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Following the success of the first edition, FOCAL proposes a second edition of the Workshop WORKING TOGETHER - Filmmaking is a collaborative process, which will take place near Geneva from 13 to 16 February 2020.

RIGA: The lauded Latvian director Laila Pakalnina will have her Latvian/Lithuanian/Norwegian documentary Spoon in the documentary competition of the 2019 Latvian National Film Festival, which runs from 7 to 12 November 2019 in Riga.

As Lithuanian films are receiving more and more recognition at international film festivals, the Lithuanian film heritage is also being screened in various programs. On November 3rd the world premiere of the first colour Lithuanian film March! March! Tra-ta-ta! (lit. Marš! Marš! Tra-ta-ta!, 1964) by dir. Raimondas Vabalas took place at National Gallery of Art in Washington. The film was restored specially for this occasion.

The film, which was made 35 years ago and has never been screened in the Western countries before, was screened at the festival’s program ABSURDISTAN: Central European Cinema of the Absurd, which focuses on Central and Eastern European films from 1950-1989s. The event marks the 30th anniversary of the independence of post-Soviet countries and focuses on the surrealist films of that era. March! March! Tra-ta-ta! - a film full of political parody and grotesque - was screened together with other Ukrainian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian, and Czech films. 

The film’s plot takes place at the frontier of two non-existent countries, Centia and Groshia. Lovers Zigmas and Jadzė, live in the neighbouring countries that are at constant disagreement. Their romantic relationship is not acceptable, so they secretly visit each other by crossing the border at night.However, one morning, Groshia’s Major Varnalėša accidentally falls into an open sewer pipe in the street. As he searches for the guilty ones, he blames Zigmas and Jadzė, and thus a military conflict between the two countries starts. Known for his innovative ideas, Raimondas Vabalas also appears in the film as a director, constantly reminding the viewers that what they see is not realistic.

According to film critic Gediminas Jankauskas, the film should be called a pamphlet because, as dictated by the rules of this genre, it mocks specific historical events or individuals without directly naming them. “The film received serious criticisms in its time. But we should not forget that the pamphlet is a rare phenomenon in the world cinema, therefore Lithuanian filmmakers should be praised for their courage and inventiveness,”- says G. Jankauskas.

Cinema researcher Anna Mikonis-Railienė agrees with this idea: “Today the film feels like an attempt to deconstruct the postwar totalitarian system and the behavior of its ordinary citizens. In the political-satirical pamphlet, the director depicted the conformist behaviour of the characters. Vabalas used military satire as an excuse to ask the basic question: What does it mean to live heroically in war? Is it worth fighting if every fight is just an imitation of the theater of the absurd? If wars are caused by a wild hare that crosses the state border and two people in love? The film, based on Brechtian aesthetics, can be interpreted as an audiovisual commentary on aprevious (as well as present) political situation.”

The film will be later presented in Europe.

WARSAW: The Pay TV channel Canal+ Polska has purchased 70 percent of Polish film distributor Kino Świat.

RIGA: The Latvian/Belgian/Lithuanian/French coproduction Oleg by Juris Kursietis will screen in competition at the Leilais Kristaps national film festival of Latvia, which runs 7 – 12 November 2019.

COTTBUS: By a Sharp Knife / Ostrým nožom, the debut film by Teodor Kuhn, screens in the main competition at FilmFestival Cottbus, which runs 5 – 10 November 2019.

TALLINN: The Black Nights Works in Progress will present 18 films, which are looking for sales agents or festivals for international premieres at the Industry@Tallinn programme on 26 and 27 November 2019.

The Official Selection - Competition, the coat-of-arms of an A-category film festival!
The selection of #PÖFF23 Official Selection is diverse, in terms of genre, topics and geography, covering five continents, with films from Northern And Southern America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Eight of the films will be having the world, nine the international and four its European premiere at PÖFF.

See the Official Selection mashup!



Embodying the festival’s mission to discover emerging creative voices from all over the world, offering them a first launchpad and help to gain international recognition, the First Feature Competition boasts nine world, eight international and one European premiere - a new record for the festival!

See the First Features mashup!



