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Tallinn’s Cinema Fest Rolls Into Third Decade With a Host of New Films and Programs

Variety logo Variety 5/18/2017 Alissa Simon
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As Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, known in its native Estonian as PÖFF, preps its 21st edition to be held Nov. 17 – Dec. 3, organizers are changing the fest’s structure, as well as adding programming categories, collaborators and industry events.

Over the years, PÖFF has evolved into one of the leading fests in the Nordic countries and northeastern Europe and is now a FIAPF-accredited, specialized competitive event. The concurrent film industry summit, Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, launched in 2010 and has since become one of the fastest growing platforms for professionals in the winter season because of its unique combination of conference, co-production meetings, talent lab and works-in-progress showcase. Moreover, Industry@Tallinn has been at the forefront of global film policy debate, hosting the European Film Forum conference in partnership with the European Commission. Industry@Tallinn also co-programs and hosts the 2017 Estonian EU presidency vision conference.

For the 2017 edition, the fest will rebrand the main competition program, giving it the title Official Selection. It will comprise 12-15 feature length films making their world or international premiere in Tallinn. They will compete for a €10,000 ($10,891) top prize and multiple others kudos awarded by an international jury. The fest also offers two other competitions: one for feature debuts and the other domestic titles.

The international short film showcase Sleepwalkers and the animation fest Animated Dreams will merge into one entity called PÖFF Shorts. Acclaimed Estonian animator Priit Tender will serve as artistic director of the Animated Dreams strand while film critic and programmer Laurence Boyce remains head of the Sleepwalkers section.

A new program dubbed Rebels With a Cause will provide a platform for films that are more experimental in terms of form and/or narrative and that engage strongly with current sociopolitical topics or present a very unique and personal artistic vision. Tristan Priimägi, an Estonian film critic and editor, will curate the strand.

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