a coma. The man finds it easy to accept the daughter he had with the ex-wife, but a more problematic issue is the boy - the protagonist of the film - whom the ex-wife had from a previous marriage. What follows is a moving study on the meaning of family, acceptance and having a safe place - a home. The director’s short films have been part of several film festivals, including Busan International Film Festival.

Representing the focus region of the festival this year - Flanders, Belgium - Resurrection follows a young man who has just murdered his companion and is united with a reclusive man who offers him a hideout. Director Kristof Hoornaert’s presents a quiet, touching tale of the repercussions of violence and of overcoming one’s past demons.
The director’s short films have been screened at numerous festivals, including Berlinale, Tallinn Black Nights, Montreal, Busan and BFI London.

The Heat after the Rain
Cristóbal Serrá Jorquera’s first feature film follows 30-year-old Julia who is trying to restore her mental balance after a miscarriage and the ensuing breakup from her companion. It is a rare case of a male director studying a female subject with subtle delicacy, offering a film that serves both as a meditative journey and a moving character piece.
The director has previously been awarded at the Valdivia IFF for his short film Todos los lugares y yo.

The Marriage
Kosovan director Blerta Zeqiri’s fascinating character study centers on two friends who were separated after the Kosovo War and are reunited on the eve of the marriage of one of them. After a successful first encounter with the friend and his bride to be, the events and revelations take an unexpected turn that threatens to alter the triangle’s current state of affairs.
The director’s short films have won awards at international festivals such as Sundance, Sarajevo and Tirana.

Bingo (Bingo: o rei das manhãs), dir Daniel Rezende, Brazil, 2017  - International premiere, dir Kabir Mehta, India, 2017 - World premiere
Different Kinds of Rain (Tausend Arten, den Regen zu beschreiben), dir Isabel Prahl, Germany, 2017 - World premiere
Driver (Lifney Hazikaron), dir Yehonatan Indursky, Israel-France, 2017 -  World premiere
Goodbye, Grandpa! (Ojichan, shinjattatte!), dir Yukihiro Morigaki, Japan, 2017 - International premiere
Home, dir Kim Jong-woo, South Korea, 2017 - International premiere
Nearest and Dearest (Blizkie), dir Ksenia Zueva, Russia, 2017 - International premiere
Neurotic Quest for Serenity (TOC: Transtornada Obsessiva Compulsiva), dir Paulinho Caruso, Teodoro Poppovic, Brazil, 2017 - International premiere
Resurrection, dir Kristof Hoornaert, Belgium, 2017 - International premiere
Secret Ingredient (Исцелител), dir Gjorce Stavreski, Macedonia - Greece, 2017 -  International premiere
Summer Children (Sumarbörn), dir Guðrún Ragnarsdóttir, Iceland-Norway, 2017 - International premiere
Sunbeat (Soleil Battant), dir Clara Laperrousaz, Laura Laperrousaz; France, 2017 - International premiere
The Faithful Son (La Part Sauvage), dir Guérin van de Vorst, Belgium, 2017 - International premiere
The Heat After The Rain (El calor después de la lluvia), dir Cristóbal Serrá Jorquera, Costa Rica, 2017 - International premiere
The Marriage (Martesa), dir Blerta Zeqiri, Kosovo - Albania, 2017 -  World premiere
The Seagull (Martı), dir Erkan Tunç, Turkey, 2017  - International premiere


2016 First Feature Competition Best Film award winner Navid Danesh - director of Duet








Goodbye, Grandpa!


Nearest and Dearest

Neurotic Quest for Serenity


Secret Ingredient

Summer Children

The Faithful Son

The Heat After the Rain

The Seagull








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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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