What a year for the Baltic film industries! 15 films that are representing the three Baltic states will be taking part in the Baltic Competition of #PÖFF23. The programme consists of nine features, five documentaries and one animation, many of which have won awards at prestigious film festivals from all over the world. All of them are worthy of checking them out!



The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) are the region’s highest accolade in film, where cinematic excellence shines and Black Nights Film Festival is proud to be an Official Submitting Organisation for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. 

We are glad to announce that from the list of films submitted to APSA by Black Nights, two have made it into the final list of nominees:
House of Hummingbird - her role in the South Korean film brought the young actress Park Ji-hu a Best Actress nomination; 
The Unseen - the Iranian animation is nominated in the Best Animated Feature Film category.



Are you interested in VR and want to know how to use the technology in your audio-visual projects?

Join the “Demystifying Virtual Reality” workshop taking place in collaboration with Film New Europe and Proto Invention Factory on 28-29 November in Tallinn. It is a hands-on workshop for filmmakers and enthusiasts, who are interested in what the future brings to the audiovisual medium.
During the two intense days, participants will discover how to apply their creativity and to make pieces that speak to audiences on a completely different level through Virtual Reality.

The two-day workshop is lead by Rein Zobel (Maru VR) and Angel Urbina Vitoria (Iralta VR).


18 films in production or post-production looking for sales agents or festivals for international premieres will be presented at the Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event Work in Progress sessions on November the 26 and 27th. 

Both the Baltic Event, showcasing Baltic and Finnish projects, as well as International Works in Progress, compete for the same awards this year - the Post Production Award by Post Control, a Helsinki based high-end post-production house, in the amount of 10 000 EUR and the Baltic Event Works in Progress Award in the amount of 3000 EUR. 

The jury is comprised of cinematographer and festival curator Dhanushka Gunathilake (Sri Lanka), distributor Debra Liang (Level K, Denmark) and journalist and fesival programme Alissa Simon –  (Palm Springs IFF,  Chicago IFF, USA).

Baltic Event Works in Progress

Baltic Event Works in Progress programme, held for the 17th time this year, presents a selection of 10 promising projects from the Baltics and Finland.

"I am very proud of the list of projects we have this year. Baltic Event Works in Progress includes 10 outstanding films in production or post-production from the Baltic states and Finland. The programme gives an excellent overview of the best our region has to offer," commented Maria Ulfsak, the Project Manager of Baltic Event Works in Progress.

The Baltic Event Works in Progress includes three projects from Estonia - youth comedy Kids of the Night by director Priit Pääsuke that tells the story of three sisters during one fateful night, tragicomical On the Water by veteran director Peeter Simm that focuses on the life of a preadolescent boy growing up with his grandparents in small-town Soviet Estonia and O2 by Margus Paju, a spy thriller set in 1939, co-produced by Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Latvia is represented with three projects - In the Mirror (Latvia, Lithuania) is a contemporary version of the well known fairy-tale Snow White by renowned director Laila Pakalniņa. The Pit by Dace Pūce follows a boy named Markuss adapting to a new life with his grandmother. Where the Road Leads (Latvia, Sweden) is the first Baltic western, the debut feature by Matiss Kaza. 

Lithuanian producer Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė is representing the long-awaited debut by director Tomas Smulkis - a Vilnius-based multiplot People We Know Are Confused. The drama Paralysis (Lithuania, Czech Republic) is the new project by Andrius Blaževičius whose debut feature The Saint (2016) premiered at Busan and Warsaw and received six Lithuanian Film Academy Awards.

Finland brings two projects to Baltic Event Works in Progress - drama/comedy Eden, a coming-of-age film about a Protestant Confirmation camp, written and directed by Ulla Heikkilä; and Ladies of Steel, a comedy by director Pamela Tola about three elderly ladies and their journey through Finland filled with memories and sinful dancing.

International Works In Progress

The fifth International Works in Progress showcases eight projects from around the world. “A number of them are presenting their first feature, so there is some new promising talent to explore,” Triin Tramberg, Project Manager of International Works in Progress explained.

