Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces eight First Feature Competition entries

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival announces the first eight films that will be competing in the First Feature Competition programme of the festival. All the films will be having their world premieres in Tallinn.

Running since 2015, the First Feature Competition is the festival’s international competition showcasing films that are the feature debuts of talented new filmmakers. The programme embodies the festival’s mission to discover emerging creative voices from all over the world, offering them a first launchpad and help them to gain international recognition.

The competition will be overseen by an international jury of film industry professionals, that will be announced in the second half of October. They will hand out the following prizes: Best film and a 5000 euro grant shared by the director and producer of the film, along with two Special Prizes for specific artistic achievements.

The first screenings of every film in the programme will run from the 21st until the 30th of November at the Sõprus cinema. The full lineup will be revealed next week.


Born in the Netherlands, working in the UK, director-co-scriptwriter Rene Pannevis’ first feature-length work follows a working-class youngster caring for his bedridden father, trying to find legal work to pay the bills, while also getting dragged into illegal activities as the household’s financial situation gets more dire by the day. The director’s success lies firmly in his ability to work with the talented lead actors Charley Palmer Rothwell (DunkirkLegend), Thomas Turgoose (This is England) and Morgane Polanski (Vikings).

Director Jure Pavlović’s short films have screened at numerous festivals including Berlinale and Clermont Ferrand, with his film Pinkik earning him the European Film Award in 2015. Black Nights Film Festival presents the world premiere of his debut feature Mother, the first-person-told story of a Yugoslav expat Jasna, returning to the home of her dominating mother in Croatia, after learning she’s terminally ill. 

Saul At Night
Labelled as ‘lo-fi sci-fi’ US director Cory Santilli introduces an original vision of a world that has gone to extremes to secure proper sleep cycles for its citizens. Kentucker Audley (Christmas Again) and Cannes Un Certain Regard-winning actress Suzanne Clement (Laurence Anyways) carry the story forward as characters isolated from the rest of society as part of a voluntary experiment. Instead of grand socio-political narratives, we get an introverted vision of the future where the all-controlling power is an abstract and fully anonymous entity.

The Seeker
Working actively as an actor, writer, producer and Brazilian director Bernardo Barreto’s first feature-length direction The Seeker follows a 30-something couple living in a commune of free spirits on a nerve-wracking Father’s Day visit to the girl’s parents home. The gathering of the wealthy family belonging to the societal elite is under severely stressful circumstances as an angry crowd has gathered behind the villa’s gates to protest against the family head’s corruption charges that have just emerged.

A Dog’s Death
Uruguayan director Matías Ganz showcases his skill of off-kilter storytelling, presenting a veteran dog veterinarian whose decision to hide his fault in the death of a client’s dog leads to unforeseen results for him and his family, as they enter into psychological warfare with an unknown opponent.

Dust and Ashes
Having screenwriting experience from several series and film projects already, including the disaster thriller The Flu, South Korean director-scriptwriter Park Hee-kwon’ s debut is a completely different affair. The minimalistic documentary-like character study follows the socially isolated 20-something Hae Su doing rough jobs, while also organising her mother’s funeral and the legal processes that goes with it, gradually unravelling the secret social tragedy that is behind it all.

Lorni – The Flaneur
Indian director Wanphrang Diengdoh presents the story of Shem (played by Adil Hussain of Life of Pi fame), an out of work private investigator with a sharp sense of the streets who gets a chance to escape the lethargy of his current life when he is asked to investigate an unusual robbery. Navigating narrow streets and dark alleys, he embarks on an emotional and mental journey as he navigates the city of Shillong - in far-flung North East India - an area rife with acute race tensions and an even more diverse cultural identity when compared to the rest of the country.

The Names of the Flowers
Born in Iran, working in Canada and South America as a journalist and filmmaker, Bahman Tavoosi’s poetically quirky first feature studies the effects of political nostalgia and personal cult in a rural area of Bolivia that is preparing for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ernesto "Che" Guevara’s death. As an old countryside teacher is invited to share her historical story with the world: giving a bowl of soup to the captured guerrilla in her classroom, a few hours before his death. The invitation is withdrawn soon after, as other women step forward claiming the story of “the soup and the flower” as their own.

A Dog's Death (La muerte de un perro), 2019,  Uruguay / France / Argentine Director: Matías Ganz | World premiere
Dust and Ashes (축복의 집), 2019, South Korea, director: Park Hee-kwon | World premiere
Mother (Mater), 2019, Croatia / Serbia / France / Bosnia-Herzegovina, director: Jure Pavlović | World premiere
Looted, 2019, UK, Director: Rene Pannevis | World premiere
Lorni - The Flaneur, 2019, India, director: Wanphrang Diengdoh | World premiere
Saul at Night, 2019, USA, director: Cory Santilli | World premiere
The Names of the Flowers, 2019, Bolivia / Qatar / USA / Canada, director: Bahman Tavoosi | World premiere
The Seeker (O Buscador), 2019, Brazil, Director: Bernardo Barreto | World premiere



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



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Last modified on 10-10-2019