Hungry Saints is the first feature of award-winning short filmmaker Marc Wilkins, Switzerland, backed by producer Joël Jent (Iraqi Odyssey). After the success of System Crasher by Nora Fingscheidt, the production company Weydemann Brothers, Germany, brings their new project in progress Schoko by debutant Sarah Blaßkiewitz to Tallinn. Yet another first feature is the coming-of-age story Hilda by Rishi Pelham with Tim Roth on board as executive producer. The awarded short film maker Ferit Karahan from Turkey presents his second feature Deskmate. Moving to Central Asia, where the International Works in Progress has always included a project from, we welcome yet another debutant, Maxim Dashkin with Far Frontiers, a co-production between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. This years’ summit’s spotlight, Argentina, rounds up the slate with two projects: One Thousand And One by Clarisa Navas and French Braid by Lucas Turturro. 

Baltic Event Works in Progress 2019 selected projects:

1. Kids of the Night, directed by Priit Pääsuke, produced by Marianne Ostrat, Alexandra Film, Luxfilm, Estonia

2. O2, directed by Margus Paju, produced by Esko Rips/Nafta Films, Kristian Taska/Taska Film, co-produced by Jukka Helle/Solar Film, Janis Kalejs/Film Angels, Lukas Trimonis/In Script, Estonia/Finland/Latvia/Lithuania

3. On the Water, directed by Peeter Simm, produced by Marju Lepp, Filmivabrik, Estonia

4. In the Mirror, directed by Laila Pakalniņa, produced by Laila Pakalniņa/Hargla Company, co-produced by Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė/Just a Moment, Latvia/Lithuania

5. The Pit, directed by Dace Pūce, produced by Kristele Pudane, Elīna Zazerska, Marana Productions, Latvia

6. Where the Road Leads, directed by Matiss Kaza, produced by Una Celma, Dace Siatkovska/Fenixfilm, Matiss Kaza/Deep Sea Studios, co-produced by Zahavi Sanjavi/AVB Production, Latvia/Sweden

7. People We Know Are Confused, directed by Tomas Smulkis, produced by Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė, Just a Moment, Lithuania

8. Paralysis, directed by Andrius Blaževičius, produced by Marija Razgutė/M-Films, co-produced by Jakub Kostal/Bionaut Films, Lithuania/Czech Republic

9. Eden, directed by Ulla Heikkilä, produced by Miia Haavisto, Tekele Productions, Finland

10. Ladies of Steel, directed by Pamela Tola, produced by Aleksi Bardy, Dome Karukoski, Sirkka Rautiainen, Helsinki-Filmi, Finland

International Works in Progress 2019 selected projects:  

1. Deskmate, directed by Ferit Karahan, produced by Kanat Doğramacı, Asteros Film, Turkey/Romania

2. Hungry Saints, directed by Marc Wilkins, produced by Joël Jent, Dschoint, Ventschr Filmproduktion, Switzerland, USA

3. One Thousand and One, directed by Clarisa Navas, produced by Diego Dubcovsky, Lucía Chávarri, Argentina

4. French Braid, directed by Lucas Turturro, produced by Diego Dubcovsky, Lucía Chávarri, Varsovia Films, Argentina/Germany

5. Schoko, directed by Sarah Blaßkiewitz, produced by Milena Klemke, Yvonne Wellie, Jakob D. Weydemann, Jonas Weydemann, Weydemann Bros. GmbH, Germany

6. Hilda, directed by Rishi Pelham, produced by Nassim Mniai, Tomos Roberts, United Kingdom

7. Far Frontiers, directed by Maxim Dashkin, produced by Denis Kovalevsky, Maxim Dashkin, Victoria Films, Russia, Kyrgyzstan

8. Stand Up, directed by Juraj Bohuš, produced by Katarína Krnáčová, Silverart, Slovak Republic

Dhanushka Gunathilake – Cinematographer, Festival curator (Sri Lanka)
Debra Liang – Level K (Denmark)
Alissa Simon –  festival programmer Palm Springs IFF,  Chicago IFF (USA), film critic, journalist

Post Production Award (10 000 Euros)
Baltic Event Works in Progress Award (3000 Euros)

Works in Progress session in 2018
Winner of Works in Progress Post Production Award in 2018 - Golden Voices 
Winners of Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event Awards in 2018

Read more about Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event

Press accreditation for the 23rd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival and Industry@Tallinn &; Baltic Event is in progress. Please apply by clicking on the link below.